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Brooke Linden
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Hey all,

I meant to post this earlier--apologies for the delay. I just wanted to call attention to a program we will be testing over the next couple of months. The program is called “Dash Deal” and we’ll be running 6 tests with different merchants, followed by a survey. The program itself was developed, in part, based upon feedback collected from a survey we recently emailed merchants.

Here’s the blog post for more details: http://bit.ly/g51zTN.

Happy promoting!
Brooke

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And related to the MERCHANT SURVEY..... why did only a portion of the Merchants get this survey?  I did not receive it nor did many other merchants

PLEASE DO NOT SAY THAT YOU DID SEND IT AND THAT IT MUST BE A FILTER ON MY SIDE... its not true as I have received an email from LL Commerce (you) in early January).

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It is not riskfree, this Dash Deal program. You must make at least 4x as much sales in those 24 hours to 'play equal'.

By submitting this form, you agree to the following terms:

  • Your Second Life Marketplace account is currently in good standing.
  • The item that you submit is appropriate for all audiences (adult oriented content will not be accepted).
  • You agree to split revenue with Linden Lab 50/50 (you receive 50%, Linden Lab receives 50%) on your featured Dash Deal item/s.
  • You agree to markdown your item by at least 50% during the Dash Deal promotional period (no longer than 24 hours)

So when the price of an item is for example 100 linden, you first need to reduce the price to at highest 50 to give the customer an attractive deal, and then next you have to give LL 50% of the sales. Which means of each sale only 25 will end up in your pockets.

I think it is reasonable that LL asks a price for the promotion of the item, but 50%? No, that not a fair deal at all! The work LL needs to do to promote Dash Deals is nothing compared to the time and dedication it takes from a merchant to create an item.

I would have been interested to participate when LL had temperated her greed to earn on our backs. But with this percentage, no thanks!

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Toysoldier Thor wrote:

And related to the MERCHANT SURVEY..... why did only a portion of the Merchants get this survey?  I did not receive it nor did many other merchants

PLEASE DO NOT SAY THAT YOU DID SEND IT AND THAT IT MUST BE A FILTER ON MY SIDE... its not true as I have received an email from LL Commerce (you) in early January).

 

I did not receive it either. I don't receive emails quite while now. The last mail I saw from the lab was the one with the promotion of the bunnies.(By the way: did they pay you 50% of their sales for this promotion?)

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It is typical when doing surveys to limit the # of responses, maybe according to type of sales, # of sales, whatever, so not everyone may have been sent one.

In any case, I have a pretty effective marketing strategy, and it does not include slashing prices except for new releases announced only to my group -- who are also told where to find each week's free items.  I get plenty of word of mouth traction from these to attract new customers -- and not only those who are looking for cheap deals.

 

What we need help with is search. Period. Search.

 

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I didnt see the 50/50 cut of the sales - but....

 

  1. I didnt give my RL legal full name so good chance LL will reject my application on that technicality
  2. I picked the slowest selling of my 6 main landscape sculpty packs so even if 5 or 6 of the packs sell on that 24 hours - better than what this pack makes now in a giving week - specially over the past 2 weeks since LL Commerce team has devastated SLM sales.
  3. Its only for 24 hours - so really - how much will LL Commerce Team even generate interest in?
  4. Maybe the faint hope - FAINT - that if any 24 hour customer buys one of of the landscape sculpty pack that I have put up for this prmotion... all my packs are heavily cross branded - so maybe this will bring sales back up to where it was 2 weeks ago.
  5. This will be my one experiment - if it fails (like all my experiments on SLM's / XSTREETs hugely overpriced and under performing listing enhancements have), I wont do it a second time.

And yes... it seems the LL commerce team has a portion of the merchant population they like to go to for private group meetings and surveys.  Merchants like us are along for the ride.

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Madeliefste Oh wrote:

 

Toysoldier Thor wrote:

And related to the MERCHANT SURVEY..... why did only a portion of the Merchants get this survey?  I did not receive it nor did many other merchants

PLEASE DO NOT SAY THAT YOU DID SEND IT AND THAT IT MUST BE A FILTER ON MY SIDE... its not true as I have received an email from LL Commerce (you) in early January).

 

I did not receive it either. I don't receive emails quite while now. The last mail I saw from the lab was the one with the promotion of the bunnies.(By the way: did they pay you 50% of their sales for this promotion?)

