Kinset takes retailers virtual

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A new online venture combining interactive 3-D technology with e-commerce is a sort of Second Life for shopaholics.

Kinset launched a virtual store for Brookstone and two Amazon-based stores last week, looking to “create stores online that look like real stores,” according to John Butler, president and CEO of the company.

Until now, Butler said, consumers looking for an enjoyable online shopping experience have been hampered by e-commerce sites that look alike. “If you look at a pair of jeans at Wal-Mart or Target's Web site, the presentation is similar,” he said.

The online shopping experience is limited in Second Life as well, since most virtual stores stock only a fraction of what can be found in the real world, Butler added. But, by offering an online shopping experience that more closely replicates the real world, Butler believes that Kinset can help Internet retailers capture a larger share of overall shopping dollars. E-commerce currently accounts for 4% of retail spending.

Kinset hopes to have between 10 and 15 retailers signed up next year and to eventually build a 3-D shopping megaplex.

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