Personalizing 3D virtual fashion stores: An action research approach to modularity development

Juanjuan Wu, Bo Ra. Joo, Ahmad Saquib Sina, Sanga Song, Claire Whang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: The authors conducted an action research study with the aim of understanding current commercial offerings in modular designs in virtual environments and to explore modularity development based on consumer input for the purpose of personalizing three-dimensional (3D) virtual fashion stores. Design/methodology/approach: Through five phases of diagnosing, action planning, action taking, evaluating and specifying learning, the authors attempted to diagnose the current commercial offerings of modular designs in virtual spaces and to identify the right type and the number of modules and modular options for personalizing 3D virtual stores based on consumers' actual designs and focus group input. The authors then further conceptualized modules to serve as an example for developing modularity in 3D virtual reality (VR) stores. Findings: In the diagnosing phase, the authors investigated the modularity structure of cocreating a retail store in two popular virtual worlds: Second Life and The Sims 4. In the evaluation phase, the authors identified modules and modular options for personalizing 3D virtual stores based on a content analysis of consumers' post-design focus group discussions. In the last phase (specifying learning), the authors conceptualized a total of nine modules and 38 modular options for personalizing 3D virtual stores, including style, price point, product category, color, presence of avatar, virtual product try-on, music, product recommendation and product customization. Originality/value: The significance of this study lies in the pioneering methodological work of identifying, creating and visualizing 3D VR modular store options based on consumer input and in improving the authors’ understanding of current commercial offerings. This study also enriches design theories on cocreation systems. The authors’ suggested modules for personalizing 3D virtual stores could inspire future evidence-based designs to be readily used by VR retailers as well extend the application of mass customization theory from the realm of product development to retail environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
StatePublished - Apr 29 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture [Project No. MIN-53-035].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Fashion stores
  • Modularity
  • Personalization
  • Virtual reality


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