Made... maybe they dont like us Sculpty Merchants .... we r not good enough for them :)

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This, as a deal for us, is questionable, at best, Brooke.

How do I think it should be different?

Well, without knowing the details of the promotion and how exactly it will be marketed. I can only tell you what I would like to see.

1 - Cut LL's take on the deal by 25%. We are already being asked to cut our price in half. LL taking another half of our already cut half is like getting hit twice.

2 - Do a Dash Deal every single day.

3 - Make a video for it and post it on SL's Youtube page. You don't have to get crazy with the video, just 1 intro, 360 view of the product, or quick demo. No more than 30 seconds. Heck, depending on how proficient the Linden is, you could do 2 dash deals a day, for 2 time zones. 1 being more expensive for the merchant, then the earlier 1.

Now, it looks like a deal to me. I don't think 1 full time person doing this is too much to ask, and it should easily pay for that person. If it does not, then include a set fee to the merchant to cover the estimated costs, rather than taking a larger cut. Plus, posting regular videos on Youtube will generate a larger, more regular audience.

I don't think it is a terrible idea tho, and it does have promise. I would just like to see it be bigger than it is with more focus on it being a great deal for both the merchant and the consumer.

Right now, it just looks like a great deal for LL. :smileytongue:

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This is one promotion I don't even have to debate joining in or not--basically, any price slashing, I can sit out. Most of my stuff's L$50.

I actually did a new year's sale--11 items for L$11 in 2011, heh. It went pretty darned well. I don't recall the revenue compared with normal now, but quite a few people bought things, so at least it got the stuff out there.

But yeah, let's see...cut my price by half and I'm at L$25. Give LL half...well, we can't even do linden cents. Who gets the 0.5? I'm guessing LL. :)

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Madeliefste Oh wrote:

I think it is reasonable that LL asks a price for the promotion of the item, but 50%? No, that not a fair deal at all! The work you need to do to promote Dash Deals is nothing compared to the time and
dedication it takes from a merchant to create an item.

I would have been interested to participate when LL had
temperate
d her greed to earn on our backs. But with this percentage, no thanks!


Don't forget about all the customer service you will have to do on all those extra sales, some of which will be failed deliveries.:smileyindifferent:
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Interesting idea.

While I agree with the comments saying that this could potentially result in the merchant making an overall loss on the item during the deal, I think the point is that you need to treat it as a loss leader. If this promotion works well it should, in theory, promote more interest in your business and generate more overall sales and profit. So I'm going to watch with interest to see how this trial works in practice. 

There have been deals similar to this run inworld before by other residents (with varying success). There are also a number of similar, regular programs where multiple merchants can apply and have an item set at a specified discount price on a particular day each week. I've always been in two minds about these programs - They have their pros because they can act as a useful loss leader to generate more sales but they also have their cons - the main one being that because they have become so widely used and so frequent, they encourage shoppers to simply only ever shop for items at these deals. For that reason, I think there is logic to LL running this deal on a less regular basis.

Having said that, I think it would be nice to do somethng perhaps monthly with a few merchants (by application) if the tiral is successful. I think the main issue, in the long run, is going to be the nature on which the item has to be setup. If this trial is successful, I'd hope that LL would try to develop a more structured way to take part. A simple way to flag an existing item to take part, for example, rather than having to list it separately at the new price then relist it at the normal price once the deal is over.

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Suella, do you know where that business advice is in some wiki, by Clover I think?

I hear lots of bad advice here on how to run a business (including "slash prices") but hers was completely spot on. I looked around and could not find it.

The commerce team is a software team. They are not successful business owners, and could benefit from reading her advice -- as could many others who are serious about building a business.

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Suella Ember wrote:

Interesting idea.

While I agree with the comments saying that this could potentially result in the merchant making an overall loss on the item during the deal, I think the point is that you need to treat it as a
If this promotion works well it should, in theory, promote more interest in your business and generate more overall sales and profit. So I'm going to watch with interest to see how this trial works in practice. 

