If you build it will they come?—An empirical investigation of consumer perceptions and strategy in virtual worlds
There is increased interest in, and accelerating technological development of, internet-based persistent three-dimensional (3D) virtual environments. The applications of these ‘virtual worlds’ are growing in the fields of entertainment and information assimilation such as virtual real estate, brand building, and marketing. Such applications could, in time, lead to serious economic and business transformation. However, there is a lack of empirical work examining differences between virtual worlds and traditional virtual channels such as websites, and suggesting effective entry strategies for organizations that seek to leverage their presence in virtual worlds. This paper attempts to provide a starting point for such a discussion. Results from our qualitative and quantitative analysis indicate that there is a significant difference in perceptions of trust, product diagnosticity, informativeness, and product descriptions between websites and virtual worlds. Results also suggest that organizations need to employ a synergy strategy when marketing experience goods in virtual worlds.
KeywordsVirtual worlds Virtual channel strategy Web 2.0 Virtual world marketing
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