This, I think is a taste of how we will mesh online and offline shopping and lead to all other meshing 'onoff' 'experiences' in the very near future. There's google earth but here's the newest user-friendly example upnext.com. We sign up, we see NYC as a 3D map with a built in search engine to guide you to anything you want in the city. You could and will take it so much further making a much deeper, more satisfying experience, leading to a detailed virtual 3D interpretation of a street or mall of shops.
Onoff Shopping or Onoffing?
Through a search engine (say google) you will be able to see every shop that sells a product and list of instore prices rising above the location. You would then virtually walk, I mean fly or zoom instantly around that street, mall, shopping district, whole city, having a choice then of going into any of the 3D 'onoff' stores to browse it or look at a particular product. You will be able to search within the store through the store's online site's search engine. You'll have access to consumer reviews (just look at this emarketer blog piece about the boost in web sales alone from consumer reviews) and this precis sums it all up from the church of the customer blog and here at the idea city blog piece too and of course you'll have access to professional and UGC video of the product too. You will be able to check the product is in stock, order it or reserve it and obviously buy there and then physically going to the store to pick it up.
All relevant useful information will be easily accessed, opening and closing times, directions, their blog, comments, you could write an instore email for queries, even live chat through skype to IM or speak to someone instore (call centre) from one widget. Making life quick and easy for the consumer, so speeding and simplifying our time constrained lives, all visually here, (IBM's Head of Strategy explains) all with a multi-faceted purpose and an ultimate resolution, not quite like Second Life.
Although you can easily buy anything online, people mostly like the shopping experience (It depends on the gender), but it's a day out and ultimately we all want to feel and touch a product before we buy. Especially clothes or shoes so it makes sense that we would want to save time and efficently organize our lives to try, buy and making more time for pleasure. You could plan a whole shopping trip through a virtual 3D map with the options to give you the chance to plan your route around the street, the stores and district, keep a running cost of all the products you would like to buy (live prices?), up to date travel information, parking costs and restrictions, suggestions of where to eat, being able to make restaurant or cinema reservations too, all with reminders (know when a store is about to sell out while you're in the area - a kind of RSS alarm or a tweet?) and all linked and manipulated through your mobile.
Mobiles will seemlessly mesh our offline and online lives. Where accessing any information will give you all the extra linking tools mentioned above to enhance all our buying or all our offline 'experiences', so seeing trends; what others are doing and buying like thisnext.com twitter/flickrvision like site - or through GPS, so the whole process becomes a fun, pleasurable (and nosey, like Facebook or med.ium) experience that will bring us back again and again, generating the effect of a sticky (branded?) utility. This will lead to as yet unimaginable 'onoff' tools. Any ideas?
via the great PSFK trend blog.