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ChinRey

Pros and cons of having multiple MP stores

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I've been running several MP stores for a while because I have so many and so many different builds I thought a single store listing them all would be too messy.

It's not without problems though and I'm beginning to have second thoughts. What are other merchants' view on and experience with this?

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With the ability to have multiple stores for one acct that is supposed to be coming, it should be a lot easier. I have never tried it, managing one store is enough a PITA for me. 

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On 10/10/2018 at 1:37 PM, ChinRey said:

I've been running several MP stores for a while because I have so many and so many different builds I thought a single store listing them all would be too messy.

It's not without problems though and I'm beginning to have second thoughts. What are other merchants' view on and experience with this?

Could you name some of the difficulties that gave you second thoughts? For a while now I am thinking about opening another store to sell something else but I didn't find the time. 

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41 minutes ago, Tamara Artis said:

Could you name some of the difficulties that gave you second thoughts? For a while now I am thinking about opening another store to sell something else but I didn't find the time. 

  • Having to rez to check/change the permissions for each item twice can be quite a bit of work if you have many things to sell.
  • If you use full perm animations and/or textures bought from others, you sometimes have to buy copies both for your builder alt and your store owenr alt to comply with EULAs
  • You have to keep an eye on all alt accounts in case there are some support requests. No matter how much you tell people to cotnact your main if there are problems, there will always be somebody who don't notice.

The reason I opened several MP sotres in the first place was to keep things better organized. For example, when people visit OPQ Builders' Supplies, they don't have to shift through tons of plants and cottages to find the building parts they are looking for. The way MP is (dis)organized, it's hard enough for customers to find what they are looking for anyway. But recently I've started to wodner if I made a mistake there.

 

39 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

Doesn’t each MP store require a different alt/account?

It does at the moment. What Pamela said in ehr reply is new to me and I can't find any info about it anywhere.

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26 minutes ago, ChinRey said:

It does at the moment. What Pamela said in ehr reply is new to me and I can't find any info about it anywhere.

I read about it in a forum post about upcoming improvements.

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I am one of those ADD types of creators. I get bored or distracted trying to make one type of thing. So I make a variety and I sell a variety. I've never even contemplated trying to have more than one storefront to sell those items. But my MP store was a mess and had way too much to sort through until very recently. There were times when I wished I could sort products into categories for viewing to make it easier for my customers.

Recently, when I had to switch to a new vendor system, I decided to clean up my storefront drastically. It just wasn't worth my time to process all those older items into a new system so I could provide redelivery services. My store now has a much smaller inventory; however, that will change as I make new things, so I'm really hopeful to see this new service implemented. I will use it for sure.

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ChinRey, aside from the inconvenience, do you think you'd sell more if you had all your items under one avatar?

I have mixed feelings about it...how much of a difference this would make. I guess it all depends on how people actually use the MP.

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1 minute ago, Luna Bliss said:

ChinRey, aside from the inconvenience, do you think you'd sell more if you had all your items under one avatar?

I don't know and that's why I ask here.

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10 minutes ago, ChinRey said:
14 minutes ago, Luna Bliss said:

ChinRey, aside from the inconvenience, do you think you'd sell more if you had all your items under one avatar?

I don't know and that's why I ask here.

In times past it was important to stick to a clear branding in-world, and I remember in one of our discussions I thought that was best even on the MP.

However, I'm now not so sure this is as important, especially on the MP. I'd need to investigate the way a typical person shops on the MP to evaluate the issue better.

Edited by Luna Bliss

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My advice is to start chatting with your customers. Ask how they found you. What works for you might not work for others (might not be good to compare clothes with home & garden items, for example).

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Anyway, ChinRey, I was just a little worried that you might have gotten the idea from me (that it's better to have a MP store under only one name), as I did say that to you once.  But now I'm not really sure!  Didn't want you to ponder and waste your time..

 

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2 hours ago, Luna Bliss said:

Anyway, ChinRey, I was just a little worried that you might have gotten the idea from me

I didn't. It's been something I've been thinking of all the time.

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Greetings!

Search is actually a very easy issue to address. 

If you use a Brand in your Product Listings, anyone can search your store for that brand and see only the applicable items.

Using ChinRey's provided Brand as an example, each listing title for that brand should start with "OPQ Builders Supplies - Item Name"

Any customer, or potential customer, can then go directly to the ChinRey's store and do a Marketplace search only for that store using the Brand name.

https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/154697

As long as the listing for ONLY that brand have the name, then only those branded items will show up when using the "Search this store" option at the top of the page.

Currently, searching the store for "OPQ Builders Supplies" returns zero listings.  Searching the store for "OPQ" returns all 263 listings. 

