Lenovo experiments with virtual reality website

How does a marketer in a highly competitive category distinguish itself online? Lenovo is hoping its eLounge will provide a unique and engaging experience for its visitors. According to Ajit Sivadasan, VP of Global eCommerce for the company, early results of the site launched at 2009 CES have been positive. Compared to other sites used as benchmarks, time spent by visitors to the Lenovo site has been longer.

The site utilizes Nortel’s Web.Alive platform to provide a virtual exploration of Lenovo products and its partners’ supporting technologies. These partners, such Intel and Microsoft, helped provide funding for this experiment. The visitor can stroll through kiosks, interact with product information in multiple formats and even request a live chat with a human representative.

While the site resembles Second Life in its use of 3D avatars and virtual spaces, Ajit is quick to point out that Lenovo hopes to provide an experience that offers real value to the visitor.

What do you think? Will this type of Web experience prove the new norm? Or is it just an experiment in being different? Let me know your opinion.