The relative advantage of collaborative virtual environments and two-dimensional websites in multichannel retail

2019-04-09T09:06:21Z (GMT) by Alex Zarifis Angelika Kokkinaki
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015. Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVE) have been with us for some years however their potential is unclear. This research attempts to achieve a better understanding of retail in CVEs from the consumer viewpoint by comparing this channel with the competing retail channels of ‘bricks and mortar’, or offline, and two dimensional navigation websites (2D websites), in order to identify their respective Relative Advantages (RA). Five categories of RA between retail channels were identified and explored using focus groups and interviews. These five categories explore distinct characteristics of each channel, consumer preferences over three stages of a purchase, differences between simple and complex products and lastly the role of trust. Participants showed a preference for offline and 2D in most situations however there was evidence that enjoyment, entertainment, sociable shopping, the ability to reinvent yourself, convenience and institutional trust were RA of CVEs in comparison to one of the other two channels.