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A means-end analysis of consumers' perceptions of virtual world affordances for e-commerce

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  • M.Q. Tran
  • S. Minocha
  • D. Roberts
  • A. Laing
  • D. Langdridge
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Abstract

Virtual worlds are three-dimensional (3D) persistent multi-user online environments where users interact through avatars. The affordances of virtual worlds can be useful for business-to-consumer e-commerce. Moreover, affordances of virtual worlds can complement affordances of websites to provide consumers with an enhanced e-commerce experience. We investigated which affordances of virtual worlds can enhance consumers' experiences on e-commerce websites. We conducted laddering interviews with 30 virtual world consumers to understand their perceptions of virtual world affordances. A means-end analysis was then applied to the interview data. The results suggest co-presence, product discovery, 3D product experience, greater interactivity with products and sociability are some of the key virtual world affordances for consumers. We discuss theoretical implications of the research using dimensions from the Technology Acceptance Model. We also discuss practical implications, such as how virtual world affordances can be incorporated into the design of e-commerce websites. © 2011 IFIP International Federation for Information Processing.