Translating touch and feel online

Toys and sporting goods might be among the most touchable of products, and the e-retailers profiled for the category this year are figuring out non-tactile ways to encourage consumers to buy online.

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Why They're Hot:

Shopping for a bike at RepublicBike.com feels something like playing a video game. The custom-built bicycle maker provides a tool called 3D Bike Shop that displays the frame, parts, accessories and color decisions a customer selects in a lifelike representation that rotates and zooms. If a shopper chooses, she can view the Bike Shop in a full screen. She can click and drag the bike to view it from different angles and choose her custom selections from menus on the right side and bottom of the screen. In case her computer runs too slowly to support the Adobe Flash-based 3-D application, Bike Shop also works in 2-D, Republic Bike says. The retailer, which also sells bikes by the fleet to corporate customers like Google Inc., builds bikes within days of receiving orders.

Key Statistics:
  • Date Launched:NA
  • Unique Visitors:NA
  • Web-based Sales:Order the Hot 100 issue
Who They're Using: