Side project. Work in progress.
Browsing vs. Spearfishing
Customers don't usually come to Amazon to browse. Interesting Finds is one of the few experience in Amazon where customers would come to browse and look for inspirations in their leisure time. It is a browse experience that features curated “interesting” items on Amazon. Things are organized by themes here. Anyone can become a curator to create and share their own boutiques by collecting the items they like on Amazon.
For example, the screenshot on the left is a page on Interesting Finds. It shows a mix of fun products found on Amazon. Among them is a boutique named “Corgi Corgi Corgi” which lists, well, all things about Corgi.
Switching the Perspective
According to the research we did, when people try to describe the experience when they shop online and explain the reason behind certain behaviors, they usually refer to how they would do it in a physical store.
What if customers can browse products from Interesting Finds in an immersive environment that resemble the excellence of a physical window shopping experience?
We already know building a virtual environment that replicate a physical store won't work. Inspired by René Magritte's work, I was thinking what if customers are actually minions who are surrounded by giant products?
For a short recreational shopping journey, I want to have customers look at these funny designed ordinary objects in a different way. The objects are the powerful ones, not the people. The objects are the environment itself, not just the decorative part.
Explore & Prototype
This virtual space needs to be immersive at the same time very easy for customers to go from one boutique to the next.
Below is a video of the prototype that I did in Unity to visualize the concept. In theory, 3D model is required for every single item displayed. For now, I just use photos in my prototype.
Each boutique is a hub. customers can teleport among the hubs by selecting the tunnel in the scene that shows a sneak-peek of what’s in the other boutique.
When customers grab the item with the controller, the item would come to them and become they actual size in real life. Minimum product info is presented on a floating UI that follows the user’s camera Y rotation.
Not all the items and boutiques are worthy for a VR experience.
It’s still very hard to persuade people to put on a VR headset.
It’s even harder to attract people to come back once novelty wears off.