Apple: Online shopping can feel "sterile and isolating"

In a patent filing for a Second Life-style online shopping spot, Apple claims that standard web stores (which would include its own) can feel "sterile and isolating." From MacNN:
"Customers in such an environment may be less likely to have positive feelings about the online shopping experience, may be less inclined to engage in the online equivalent of window shopping (e.g., will not linger in front of a display), and may ultimately spend less money than their counterparts who shop in physical stores."
Life for such discerning shoppers would be made happier and sunnier if it was all turned into a yet another 3D avatar concentration camp.They're serious about the sunlight, too: check out the wild journey into atmospheric mind-manipulation in the application, published by the USPTO on April 17. I want online shopping to be sterile and isolating, I want to get the the item I want without being delayed or otherwise imposed on by the interface, and I don't want some massively-multiplayer wonderland getting in my way either. Because it's obviously a game/chatroom hooked up to a store with the former feeding the latter, people who know what they want to buy probably will not use it. So what's the point? Perhaps it's a place for gullible children to micropay their way to oblivion as they wander around hearing snippets of iTunes, sharing casual multiplayer games and buying horse armor. Will Apple open a store in Second Life? [MacNN via Gizmodo]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at  
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4 Responses to Apple: Online shopping can feel "sterile and isolating"

  1. schwal says:

    i love the use of “micropay their way to oblivion” part due to the horse armor debacle.

  2. Silva says:

    I do a lot of virtual “window shopping” – that’s why most online stores have things such as Wishlists and “If you like this you might like…” links.
    The only difference I see is that virtual window shopping is often focused and tailored to the costumer’s experience – My Amazon recommendation page often presents me with great bands I’ve never heard before, instead of being presented with, dunno, Gogol Bordello’s latest or Thom Yorke’s solo album on display at an indie I usually go.

    As for being “sterile”… meh. Only wankers go to real-life “posh” stores just to be seen there, which seems to be Apple’s idea here.

  3. mkultra says:

    Well, shopping in the real world is a social experience, which is one of the main things that shopping on the web isn’t. My wife and I shop Amazon all the time on two computers, and it’s a pretty sterile thing. There’s no way to easily share things back and forth without using AIM or the like.

  4. Fnarf says:

    Nothing is as alienating as being forced into a multi-meg Flash hell when all you want to do is see what Product X looks like and how much it costs. I like the “concentration camp” metaphor. I like online shopping where I can quickly point at what I want and then pay for it, in and out, zoom zoom. If they want to help the experience, try taking on the challenge of reducing the total page size by 75%.

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