Advanced online product presentation technologies such as virtual mirrors enable consumers to experience products like they are actually present with them in the real world. This study is one of the first to address the mechanism underlying this phenomenon. Inspired by literature on media technology the concept of local presence is put forward and applied to the online consumer behavior domain. A key objective of this paper is to examine whether local presence adds to our understanding of how emerging product presentation formats influence online product experiences. To this end, a laboratory experiment (N = 366) was conducted with product presentation format as a three level (pictures, 360-spin rotation, and virtual mirror) independent variable, allowing for a comparison of the effectiveness of different presentation formats in creating perceptions of local presence. As a second objective, the influence of local presence on perceptions of product tangibility and product likability, two key facets of the online product experience, were assessed. The results, obtained with the use of analysis of variance and partial least squares modeling, show the superiority of the virtual mirror in creating local presence, and demonstrate that local presence is highly predictive of product tangibility and product likability. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.
Verhagen, T., Vonkeman, C., Feldberg, F., & Verhagen, P. W. (2014). Present it like it is here: Creating local presence to improve online product experiences. Computers in human behavior, 39, 270-280. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.07.036