Setting up a store using specific Brand Names and using the Brand Name exclusively for items in that range (IE, do not use the same brand name in keywords for other branded items), will take a dedicated effort on the part of the Merchant, but in the long run, can maximize the features and functions of the Search ability on the Marketplace.

If a merchant has multiple brands, then all of their listings should start with the Brand Name  "Brand Name A - Item Name". "Brand Name B - Item Name".  Customers should then be encouraged to search the specific merchants store for the particular brand they are interested in.  Once the search is done, the customer can then use the categories on the left side of the page to further narrow the specific types of items under that brand to show only the ones they want to see.  So if Brand Name A is furniture, anyone who searches for Brand Name A in that sellers store can then use the Categories on the left to further narrow their search to only show those items in the Kitchen Furniture sub-category, as opposed to items in the Bedroom Furniture category, if the user is looking for kitchen cabinets. 

 

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4 hours ago, Dakota Linden said:

Search is actually a very easy issue to address.

It would have been if people acted sensibly and rationally all the time - or at least when they did searches. :P

But anyway, I really love to her people's view. I always want to learn from my mistakes - if it was a mistake. And it's certainly something others can learn from, I'm not the first to ask about multiple stores here recently.

But I can't see how I can change my existing system. Right now there are 589 listings at OPQ Interior, 678 at OPQ Builders' Supplies and 1722 at OPQ Garden and Landscpaing. Relisting them would be at least 500 hours of hard work and of course I'd loose all my existing reviews and sales stats and such. So that's not an option and I can't imagine it's possible to transfer listings wholesale from one MP store to another.

 

Edited by ChinRey
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3 minutes ago, ChinRey said:

Right now there are 589 listings at OPQ Interior, 678 at OPQ Builders' Supplies and 1722 at OPQ Garden and Landscpaing.

At least you’re nowhere close to the 20k limit!

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2 hours ago, Love Zhaoying said:

At least you’re nowhere close to the 20k limit!

With no csv import, no bulk image upload, a "related items" list you have to fill in one item at a time from an unsorted and unpredictable search list and an entry form that is just a three screens long mess of crude html form (plus some hidden different language fields that are autofilled with exactly what you don't want to be there)? With none of the time saving features you take for granted from professional webshops?

I can kind of understand how you can manage to reach 20,000 temporary gacha listings but for permanent listings where you actually have to do the ground work yourself, forget it. My personal record is 193 listings in a single day but that was after a week of preparation and I was completely exhausted afterward. I'd rather not do that again.

If you have any experience with professional web stores like Ebay, Amazon or Alamy (just to mention a few I have experience with myself), you're simply not going to believe it the first time you see MP's listing form. The UI is mind-boggingly amateurish and clumsy. I don't think whoever made it missed a single noob mistake in web design. If you want to do good listings with good descriptions, multiple picture, a sensible selection of related items and all of that, you simply can't do big volumes.

I was planning to illustrate with a series of screenshots, so I did an upload of the single trees in my new OPQ Oak 01 series. 19 different listings, similar enough I could use the little there is of bulk processing features for all they are worth.

I have to leave those screenshots out since they may be too hard to handle for sensitive souls on the forums but it took me two and a half hours. All items boxed up and ready, all images taken and edited, all the descriptions written, all the data ready. Two and a half hours just to enter it all into the MP system. With any other web store I have experience with, it would have taken half an hour or less and most of that time I would have spent doing some housework or just relaxing while the computer was busy working on its own.

If I'm lucky, those trees may well sell for 5,000 Lindens on MP before SL closes down.

 

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9 hours ago, ChinRey said:

With no csv import, no bulk image upload, a "related items" list you have to fill in one item at a time from an unsorted and unpredictable search list and an entry form that is just a three screens long mess of crude html form (plus some hidden different language fields that are autofilled with exactly what you don't want to be there)? With none of the time saving features you take for granted from professional webshops?

I can kind of understand how you can manage to reach 20,000 temporary gacha listings but for permanent listings where you actually have to do the ground work yourself, forget it. My personal record is 193 listings in a single day but that was after a week of preparation and I was completely exhausted afterward. I'd rather not do that again.

If you have any experience with professional web stores like Ebay, Amazon or Alamy (just to mention a few I have experience with myself), you're simply not going to believe it the first time you see MP's listing form. The UI is mind-boggingly amateurish and clumsy. I don't think whoever made it missed a single noob mistake in web design. If you want to do good listings with good descriptions, multiple picture, a sensible selection of related items and all of that, you simply can't do big volumes.

