Do we really want advice on how to build web sites from Cosmopolitan? There are many things you can do to improve online shopping and make it more revealing to users (I’m working on such a project), but “advanced technology” is not necessarily the answer. The business case for virtual techno storefronts that would appeal “sophisticated users” remains to be made.
The point should be to do things in a different, possibly better way online than offline, not to try to emulate reality through a browser. For the time being, a browser won’t throw a full-fledged hologram at you so in this regard you’ll always trail the offline experience (remember, five senses involved.) On the other hand, the offline world is quite poor at handling meta data, so that’s a direction I would expect an etailer to work on. Maybe not “hi tech” in a glossy, spectacular way, but useful nonetheless. I’d expect people to start seeing the difference between technology and Star Trek.
More generally speaking (warning: I’m drifting), massive brainwashing by record companies led people to believe that digital is perfect, hence superior to analog. I’ve never grasped how a discrete data stream could be better than the continuous flow it was sampled from. More convenient (cut and paste, drag and drop, hyperlink and so on are obviously easier operations to do on digital material) yes, but by design only an approximate imitation of reality (which our analog senses themsleves report in a limited way, but I’ll leave augmented reality for an extropian rave I’ll write another day.) It’s getting worse with lossy formats such as MP3 which are uneducating our ears. Play an acoustic instrument, compare it to its digital counterpart delivered by the average consumer system, and laugh (or cry.)
I love digital technology but we shouldn’t be dumbfounded by our own tricks. You’d think that all the cybersex hogwash, revealed in its gross stupidity, would have driven this point by now.