Virtual worlds: A gateway for SMEs toward internationalization
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The Internet, in its 2D form, offered answers to some of the internationalization barriers of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and has questioned the available internationalization models. Virtual worlds (VWs) have recently emerged as a promising platform for conducting various business and marketing activities. The current article is the first to examine their value in the internationalization process of SMEs. On the basis of literature from both the international marketing and the information systems fields, as well as incorporating current business practices, a model for internationalization using VWs is proposed. VWs’ potential as a market knowledge generator, a strategic tool for internationalization (marketing program testing and brand building) and as a business platform for real and in-world product is evaluated. Further, a strategy for SMEs on how to build successful businesses in such metaverses to help them achieve their objective/s is proposed.