There have been deals similar to this run inworld before by other residents (with varying success). There are also a number of similar, regular programs where multiple merchants can apply and have an item set at a specified discount price on a particular day each week. I've always been in two minds about these programs - They have their pros because they can act as a useful loss leader to generate more sales but they also have their cons - the main one being that because they have become so widely used and so frequent, they encourage shoppers to simply only ever shop for items at these deals. For that reason, I think there is logic to LL running this deal on a less regular basis.

Having said that, I think it would be nice to do somethng perhaps monthly with a few merchants (by application) if the tiral is successful. I think the main issue, in the long run, is going to be the nature on which the item has to be setup. If this trial is successful, I'd hope that LL would try to develop a more structured way to take part. A simple way to flag an existing item to take part, for example, rather than having to list it separately at the new price then relist it at the normal price once the deal is over.

I would be interested to hear from merchants who participate in those inworld discount programs: is the theory that bargains bring in new customers valid? I don't participate in those programs, I tend to think it mainly brings in bargain buyers. That still might be interesting for some. When you can sell for example 100 items for 50 by participating in the program, in stead of 20 for 150 while not participating.

Anybody out there who has figures about how many bargain buyers become regular costumers of your brand?

My impression of these programs so far is that they generate more bargain hunters then regulair customers. I think the effect might be that less people are willing to pay the full price for items, while there are many attractive bargains out there.

The power of these programs is that they can reach a bigger group of people then you can do on your own as a merchant. That will count even stronger for the LL program, after all LL has the power to reach the whole resident base, no inworld group can beat them on this.
But you can only hope that this strategy brings in new customers to your brand. The effect might as well be that the program takes away customers from existing brands, customers might change their buying habbits because of the attractive discounts promoted by LL.

 

 

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I find it utterly astonishing that LL can find time to create something like this in the MP but they can't find the time to fix the myriad of problems that I read about. Well, it's not really astonishing considering that LL is never about making things work properly or looking after their customers.

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Madeliefste Oh wrote:

 

Suella Ember wrote:

Interesting idea.

While I agree with the comments saying that this could potentially result in the merchant making an overall loss on the item during the deal, I think the point is that you need to treat it as a
If this promotion works well it should, in theory, promote more interest in your business and generate more overall sales and profit. So I'm going to watch with interest to see how this trial works in practice. 

There have been deals similar to this run inworld before by other residents (with varying success). There are also a number of similar, regular programs where multiple merchants can apply and have an item set at a specified discount price on a particular day each week. I've always been in two minds about these programs - They have their pros because they can act as a useful loss leader to generate more sales but they also have their cons - the main one being that because they have become so widely used and so frequent, they encourage shoppers to simply only ever shop for items at these deals. For that reason, I think there is logic to LL running this deal on a less regular basis.

Having said that, I think it would be nice to do somethng perhaps monthly with a few merchants (by application) if the tiral is successful. I think the main issue, in the long run, is going to be the nature on which the item has to be setup. If this trial is successful, I'd hope that LL would try to develop a more structured way to take part. A simple way to flag an existing item to take part, for example, rather than having to list it separately at the new price then relist it at the normal price once the deal is over.

I would be interested to hear from merchants who participate in those inworld discount programs: is the theory that bargains bring in new customers valid? I don't participate in those programs, I tend to think it mainly brings in bargain buyers. That still might be interesting for some. When you can sell for example 100 items for 50 by participating in the program, in stead of 20 for 150 while not participating.

Anybody out there who has figures about how many bargain buyers become regular costumers of your brand?

My impression of these programs so far is that they generate more bargain hunters then regulair customers. I think the effect might be that less people are willing to pay the full price for items, while there are many attractive bargains out there.

The power of these programs is that they can reach a bigger group of people then you can do on your own as a merchant. That will count even stronger for the LL program, after all LL has the power to reach the whole resident base, no inworld group can beat them on this.

But you can only hope that this strategy brings in new customers to your brand. The effect might as well be that the program takes away customers from existing brands, customers might change their buying habbits because of the attractive discounts promoted by LL.

 

Well like I said, even though I agree with all that say LL is raping the participating merchants on this promotion experiment, I did put in my application and under the coditions I mentioned earlier.  All my landscape sculpty packs are definately premium priced and have sold very well considering the limited formal marketing (near zero paid advertising for any of LL's services). 

