Sears Holdings Corp. and IBM Corp. have opened a prototype 3-D showroom called the “Sears Virtual Home” on Second Life, a multi-player virtual world where people interact, play, do business and communicate online.
The prototype store will allow consumers to experiment with changing the color of the cabinets and countertops in a virtual kitchen, explore 3-D versions of various home theater set-ups, and learn how to organize their garage by virtually customizing storage accessories, Sears says.
The virtual showroom replicates in 3-D the custom design tools already available at Sears.com. Customers can order items from the Sears Virtual Home by connecting from the 3-D environment to Sears.com and choosing delivery to their homes or the option to pick up the items in a local Sears store.
“Sears is committed to providing our customers with the best possible shopping experience and to looking for new and exciting ways to present our products and services,” says Paul Miller, senior vice president of direct commerce. “The Sears Virtual Home combines the best of virtual worlds and 3-D environments so customers can experience Sears’ products in a way that is closer to real life.”
Eventually, Sears hopes to enable customers to use avatars-3-D virtual representations of themselves-to replicate their exact room dimensions and experiment with redesigning their kitchen, garage or home theater by selecting appliances, tools and furniture that fit those blueprints. Consumers would be able to instantly change the colors, sizes and styles of refrigerators, ovens, countertops, cabinets, televisions and more, the retailer says.
Sears-No. 7 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, joins Circuit City Stores Inc., No. 17 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, in setting up a virtual store on Second Life as part of IBM’s virtual worlds and 3-D Internet strategy.