Everyone who ever had the (doubtful) pleasure to listen to one of my presentations about virtual worlds, knows that I consider 'shopping' to be a perfect example for the advantages of virtual worlds technology versus websites. In short: Web based catalogues are perfect for efficient buying Virtual Worlds are perfect for 'shopping'. (More details here; in German.) Others seem to have similar ideas.
Unfortunately, after trying out these two products, I got the impression that their designers did not understand the most important principles of virtual worlds - and of virtual shopping - at all.
These two services show, how one can present pictures of products in a 3D environment. What they don't show is why you should do this. Checking out both 'solutions' I could not find any major advantage of this kind of product presentation. Every web-based catalogue is - for most purposes - much better and demands less resources. I am afraid that Kinset and TheMallPlus will discredit the whole idea of using virtual worlds technology for online retailing. :(
Again: 'shopping' is - contrary to the efficient 'procurement of goods' - a social experience.
Virtual worlds support this social experience - contrary to websites -
by facilitating the immersion in another world together with others.
What is needed to make this work is
- a presentation of my surrounding by using the metaphor of a world/space (both Kinset and TheMallPlus do this),
- a presentation of myself as an avatar (TheMallPlus tries to, Kinset doesn't) and
- a shared experience, which happens because I am aware of other people around me and they are aware of me
More about these prerequisites for the virtual world experience here (or simply check out any popular shop in Second Life). It's all about avatars which interact and form relationships (temporary or permanently) and not about playing around with 3D. If I don't support all of the prerequisites for the virtual world experience I can forego 3D presentation -- especially, when the products aren't even presented threedimensional...