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Journal of nicholas (3034)

Friday June 02, 2006
05:09 PM

shopping is hard; let's go shopping

[ #29792 ]

The cynical part of me thinks that the ultimate purpose of any shop is to persuade someone to openly part with their credit card details. ecommerce sites should take note - given the measured attrition between each page, anything that slows down the route through the site to the victory page isn't good. (Small side effects such as actually delivering the goods are taken as merely the cheapest way to get more customers coming to you to divulge credit card details). boo.com failed because it made it too complex to spend money, even when you know what you wanted:

"I want one of them!"
"No flash? sorry. No fast connection? sorry. On a Mac? sorry."
"But I have a credit card!"
"Sorry, but your inferior technology means that you can't shop here."

None of those extra requirements were essential to part people from their credit card details, so why make them non-optional?

So when I became aware of Three-B International and their system of downloading a special browser to let you shop in 3D, it seems dangerously similar - let's make it harder to go shopping. And as (I think - I'll get corrected if I'm wrong) Norman observed, it's making shopping like Second Life, only without the other players. So I wondered how long before they started having collaboration features so that two people (possibly decked up in VR gear) could have all the social fun of going shopping together without needing to actually go out (or even get dressed).

But now I read that Second life can access the (real life) Internet. So they are already providing the infrastructure to support sociable virtual shopping. I wonder if some people's business plans are about to be undercut by spare time mashups...

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