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Spinell
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A question that I've had in me for a long time: I want to ask the long-time merchants of SL exactly what entails owning an in-game main store.

What do you need, how do you go about setting one up, do you rent land, do you rent a shop, do you need to build it yourself, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, how much it costs you.

I don't have that much money in SL since no one knows my store even exists (XD) but I would like to see what happens if I where to set up a main store in SL. There IS certainly an advantage in having a physical space where customers can wander about and see items. It also helps me as an owner to have a better feel of customers and their number.

But again, I really don't understand how people can afford to constantly pay huge rents for shops when they are mostly empty and unvisited. I have been to several main stores where the trafic in the area was close to 0.So there must be something that I'm missing here and I would like to know what.

Thanks for clearing this up for me. ;)

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I'll tell you my story.

I started making clothing in SL about 1.5 years ago - under my brand, Sweet Distractions. I started renting small shops and putting my products up on the marketplace once I had 5 products. In the beginning, I paid out more in rent than I was taking in to be honest but I felt it was the way to get my brand noticed so an accceptable expense. I tried to rent in high traffic areas but to be honest, those shops rarely paid for their own rent. I did this for about 8 months.

By about the 3rd month, and about 60 products later, I was making enough through Marketplace to pay for a region so I opened my main store (bought it and set it up) and included my landmark in all of my boxes. People found me even though I'm not in a traffic area at all. I turn a decent profit and have ever since.

I make 80 % of my sales on the Marketplace but I have noticed an increase in overall sales since opening the main store.

My advice is to market your produccts (bloggers, website, social media, join events) until your Marketplace store pays for your land before opening your mainstore if money is an issue. Then, when you build it, they will come.

Another option is to share land with other merchants.

As for costs, I paid 2000 L for my actual store building and I pay $75 USD monthly for my land which I bought through Auction (mainland). Again, none of that is out of pocket.

Best of luck!

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I started more then five years ago. I rented a small piece of land for 150 lindens a week from a guy who had a big parcel on mainland. But soon enough I needed more prims, so I asked my landlord if I could rent some extra prims. That was okay by him. And every few months I had to ask him for more land or more prims.

After a year I had two well running brands on his land. And then one day he told me that he was on the max of what he wanted to rent from LL, there was still a number of prims available to grow, but after that I had to look for other solutions to be able to grow.  I doubted a long time if I was going to move one of the brands to another land to be able to grow both, and which one had to move then. I realised that I had become very dependent of my landlord, and moving was about the same as throwing away all your PR work for the brand.

Then one day I suddenly saw a parcel in the next sim, that was bordering one of my two stores, becoming for sale. I did not have to hesitate for a moment. I became premium member and bought the land. For this was the only change to be able to grow my business without having to move one of my brands.
It was one of the best decissions I made. Not because the premium membership has so much advantages, but because independency is important for your business. I had a good relationshop with my landlord and I fully trusted him, but still you never know what can happen to someone, making that is not able to pay tier. When your landlord fails to pay tier for whatever reason, your business will be gone. And its not only the building and the merchandise, but also all energy you invested in spreading your landmark.

So my advice would be: don't depend on an estate-owner, but find a nice parcel in a mainland sim that has still plenty room for future growth. When you become a premium member you get your first parcel from 512m with 117 prims for free. When your store goes well, you can decide to grow and buy your next parcel.

I saw you in the mesh forums so I suppoose you are going to sell meshes. I think for meshes it is important to have an in world store. Though most sales will still come from marketplace, there is also a percentage of customers who won't buy from marketplace unless you have a mainstore where they can go to see the objects rezzed in world.

 

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I started with my mainland premium "free" 512 sq meters. With a tiny shop below and my work plaform up above - all within 117 prims and 16 x 32 sq meters. As I grew I bought up more land , if its on the same sim you get the additional prim benefits even if the land isnt adjacent. Oh and form a land group wiht your alt as co-owner and get the 10% group bonus.