I was planning to illustrate with a series of screenshots, so I did an upload of the single trees in my new OPQ Oak 01 series. 19 different listings, similar enough I could use the little there is of bulk processing features for all they are worth.

I have to leave those screenshots out since they may be too hard to handle for sensitive souls on the forums but it took me two and a half hours. All items boxed up and ready, all images taken and edited, all the descriptions written, all the data ready. Two and a half hours just to enter it all into the MP system. With any other web store I have experience with, it would have taken half an hour or less and most of that time I would have spent doing some housework or just relaxing while the computer was busy working on its own.

If I'm lucky, those trees may well sell for 5,000 Lindens on MP before SL closes down.

 

1. The Marketplace design is 8+ years old.  If Linden Research had the same amount of funds that Amazon & PayPal/Ebay have available to dedicate to web design, I am sure that things on the SL Marketplace would look much different. Just as I am sure that if you go back 8+ years to the way Amazon and Ebay looked back then, you could probably find issues with those designs too.

2. The language fields are NOT hidden, each one has a tab on the Edit Listing page that is clearly marked with the Language itself. 

3. The Language option fields are filled in with EXACTLY what you told the system to fill them in with, the information from the Quick Fill template you used when you created the new listing. 

4. The Marketplace is designed to be simple to use, and it is.  But this means that users with special needs, or wants, such as the ability to bulk upload images, or bulk import listings, etc., were not originally designed into the web site 8+ years ago.  If you want a feature, function, or ability, create a Jira Ticket and request it.  IF it can be done, the team will investigate the best way to implement what is being asked for. 

5.https://www.lindenlab.com/careers  You are welcome to submit your Resume` to the company.  Residents who come to work for Linden Lab bring an amazing amount of experience and vision to the company when they join.  They have a chance to make a real, appreciable, difference from the inside and we welcome them with open arms when they join the company. 

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2 hours ago, Dakota Linden said:

But this means that users with special needs, or wants, such as the ability to bulk upload images, or bulk import listings, etc., were not originally designed into the web site 8+ years ago.

Awww, I was hoping you'd offer to do the job for me. ;)

But seriously, although I'm talking basic functionalities that were taken for granted in ecommerce more than a decade ago and not only by the Big ones, I do understand the point about MP being 8 years old. I've said it several times before in the forum and I think I need to say it again here: we have to be careful not to blame the cleaners for the mess. It is Linden Lab's responsibility and  your job (one i don't envy you at all) to try their best to correct the mistakes of the past but it is not the current company's or the current Lindens' fault. It's also mainly Linden Lab's problem. Yes, it can be very hard for a one person independent business that has invested thousands of hours of work in a dead end project to cut their losses and move on but that's nothing compared to how it is for a multimillion dollar company with hundreds of employees and nowhere else to go.

---
There is another side to it though. Sooner or later everybody have to ask themselves, what's in it for me? It has to be something - not necessarily money but it has to be something.

I love building of course. Leave me alone and let me play with my prims and meshes and sculpts and I'm happy as a  pig in mud. It comes with it own reward. I don't need to get paid for that, at least not as long as I can build what I want to and not what other people ask me to. But I don't need to sell to build either. I can enjoy my creations myself and maybe share it for free with my friends and a few others who appreciate them.

Sometimes bold enough to claim I'm SL's no. 1 expert on content efficiency. That may be a bit too audacious but I'm certainly on the top ten list in that field and I'm way ahead of any of the people who are supposed to be and/or paid to be the experts. It took me countless hours of hard work to get there. But that too came with its own reward. There is no money in it.  You don't get much respect for it (people at large will consider you some kind of weirdo and the people who like to be on top but don't have the stamina to get there, often treat you with hostile envy). But it's still been worth it. To me at least, learning is a reward in itself.

Sharing and helping others certainly come with their own built in rewards. But there are two limitations. One is capacity. You may love to let everybody have a piece of yourself but there is only so much of you to go around and sooner or or later you run out. And there's the feeling of being exploited. I've seen that happen to so many open source projects - and in this respect SL is very much like an open source project: People start with lots of enthusiasm and idealism but then they see others profit from and take credit for their hard work with no intention of giving anything back to the community and suddenly it's no fun anymore. Thank you for you suggestion I should apply for a job at LL btw. It's tempting but it would mean I'd have to stop writing critical posts about the Lab for the forums and that might be too high a price to pay. ;). (Seriously, I know it was meant to be some sort of sarcasm but if I were to take it at face value, the answer would have been only if I was guaranteed a positive response, in other words: you'd have to ask me, not the other way round.)

But I digress, back to topic.

Listing items for sale on MP is not rewarding in itself. It's a chore. Punching data always is and it doesn't help when you have to do it through an interface that was hopelessly outdated on arrival and even more so after eight years.

