Jump to content

Advice please...What is the best way to approach a designer?


You are about to reply to a thread that has been inactive for 2551 days.

Please take a moment to consider if this thread is worth bumping.

Recommended Posts

I have a mall (insert your groans here)...

I'm approached by new designers and "affiliates" often wanting to rent space (almost daily), but I'm very selective as to what is offered to our patrons and we're working on the rent free / commission split system so I dont really have a "rent" price available and I dont items for sale that are available at 200 other sims.

We've been open since September, went from a large number of small stores, to 10 stores that offer more space to our vendors. I have some EXCELLENT vendors at the moment, and they're doing very well. Some of which have no other stores in world and have made their store on my sim their main store. Some of which are VERY big names. But I'm still having trouble filling the open space.


I've messaged several designers in game, sent notecards inviting them to come check out the sim, etc. Very few have replied or so much as taken the time to come by. Some of the responses I got were pretty generic, "its not worth the hassle people dont stick with it if they're not making lots of money", "I have too many shops already to manage", etc.

But... I'm not looking to make big money, but at the same time I dont want to give away free space to vendors who's products arent desirable to people who explore our shops. I want a quality shopping experience when I go in world to find new things, and I want to make that available to the people who visit my sim.

Is the concept dead because of how many people have failed at this? Are merchants just really over approached? Is there a better way of marketting the space I have available? What resources do you use when you're looking for a place to promote your brand/merchandise?

 

Our traffic is great, it changes on the daily, but we actively promote our vendors... at the club, at events, in our Gacha yard sale area, in our blog, on our facebooks, on our website, etc etc... I work very hard to make sure the stores on the sim are successful, because their success does help offset my expenses. I dont require MM boards, or freebies, handouts, or even participation in our events (though I do make the opportunity available). I do prefer vendors who can update their stores atleast once a month - many of our shoppers are very loyal to shopping on our sim, and come back often to look for new items and promotions.


So what do you think is the best way to approach the vendors that I think would be enjoyed by our guests? I'm really not wanting to add more competition for our clothing designers who are already located on the sim, so Im looking for vendors who specialize in shoes, hair, skins, etc. to compliment what is already available yet these are the designers I'm having the hardest time reaching out to.

 

Any advice is appreciated.


Thank you

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Most larger designers with "Quality" are already using mainstores. Most sales come through the marketplace or through their already established group. Its hard to convince someone to come check things out when they're already busy as well. Rental shops typically are useful to new up and coming people. More established "Designers" already have a store and don't see the need for a second one. Especially because setup and maintenance of more than one store is a hassle.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since most content creators also operate a Marketplace storefront, mall storefronts are both obselete and time consuming.

Marketplace gets more traffic, and allows keyword searching (vs. walking around on foot). Malls require in-world, in-avatar attention on a regular basis to update products and paying rent, etc. The traffic they provide fluctuates wildly, and conversion to sales is low (vs. Marketplace, where you only pay when you make a sale). In modern times, malls also expire quickly - sims close regularly in Second Life and any time spent working with a mall that dies is time wasted.

There's no advantage to doing Mall storefronts if someone owns a Marketplace storefront, there are only disadvantages. I can perfectly understand that few content creators would want to work with malls nowadays. The extra hassle does not convert. Most creators would associate your mall with a 'generic mall' (creators won't believe what a spokesperson for the mall is saying, everyone hypes), and most of these are struggling, or gone.

As someone who heavily studies the Second Life economy and market (as well as a participant in both), I can quite safely say that malls no longer add any significant value to sims, visitors, or content creators.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Completely agree with Freya. Even being at a mall with 9000 group members I rarely see any traffic of people actually shopping. Moving to a mainstore and setting up fun things for friends and I sounds a lot more appetizing

Link to post
Share on other sites

Look for merchants that use a inworld vending system and not just selling form prims, setting up and managing a vendor system is much easier to manage multiple locations.  Check to see if a merchant only sell on the marketplace if they do then their much more likely to not be interested in taking time for a small inworld shop.  This should help some but, still don't expect a high response rate. 