BUT, because it is only 24 hours and I looked at my sales history and selected my slowest seller of the 6 primary packs I sell to be the victim of this LL promotion, I still think its worth the risk to see if LL could actually deliver this time and properly market this promo event.  If they do then even though my 900L item will be slashed to 1/4 of its income to me - $225L, since I only sell about 1-2 of these a week, I cant see a pent up demand of Bargain Hunters after my products that will jump on this deal - even at $450L.

The "bargain hunters" we are all fearing are the MM "I want it free or for $10L" bargain hunters.  $450L will be out of this shopping group's league.

The biggest issue for me and why I will likely not be able to report back to any of you how the experiment worked is....

1) I refused to give my full RL legal name in the application - didnt see a need for LL to know it so I just reminded them of my PIOF they already have for me, 

2) LL Commerce Team - even the new generation - pretty much has excluded me from most communications... smaller user groups that I have asked to be involved in, no merchant surveys that other Merchants seem to get, no response to my questions in the larger group meetings, no response to my forum posts unless I basically harass and downright threaten to bring it up with Rodvik, etc.  So I suspect my application for this experiment will be rejected - unless of course most of the favored LL Merchants refuse to go into the experiment.

We will see.

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Phil Deakins wrote:

I find it utterly astonishing that LL can find time to create something like this in the MP but they can't find the time to fix the myriad of problems that I read about. Well, it's not really astonishing considering that LL is never about making things work properly or looking after their customers.

 

This is the shocking thing Phil.... Brooke continues to plead and fling around the same excuse on why critical Merchant issues cannot be a priority to be worked on because they are so limited in staff and have so many higher priorities like Teenification of the SLM site (i.e. damaging the sales of SLM with all these maturity filters).  So issues like SLM utterly useless sales/traffic reporting and SLM search canitnue to be ignored BUT her team has all the time in the world to come up with a new promotion tool/solution that is questionable in its pricing strategy and that most merchants posting in the threads see as a tool for "the desperate SLM merchant".

It really makes you understand where this new SLM Commerce Team's priorities are.  Not with helping the Merchants.

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I'm very concerned when I see RL business concepts applied to SL and its unique features, because more often than not it just doesn't work. When individual businesses decide to make one of their products a 'loss leader' it is for ONE item and not their entire line of products, but the effect of management determining the 'loss leaders' means that as more and more creators participate the entire market will become valued at the 'loss leader' price. Why would any shopper pay a decent price for anything when the market is flooded with an abundance of 'loss leaders' just one click away?  I'm afraid this will just cheapen our content even further, and in a way that lines LL's pocket even more.


If there are few merchants participating in this type of advertising I'm sure they will have an increase in sales, but the more who participate the effect will be, in the end, that they earn far less.

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Luna Bliss wrote:

I'm very concerned when I see RL business concepts applied to SL and its unique features, because more often than not it just doesn't work. When individual businesses decide to make one of their products a 'loss leader' it is for ONE item and not their entire line of products, but the effect of management determining the 'loss leaders' means that as more and more creators participate the entire market will become valued at the 'loss leader' price. Why would any shopper pay a decent price for anything when the market is flooded with an abundance of 'loss leaders' just one click away?  I'm afraid this will just cheapen our content even further, and in a way that lines LL's pocket even more.


If there are few merchants participating in this type of advertising I'm sure they will have an increase in sales, but the more who participate the effect will be, in the end, that they earn far less.

 

Luna... you bring up an excellent point... to put this in perspective base on actual proven history within Inworld SL...

LL Commerce Team could be on the verge of actually being the creators of the SLM verion of the inworld "MIDNIGHT MANIA" promotion tool.

I strong believe we all can all safely say and agree with little debate that MIDNIGHT MANIA (and all its explosion of similar inworld traffic generating concepts) became the #1 most economy damagin fad (that still continues actively today inworld) to impact the Inworld SL economy.  If one could wave a magic wand and to a correlation study that super-imposed the Inworld Average $L price for content being sold before during and after the MM craze... I would be very confident is sayin we would see a massive drop in the average price of ALL PRODUCT CATEGORIES inworld.

Why? Because, in a naive or desperate effort to get traffic to merchant stores (since even back then search was as uselss as it still is now), giving away valued products for free or for a firesale price was initially a highly effective way to get bargain hunters and shoppers to visit your store.  In the early days of MM, the strategy worked because it was new and the HUNTERS actually felt obliged to look around at MM stores and even shop.  But, it didnt take long for the MM usage to flood to almost every second merchant who then have to offer more and more valuable items to give away just to get HUNTERS to show up.  The Hunders also evolved to making it an actual GAME.  They have zero intent to buy anything.  This evolution didnt take long.