If I understand you right, Linden Lab originally regarded MP as a service to the users. But now they want to turn it into a significant contributor to the company's revenue stream so they want to move as much as possible of SL commerce to MP and they want to increase their comission. That probably makes a lot of sense but the merchants have to consider their self-interest. They have to consider their own ROI, in this case their investment of time.

To justify this change to the merchants, LL will either have to increase the merchants' return or reduce their investment. I can't imagine anybody believes there will be a huge increase of sales volume on MP so reduce the investment it is. To do that, you have to streamline every aspect of the merchants' side of MP. Those changes you have implemented and announced are a good start but that's all they are: a start. You need to do a lot more than that. It may be impossible. That's understandable and not your fault, we can safely put the blame on Lindens long gone. It's still what you have to do though.

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1 hour ago, ChinRey said:

Awww, I was hoping you'd offer to do the job for me. ;)

But seriously, although I'm talking basic functionalities that were taken for granted in ecommerce more than a decade ago and not only by the Big ones, I do understand the point about MP being 8 years old. I've said it several times before in the forum and I think I need to say it again here: we have to be careful not to blame the cleaners for the mess. It is Linden Lab's responsibility and  your job (one i don't envy you at all) to try their best to correct the mistakes of the past but it is not the current company's or the current Lindens' fault. It's also mainly Linden Lab's problem. you have to do though.

Actually, it isn't my job.

I am not one of the site developers, nor one of the engineers, which is why it is important that if you, as a seller, want something on the Marketplace that would make it easier for you to sell your content, then you need to create a Jira Issue Tracker ticket and ask for it.

 

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3 hours ago, Dakota Linden said:

Actually, it isn't my job.

I know. I meant "you" as a representative of LL as whole not you personally. ;)

3 hours ago, Dakota Linden said:

which is why it is important that if you, as a seller, want something on the Marketplace that would make it easier for you to sell your content, then you need to create a Jira Issue Tracker ticket and ask for it.

No.

I suppose I have to explain why and that means yet another rant, just a short one this time.

There are quite a few improvements that could be made to the listing form with some very simple html and css coding. But writing a clear, consise presentation would still take quite a it of work, more work than the actual coding actually. I'm not doing that for a JIRA. As I've said before, I don't owe SL or LL anything and I'm tired of fighting for a level of service that really anybody should take for granted.

I do aknowledge that Linden Lab today is doing their very best and have managed some amazing improvements but it is still too little and too late. MP is actually a very good example here. Grumpity had a go at it a while ago and did eventually manage to make some minor improvements but very little considering how much time and effort she put into it. If not even Grumpity can fix it, how do you expect a mere mortal developer to manage?

I'm going way off topic now but it's actually part of the explanation why I feel the way I do.

I left the forum in frustration a year or so ago. I was just fed up with it all and couldn't take it anymore. Rolig eventually persuaded me to come back but it was never the same.

Recently one of the forum moderators told me in no uncertain terms that I had never done anything to help others in SL. You're a moderator her yourself, Dakota, so I assume you have a fairly good idea what's been going on here over the years. Can you imagine how much that insult hurt? When it came from somebody who is paid by LL to be a content expert, never (as far as I know) has lifted a finger himself to help or advice SL builders and doesn't even know how to make a decent LoD model?

We shouldn't blame the cleaners for the mess, that's true. But if you arrive as a new paying guest at this hotel, the management expects you to step in and help cleaning up the old mess. And after a hard day of work they chew you out for not doing anything. It's a pity John Cleese is too old, there is material for a whole season of Fawlty Towers in this.

Please do not ever ask me to file any JIRA or attend any of those user group lag fests or anything like that again. I may if I feel like it I have no obligation to do any of that and don't expect me to.

Edited by ChinRey
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(Just want to say how much I appreciate the help both Dakota and ChinRey give in and out of this forum. ) 

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7 hours ago, ChinRey said:

There are quite a few improvements that could be made to the listing form with some very simple html and css coding. But writing a clear, consise presentation would still take quite a it of work, more work than the actual coding actually. I'm not doing that for a JIRA. As I've said before, I don't owe SL or LL anything and I'm tired of fighting for a level of service that really anybody should take for granted.

Lindens are not mind readers.
If you don't file the JIRA issue, how do you expect your idea will ever be implemented?

f5c9653ed119b672ea42ec6ff4b56c8f1a98970f

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1 hour ago, Whirly Fizzle said:

Lindens are not mind readers.
If you don't file the JIRA issue, how do you expect your idea will ever be implemented?

That's not my point, Whirly. My question is why should I care?

 

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