try filling a few empty shops with affiliates that you own, people will be more likely to rent if your mall looks full, all so with some affiliates that you see the sales and can see how well you mall is working for getting customers from the club to the shops. But not too many affiliates ( 2 or 3) or people with just think it's an other mall full of affiliates.  Use the affiliates to fill in the shop that are least likely to be rented out, remove them as the mall fills up, unless they are making more L$ the the rent you charge.

what leads people from your club to the shops, it's hard to see the shops from your club, or the other way around.  People with lower draw distances won't be able to see the other at all.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, i'll bite...


A lot of merchants are sent generic notecards "come rent, rent x weeks 2 weeks free, MM boards... etc. etc." or "i'm setting up a club and a mall, it will be the best club in SL, we'll have sploders and competitions and spinning lights!" and so here's a block of text that I have in one of my profile picks which I feel explains my view:-

"Before asking me to rent, please think about the following:-

"Who are your visitors, why will they visit, what makes your place unique amongst other similar malls.  What's the *REAL* traffic, how many of those are RLV users. Do you redesign things on a whim, move the landing point for example?.  How do you promote the mall and vendors, what will you do for ME to increase my sales?".

If you have a new mall then I will offer you my affiliate vendors, the same as I would rez.  That's your chance to demonstate that the location is viable.   If it is, you'll make far more than you would through rent anyway, if it's not then I wouldn't be paying rent for very long either!

Mall owners and merchants should be a partnership, if you just want me to rent to pay for your land and entertainment, i'm probably not the best tennant for you."


Now, given that's fairly broad, it doesn't sound like that's your approach but I don't mind being approached but preferably in IM *once someone has a plan and can coherently answer the above*.  An IM "I have mall, come rent, 2 weeks free" still won't really excite anyone!

On the other hand, if someone has a plan be it successful or not, i'm far more likely to rent just to

  a) advertise whether it's successful for me or not and

  b) to support inworld ventures to a degree.

What is also likely to boost that is if someone knows my products and understand where they will fit in, why they would suit the location.  On the other hand, they can just take my affiliate vendors and do it themselves.

If i'm spammed with a generic pointless notecard, I will ignore it.

If i'm sent an IM with a generic invite, i'll likely ignore it.

if i'm sent an IM with thought behind it, I will nearly always reply.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys, I appreciate it. 

 

I know most people shop on the MP, Im not ignorant to this... most of the time I do too. I know people arent bringing in enough money to rent shops and most shops arent successful.  But I also know there actually IS several people who do shop in world.  Yesterday alone, we had dozens of sales on our sim, "I" earned over $1500L from the sales, and Im getting a 30% cut, so while not every day is as good (and there has been better), there is traffic, and sales are being generated in world, people who are shopping on my sim ENJOY doing so, so despite these vendors being on MP as well. It's a win win for all of us.

Most malls are unattractive to me, and I see people attempt to do this as a money making venture, and ultimately waste the time (and often money too) of those involved... and that's unfortunate. There IS still a shopping community in world that isn't all about MM boards, lucky chairs, and hunt freebies... I'm part of that community myself, and while I may not see dozens of shoppers at the same time in our stores people ARE coming to my sim to shop, and people who are visiting my club ARE making purchases on my sim, people who are happy with the events and ameneties we offer ARE actually making purchases on the sim from our vendors simply because they know it helps us and we get money from that.  We dont sit and cry "donate to us we need your lindens", we encourage people to explore and shop and buy themselves something nice while letting them know that it helps us because we get a % of each sale. A lot of times people will actually cam over to the stores from the club area or game area etc and make purchases without even going INTO the actual stores.

Bottom line is, Im not asking how to be successful - we're actually doing very well already, my issue is however, convincing others of this. I'm really not looking to increase my income (though every bit does help), but truly trying to improve the shopping experience (and selling experience) for those who DO want to shop and sell in world in addition to the MP. I don't want vendors that I know people arent going to want to buy from, it takes away from the experience and ultimately I think deters people to an extent. If the first shop they go to on our sim has crap in it... they may not feel inclined to explore the other stores. However, MOST of the people who come in to the sim, to one of the stores, venture out and go into other stores and make purchases from more than one of our vendors. But... when they come to one of the bad shops, that's usually when I see them TP out.