Growing this way allows you to expand as your product line and budget allows.

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I had rented and decorated a little house, then decided to see if I could make my own things for it and completely decorate it. So I did, and then I thought, hey I could set this stuff for sale and it would be a store. And from then on I have lived above my store. 

But I kept making stuff and needing more prims. And then moved to a larger parcel, and needed more prims. (This was when a 4096 cost me $100 to buy, then pay tier on -- I spent a fortune.)  After moving the store three times I bought a sim. Finally home!  (Now I have four and am out of prims again but I am refusing to buy another sim. /me slaps hand) 

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What do you need, An income from the Marketplace that is enough to pay tier on the parcel you want.

how do you go about setting one up,  Acquire parcel, rez buildings, rez and fill vendors with product.

do you rent land,  I rented a parcel from a superb landlord who developed an entire mainland sim as a mixed residential/commercial sim. He was landlord for several years and it was great. Others were constantly having landlord hassles.

He decided to leave the business and offered the remaining tenants their parcels, so I bought it.

do you rent a shop, Not the best idea. You are at the mercy of your landlord for landing points, etc and they can suddenly go out of business leavng you stranded.

do you need to build it yourself  At least rez it yourself. Decide what kind of shop theme and decor you want and buy the buildings. 

MOST IMPORTANTLY, how much it costs you. Tier for the mainland parcel is all it HAS to cost. Everything else is optional. I used some well-made freebies for buildings until they became too small, then built my own in a similar style.

==========

I second the recommendation to have a marketplace-only store until your income can support the cost of the tier. Have enough product for a well-filled shop before you open.

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Hi, others have mentioned about the land/shop thing so it doesn't need me to add to that but what I will say is that I used your MP URL and saw no products, because I wasn't signed in.

That means that you have all your items set to moderate (or adult) and thus are immediately limiting your audience when you don't need to.

One listing though uses the word "Lolita" which is an instant adult word, so says the stupid word filter.

You may want to edit your listings so that you can set your items to General since there's no reason to filter your own items OUT of a maturity rating when you don't need to!

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Spinell wrote:

 

What do you need, how do you go about setting one up, do you rent land, do you rent a shop, do you need to build it yourself, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, how much it costs you.

 

First you need to get a plot of land. You can get a premium membership and purchase land or you can rent land from a landowner. Next you need a shop. You can build this yourself or buy an off the shelf prefab building that is mod/copy so you can edit it as required.

Alternatively you can rent a shop or space in a pre-built sim in a mall for example, so all you need to do is place your products in an area that hopefully already has legit traffic. The downside to this option is that you will generally find yourself restricted with regards to decor and design etc. Much better to be on your own land or a rented plot with freedom to create your store without restriction.

How much it costs is hard to say as I don't know how large your product range is or how big your land needs to be. Best to start small though to keep costs down at first. If you have lots of products then maybe just feature your best ones inworld until you can afford to cover the costs on more land to accommodate a bigger product range.

So everything I have said above is basic information on setting up a shop. This is the easy bit. Thousands of people have set up stores inworld and thousands have failed to make them work because just having a store is not good enough, you need to create a shopping experience that will engage your customers the second they arrive and you need to draw them effortlessly into your web before relieving them of their L$. WIth the majority of people in SL making their purchases via the marketplace nowadays this is even more of a chalenge.

Luckily I remember a very good thread from a few years back that is essential reading for new merchants who attempt to dabble at inworld commerce. So read this thread from start to finish and you will have all the information you need to go about optimising the set up of your store.

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I think starting small is a good way to go. If you rent on mainland or on private estate is something you should decide for yourself and what your needs are.

I personally started with the small premium 512sqm lot! :D But then I only had 20 products.

Since then I am no longer a premium member so I only rent at private estates. Now I have over 300 products but I still do fine with a 1000 prim parcel, which cost around 1500L$/week. Since marketplace is where I sell 90% of my stuff, the store is mainly something I need so that customers can see the product before they buy.

 

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