In the meantime, the MM craze already damaged the inworld economy because it fundamentally transformed the general customer culture to EXPECT TO GET GREAT PRODUCTS SOMEWHERE IN SL GRID FOR FREE OR CHEAP.  Most merchants that didnt even participate in the MM craze or stopped using the tool, were still being impacted because even if they great products were available at $900L, their 10 competitors already offered competing products at lower and lower prices or even free.  This continued to drag down the inworld content price point to where it is now.

I will even admit I was one of MM's most early adopters back in early 2009 but I quickly got out of it about 3 months later when the early damaging impacts were becoming aparent and that I noticed no one was showing up at my store's MM announcements - AND I refused to play the game of giving away more valueable lost leaders.

But, a good example of the impact of MM... just before the MM craze (Feb 2009) I was selling a pack of 7 animated sculpted raging rivers prims for $5000L - and they were selling !!  In the fall of 2009 my revised/updated pack of 15 sculpted river maps was and continues to sell for around $900L and at a pace that I previously could sell them at $5000L.

HOW DOES THIS ALL RELATE TO LL's RECENT SLM PROMOTION...

This is exactly what LL Commerce Team is introducing into the SLM market that devastated the inworld economy.  Luna is dead on right with this.

But also... the reasons behind why the MM craze was so popular was significantly driven by the weak support from LL in providing more effective ways to generate traffic to a mall or store - primarily a completely horrid search for inworld content. 

And well I guess history is repeating itself - because LL Commerce Team continually refuses to solve the problems in SLM that would fairly generated SLM shopper traffic to the SLM Merchant items - Merchants are new or cannot get visible on SLM search and cannot rely upon the over-priced / under effective SLM item advertising tools will get desperate to establish or regain traffic and sales.

With Brooke's team focusing completely on SLM initiatives that do nothing but reduce traffic and sales (i.e. the maturity filtering fiasco), Brooke's team is naively falling for the same tricks of MM to regain SLM sales that happened in 2009.

Ohh well... I guess if LL is going to do it anyway - there will be no stopping it.  the only ones that benefit from this damaging strategy will be the early adopters that are also the early exiters of the program.

hmmmm thanks Luna... this might make for a great new blog for my new site.

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I have played around a bit with weekly auctions in my inworld market, only a few people came back to check out the weekly discounted products. It didn't attract many people. We blogged about it back then and our blog is well read. Still not a few customers that followed the auctions. I think the auctions didn't work out because we weren't able to promote it enough. Linden however has all the tools to promote this new idea. I think this new tool can be great to get new people into our inworld shops. I am not scared it will devaluate my products. I already give big discounts when I feel like it or when I meet nice people. Next time those people come in my market they don't ask for bargains again.

Ami

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Pamela Galli wrote:

Suella, do you know where that business advice is in some wiki, by Clover I think?

 

Agreed. That advice Clover posted was some of the best I have ever seen.

It's linked in this Knowledge Base article:

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/English-Knowledge-Base/Power-tips-for-sellers/ta-p/700187

Scroll to the bottom and it's the first entry in the 'Posts and threads' section. called 'SL Business Tips from Mistletoe Ethaniel' (I think Willow said Mistletoe was her alt if I remember rightly).

Here's the direct link too:

http://mistletoeethaniel.wordpress.com/how-to-do-stuff/sl-business/

 

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I don't have special powers, but If I did my special power would be the ability to turn anything I touched into cheese!

However, I have put a direct link to that page on this sticky that Brooke started (and I'd also already put a link the the marketplace guides on the Knowledge Base there)

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Merchants/Links-of-Interest/m-p/707951#M92

Random side note: Much as I think stickies are a great thing, I think the stickies in this merchant forum are growing scarily quickly and I fear the first page might be all stickies before too long! :smileyvery-happy:

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Thank you! You are the go-to girl for stuff like this.

I agree that the stickies are problematic. They need to be separated out better or something. But at least now when ppl give authoritative-sounding bad advice they can be referred to the real deal.

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