 

Phaedra wrote:
try filling a few empty shops with affiliates that you own, people will be more likely to rent if your mall looks full, all so with some affiliates that you see the sales and can see how well you mall is working for getting customers from the club to the shops. But not too many affiliates ( 2 or 3) or people with just think it's an other mall full of affiliates.  Use the affiliates to fill in the shop that are least likely to be rented out, remove them as the mall fills up, unless they are making more L$ the the rent you charge.

I love this, at the start I did exactly this... fortunately I've actually been able to remove all affiliates and rather than sticking a vendor that's seen at just about "every" mall i've been to - I've responded to some of the people who are new designers and have given them an opportunity to utilize the space that I do have available (with them understanding that they are being given the space to utilize for a limited time unless their store is successfully making sales.

However, It's concerned me that having all the stores full would deter interest if people who come look assume there's no space available, so at the moment I have one store empty and Im thinking the best thing to do would be leave it open... that way someone good might come in and say "oooh ooh, I want to put my stuff here".  That was how I snagged my last vendor who came in, they were impressed with the sim, they saw the open store and basically attacked my IMs. Unfortunately they're the ONLY vendor that isnt an affilliate, or selling poor quality items that contacted ME directly.


So yes, I'm impatient. Ultimately I have 3 stores available at the moment, but just ONE is empty at the moment.

 

Sassy your response is giving me the insight I'm truly looking for, and not far off from what I've already done, so it is very reassuring to me. And I'm not giving up - I refuse to haha.

If you're willing, and I'm not saying this to try to lure anyone here into this, I swear... but if I show you an example of what I've sent to the vendors I've approached, would you mind offering me feedback on it?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I read what everyone said on this and pretty much agree.

Big names -- if they have satellite stores -- have them with FRIENDS (some folks are SO cliquey).

 

Personally, if I was you, I would peruse the Marketplace looking for deisgners that don't HAVE shops but that do have really nice things. They aren't all new; I know some that have been around a long while.

These days, for better or worse, most sales for most people are on the Marketplace. There are exceptions of course but The Lab has wanted this (more money for them) and it has come to pass.

Still there is an advantage to having a story inworld especially if you have some EXAMPLES of your work. So clothing stores would not be my main target. Demos on the Marketplace are easy to get and try. No real need to shop in world. Same with skins etc.


So furniture, animations etc -- things people really DO want to see before they buy would be best IMHO.

Long LONG ago (maybe six years) I had some stuff in malls such as yours. Didn't work well for me or for my friends and that was before the Marketplace took over. So understand that you are climbing a tall mountain with folks. The days of 20 or more satellite shops seem to be over. I might be out of touch, but I don't see that like I used to.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Chic,

I've utilized the MP in this nature for hours and hours, to check out possible vendors who have contacted me and to find new possibilities (all of which failed to respond or acknowledge my attempt to reach out to them)

The big names I have were obtained because of who I know, while they werent necessarily my friends directly my SL friends and family were the biggest means in us getting started by far. But we've been very fortunate to bring in names that I havent heard of before who ARE doing very well here and have since then become friends and wonderful wonderful people to work with.

 

I know there are means out there, and I'm really oblivious to all of them. I started in 2005, and while I'm not a noob - I'm still a noob :D especially when it comes to this. Marketting is not my thing, managing operations is.

Since sending messages directly to creators... Aside from the suggestions made here (they're great and I appreciate your guys' time and feedback).... What groups on facebook would be ideal to join with designers who might see us and be inclined to check us out? What groups would be good to join to keep an eye out for people seeking space that is offered?


Our place is sticking around - with or without big names or big money, and I've hoped that those who responded in the past saying they didnt think we were established enough to "make it" would see that we've been doing great and havent faltered like most would have anticipated.

