A new group of web retailing (WebEcom 3.0) is taking inspiration from the experiences of physical retailing, presenting these on-screen in 2D, and creating a new set of experiential websites.

One of my favourite examples is the Viktor & Rolf website – welcome to their house as you are ushered into, well, the inside of a grand palace!  You are transported into a world fit for a princess or Alice in Wonderland, as your gilt cursor chases black ribbon around the Grand Hall discovering doors that hold secrets to perfumes, poems and charms. You might even happen across Prince Charming himself, ok maybe I’m getting a little carried away……… the point, oh yes, is that real world stores and brands offer tactile, imaginative and intimate experiences of physical goods and services to engage and stimulate us, yet digital retailers are somewhat slow to simulate those similar experiences and emotions.

The Future Laboratory has recently reported on The Shop Floor Project.  Created by mother-and-daughter duo Denise and Samantha Allan, they have re-interpreted the experience of a small, local boutique in a quirky web store. Pages display commissioned works by global artists on mannequins, on shelves and in cabinets.  Thus Denise and Samantha have managed to create a shopping environment that present 3D experiences in charming 2D.

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Another good example is Supermarket Sarah, a Portobello Market store located in the home of stylist Sarah Bagner.  The beautifully curated shop is also available online at supermarketsarah.com, where live photos of the store wall are published and allows customers to click and browse as they would in her physical store.

Digital and online retailers take note and catch up – utilising visual imagery to imitate the intimacy of physical store experiences is a future online consumers will come to expect as part of web 3.0.

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