Effects of interactive real-time simulations and humanoid avatars on consumers' responses in online house products marketing
Mahdjoubi, L. , Koh, J. H. and Moobela, C. (2012) Effects of interactive real-time simulations and humanoid avatars on consumers' responses in online house products marketing. Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering. ISSN 1093-9687
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8667.2012.00775.x
Interactive product presentation techniques have recently gained importance in online marketing of house products. Real-time simulation offers a high level interactive presentation with more powerful features to present product functions and variations. This article presents a novel computational approach for engaging and supporting consumers in making informed choices about purchasing house products. It involved the development and testing of an online interactive real-time simulation for house product marketing (the Virtual House Showroom-VHS). This model also included optional humanoid avatars, representing a virtual buyer–seller experience. The research assessed the effectiveness of the VHS on consumers’ cognitive and affective responses. In particular, it examined whether consumers’ responses to real-time simulation with a humanoid avatar are significantly different from their responses to the model without the avatar. Participants (n= 110) were organized into two groups. Group 1 (n= 56) evaluated VHS without the humanoid avatar and group 2 (n = 54) appraised the model with the avatar. The results confirmed that interactive online real time simulation technologies without the avatar have significant effects on consumers’ cognitive learning, affect, and behavior. However, it was found that the humanoid avatar had no significant effect on respondents’decision-making. Further research was suggested to improve the usability of real-time simulation in the marketing of house products.
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