 

As far as the type of stuff sold here, we did have a few attempts with non clothing / avatar items and they did terribly. I really want to stick to fashion and a variety of it too. I dont want 10 vendors all selling the same mesh items that they bought off the MP full perm and retextured that are actually cheaper on the MP to buy full perm yourself - and that's a big problem with a lot of the people who approach me. No disrespect to them but a lot of them dont event know how to texture well and I really want to offer better to our shoppers.

Right now we have the formal wear, casual wear, mens and womens... urban type clothes... shoes... tattoos... bridal wear, and accessories.. and I'd LOVE to get a hair vendor it doesnt have to be a BIG name, it can be someone with quality items who isnt as well known as some of the big names out there. I'd also love to get someone who specializes in slink shoes and accessories... as I know that it's something our patrons would like to see! I'm constantly directing people to Slink West and other sims that I know have what they need, but I'd love to say "we have a store right here, check it out... if they dont have what you need THEN go to x_place".  I wear the clothes sold on my sim... because people ask me all the time where I buy my clothes, where I got my shoes, where I get my hair, where's your skin from?  I want to be able to say the same to all of them "right here!"

Link to post
Share on other sites

Savannah Christensen wrote:

... I'm part of that community myself, and while I may not see dozens of shoppers at the same time in our stores people ARE coming to my sim to shop, and people who are visiting my club ARE making purchases on my sim, people who are happy with the events and ameneties we offer ARE actually making purchases on the sim from our vendors simply because they know it helps us and we get money from that.  We dont sit and cry "donate to us we need your lindens", we encourage people to explore and shop and buy themselves something nice while letting them know that it helps us because we get a % of each sale. A lot of times people will actually cam over to the stores from the club area or game area etc and make purchases without even going INTO the actual stores.

 

 

Because you work on the commission system you should be able to put together some metrics to show merchants sales results as well as average traffic and lifestyles of the people that come to your club.  This speaks louder than any words ever could.

Second, emphasize that because your rent is a cut of the sales you are assuming part oft he risk of them having a store there.  Tell them that your job is to bring the traffic, and explain how you do that.  Tell them their job is to keep merchandise fresh so people have something to buy they want.  I can't tell you how many clubs I've been too that have malls and the merchandise in the shops never changes,.  I may buy a few things but once i buy what i want, if nothing 'new' is offered, I won't be spending any money there.

I  don't do much shopping in malls as I don't like them RL or SL.  When i shop in world I go to the main stores where they have a full selection.  However, if I find myself at a place with a mall, i generally cam around for new designers that I don't know about that is offering quality things in styles i like.  So hunt for new designers as others have suggested. ( Most people don't care about big names in SL anyway, they want good quality.)  I know this works because i've done it myself for a mall that i had at a club I used to own where i too took a cut of sales instead of flat rent.  I actually made more money from many of the newer designers than the established big names.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't speak for the most people here but when you have been at 1000+ malls in this SL Career you have heard and read it all and everything keeps repeating itself on a daily basis (i get 10+ invites a day)

What works for me is a short notecard with a landmark and rental terms in it. Because in the end of the day every word is too much if the shop is in a bad location, the landing point too far away, free landing zones etc.. All experienced designers know exactly what they want regardless what you say because each new mall owner is enthusiastic and it sounds like the recipe to stardom.

People who are interested will check out the place and know within seconds if they want to be there or not.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"These days, for better or worse, most sales for most people are on the Marketplace. There are exceptions of course but The Lab has wanted this (more money for them) and it has come to pass."

 

Nonsense. 'The Lab' has never liked the existence of Xstreet or their SLM, and in reality blame them on their losses of revenue. The 'problems' with the SLM, with all the annoying unfixed inefficiencies, are considered damage control and by design to keep inworld shopping as maximally promoted as possible. :matte-motes-wink:

Link to post
Share on other sites
You are about to reply to a thread that has been inactive for 2551 days.

Please take a moment to consider if this thread is worth bumping.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...