Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine consumers’ perceptions of using different types of 3D animated avatars as salespeople based on credibility, homophily, attractiveness and intention to interact. Design/methodology/approach – Using a survey method, participants (n¼120) evaluated four types of 3D animated avatars (i.e. human, fantasy, animal and humanoid) based on the supposition the avatars would represent a salesperson for an online retailer. Findings – The results show that avatar type has a significant influence on the perception of credibility, homophily, and attractiveness. Furthermore, credibility, homophily, and attractiveness significantly influence the intention to interact with the avatar. Overall, the human avatar was found to be perceived as the most credible, homophilous, attractive and was regarded as the highest in relation to intention to interact. Originality/value – The practical and theoretical implications are discussed to offer guidance to online retailers, graphic designers, and researchers in the benefits and pitfalls of utilizing 3D animated avatars as salespeople.