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Investigating affordances of virtual worlds for real world B2C E-commerce

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNConference contribution/Paperpeer-review

Published
  • M.Q. Tran
  • S. Minocha
  • D. Roberts
  • A. Laing
  • D. Langdridge
  • Microsoft Research; NCR
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Abstract

Virtual worlds are three-dimensional (3D) online persistent multi-user environments where users interact through avatars. The literature suggests that virtual worlds can facilitate real world business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce. However, few real world businesses have adopted virtual worlds for B2C e-commerce. In this paper, we present results from interviews with consumers in a virtual world to investigate how virtual worlds can support B2C e-commerce. A thematic analysis of the data was conducted to uncover affordances and constraints of virtual worlds for B2C e-commerce. Two affordances (habitability and appearance of realness) and one constraint (demand for specialised skill) were uncovered. The implications of this research for designers are (1) to provide options to consumers that enable them to manage their online reputation, (2) to focus on managing consumers' expectations and (3) to facilitate learning between consumers.