When virtual worlds collide: Facebook meets 3D shopping

If brands and ad agencies were already struggling to create seamless, real-time shopping experiences built around customers’ multi-screen lifestyles, their work just got harder. It is one thing to migrate seamlessly between the on and offline world across multiple devices (PC, tablet, smartphone) to never lose touch with your customer, it is another to reconcile the real world with its new virtual equivalent showcased in Yogurtistan.

It’s beta form was just showcased at DEMO Spring 2012 in California and it provides brands and customers with new challenges and opportunities including:

– Creating customizable avatars that can try on clothes, chat with others, and buy both virtual and real goods using real and virtual currencies such as Facebook credits.

– New coupons, incentives and rewards specific to engagement within the virtual worlds.

– The ability for brands to build customized stores within the virtual world itself.

This is a far cry from simply having a presence within a social game like Farmville using virtual goods that represent your brand. This requires companies to have a deep understanding of virtual life engagement and the ability to layer e-commerce on top of it.

Yogurtistan’s CEO Cemil Turun put it this way:

We are creating a new experience by mimicking real-life engagement by going from store to store without changing a tab, or entering the web site address of the store. This is one centralized system. I can run into a promotion, a friend, or simply begin to chat with a stranger in the street, all of which is accessible on any browser or even an iPad.

It is yet to be seen whether we see the emergence of a virtual shopping world as comprehensive and compelling as the tactile real world, but its plans are being drawn and built. As such brands would be wise to add virtual worlds to their ‘To Do’ skills sets so they can capitalize on all the worlds that their customers choose to inhabit

Do you think 3D shopping will take off? What advantages does it offer brands?