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When Virtual is Not Close Enough To Reality

Steve Rubel reports that someone has created an Apple Store in Second Life

Go download the latest version of Second Life and then teleport to the Apple Store. No, not the real thing but close! Someone has created an unofficial virtual replica of Apple’s famed retail stores

This is a perfect example to me why we will always need bricks and mortar stores. I love going to my local Apple Store in the real world. It’s shopping entertainment. While my wife goes and looks at shoes or some other nonsense I go and fondle Mac and iPod merchandise. Virtual stores suck in comparison to the tactile, interactive and social reality.

In terms of commerce, online stores are great if you already know what you want. A 3D environment is not going to add much to this experience. You really don’t want to have to “walk” or “fly” over to a store, navigate your avitar to the product, blah, you would still be much better off going over to Amazon and click-click-click it’s on its way.

I can see this sort of concept being useful as an online meeting place for fanboys, or possibly a way to interact with Apple experts to ask technical questions, but I sincerly hope Steve Jobs doesn’t persue the idea for actual retail.

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