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Virtual commerce

The term Virtual Commerce is basically a synonym for the term “e-commerce”, i.e. electronic commerce on the World Wide Web. However, V-Commerce goes beyond the concept of traditional e-commerce, because V-Commerce is not just about buying products or services. The customer is in a virtual world on the World Wide Web and is presented with a purchase process just like in the real world.

History of development

In the early years of the World Wide Web, online commerce was initially often referred to as “virtual commerce”. Over the years, however, the term e-commerce has become established. Online commerce has continued to evolve over the years, and as a result, a special branch has developed alongside traditional e-commerce, which is now dubbed V-Commerce. V-Commerce has emerged, so to speak, from traditional online commerce and is characterized by the following features:
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  • Shopping experience in an online 3D world
  • Payment is made with virtual currency
  • The customer interacts with human sales staff and other customers
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Example of V-Commerce

A particularly apt example of V-Commerce is the difference between shopping on Ebay and shopping in the virtual online game “Second Life”. While the customer on Ebay simply buys a product on his computer, smartphone or tablet PC and then has it shipped to his home, the user in Second Life is offered a very special buying process with his avatar in an online 3D world, with virtual transactions with a real seller.

The online 3D world Second Life had an enormous demand shortly after its official launch in 2003. From the very beginning, all players there had the opportunity to purchase virtual items and, for example, set up a virtual house. This basic principle of V-Commerce has been continuously developed over the years and adapted to the trends of the time, so that it is now possible to buy things directly and immediately for real money in many online games. The commercialization of virtual worlds has given V-Commerce a considerable boost.

Applications for Virtual Commerce

There is already a wide variety of different V-Commerce projects, including some in Germany. For example, in 2014, design students at the University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf developed a virtual shopping mall that houses a variety of different stores. Various projects in China, Japan and South Korea, such as the v-commerce shop of the Chinese online company “Yihaodian”, are pioneers in this field.

Benefits for online marketing

So-called “V-Stores” are still relatively rare and are hardly used by companies worldwide. With the development of modern VR (virtual reality) devices, many experts and industry insiders expect that it won’t be long before shoes, jackets and the like can be tried out and paid for in virtual stores.

FAQ

Will Virtual Commerce replace traditional online commerce?

No, at least not in the foreseeable future.

What technical foundation is needed to participate in a v-commerce platform?

It depends on the platform, but generally broadband internet access and a computer or smartphone or tablet PC is required.

Do online retailers like Amazon or Ebay offer virtual commerce platforms?

No, not currently.


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