is an online virtual world that has been generating an
enormous amount of press over the past several months. Lately some
retailers have been setting up shop in the virtual world which claims to have
two million members. Now Sears is setting up
a store inside the virtual
Providing customers with the best possible shopping experience is very
important for the company and it is always looking for new and exciting
ways to present products and services, says Sears Holdings' senior vice
president for direct commerce, Paul Miller.
'The Sears Virtual Home combines the best of virtual worlds and 3D
environments so customers can experience Sears' products in a way that
is closer to real life,' he said.
'Sears.com already provides innovative design functionality and this
work with IBM in a virtual world is a logical extension of those initiatives.'
Eventually, the customers entering the store using a virtual in-game avatar
will be able to see mock-ups of rooms, allowing them to experiment with
furniture colours, sizes and layouts.
It is great that retailers are supporting the world. The 3-D
modeling offered in Second Life may help consumers create
mock-ups for a countertop or design a living room. The technology
is still quite crude, but eventually this type of 3-D modeling
But here's the problem. Isn't this really just a little too much reality for what's supposed to be a fun online game? If you are leaving reality for a virtual world where you can do anything, then anything you can imagine you can create. Don't you really want the very best products? Don't you want to wear the hippest high-end fashions, drive the hottest vehicles and own the most fabulous real estate? Do you really want to create a virtual house furnished by Wal-Mart, Home Depot or Sears and wear clothes from the Gap?
If the sky's the limit, why wouldn't you want to wear an Armani suit or
a Versace dress while you sip the finest champagne? You can relax on the deck as your $50 million yacht glides across a clear purple sea while five spectacular Suns set in the distance. No doubt your personal mermaid chorus will serenade you on your journey.
Or you could go to Sears and find a virtual washer and