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Chic Aeon

Alienating Customers - group what NOT to do

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Posted (edited)

I haven't ever had a store group but I have belonged to many.  Once groups became as much or more about gifts than they did about keeping up with new releases, the group thing went downhill for me. But whether you love product groups or not, I thought this scenario was pretty interesting. 

 

Recently my alt, Lani, was contacted by a group saying that the owner was making a NEW group and that folks needed to join that new group as the old one was no more. 

 

OK.

She did that during a short time period (a couple of days maybe) while the group was still free and not $300.   Honestly this charge is not for a Hair VIP group  or some very high profile store, just a store that retextures full perm mesh clothing.  So $300 was kind of a stretch to say the least anyway.  

 

A few days later now (a week at most) she was ejected from that new group that she joined. The new group rules had changed and you now needed to contact the own when she was on line to get added back to that group.  You also MUST HAVE THAT GROUP SHOWING IN YOUR GROUP LIST to qualify for the group.

 

Now "she" (meaning Lani  and the typist) really doesn't care all that much.  But it definitely didn't make me want to buy things at that  store.  I can't really understand why the store owner did this, why there was no note to the group before ejections, why the rules CHANGED after moving over to the new group etc. etc. etc.   

 

I as Chic have joined several paid groups lately.  One gives a discount on purchases, the other has monthly gifts that I may be able to use.  I have not actually seen a group (let alone a paid group) have a rule saying you MUST have the group publicly listed in groups or you will be ejected.  I have NO groups showing in my profile and haven't for many years. Partly I like the neatness, partly it isn't anyone's business and many are blogger groups.   Still, if that rule would have been part of the deal when the new group was announced, Lani could have decided whether she wanted to show the group in her profile and make a decision.

 

This was just tacky.  

 

 

Edited by Chic Aeon
clarity with too many "shes" :D
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I've never seen that either, how weird, especially when you are paying a premium price for group membership. I see stores with raffles for group members who place the store in their profile picks but the group you describe is offering nothing in return for customers providing them with free advertising and in fact is asking members to pay for the privilege.

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As a business owner myself I can only shake my head at this. My groups would always be free and if I would spread gifts, they would be free as well and actual gifts, with no "hidden" join-group-and-pay-then-get-free-gift catches. In my opinion, the store of that group you called out is going to have a hard time doing business with such an attitude.

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When I was actively selling stuff as my primary means of L$ income, I regarded maintaining group(s) as a necessary evil and subscribos and their ilk as the very spawn of hell. I hated that the only in-world way to contact or announce updates to my customers was via one of these, being an old-school geek with all the hatred of spam that this implies. So I rigorously kept the volume low and the thought of imposing further inconvenience on my customers by making them pay to hear about updates or bugfixes, or requiring them to be unpaid advertisers for my products by showing my group in their profile would have been the worst kind of anathema, let alone the inconvenience to me of actually trying to police that and enforce it!

I totally sympathize with the OP and would run, not walk, away from any business that tried to behave like that. In my current line of SL "work" I'm well out of the whole mess. Now, as a performer, I explicitly do not run either. If I actually owned a venue it would have to be otherwise, but the venues advertise my gigs already and anyone in a position to "click the button and join my group!" is already at one of those venues and probably a member of one of their groups so any notifications I might send out will be duplicates for most recipients and, to my mind nothing but spam. Instead I make available a link to a public gcal which shows all my bookings, including SLURLs for every event. If they are regulars at a venue they'll know I'll be there and if they are not but still want to come listen to me they can always find out where I'm playing that day and I don't have to spam them about it.

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20 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

This was just tacky. 

Understatement of the most high.

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I'm really curious as to what type of business this is and how popular is the brand.

From first glance, this seems beyond ridiculous and appears to be nothing more than a money grab by a bad business owner.  You're being forced to advertise someone else's product and paying to do it.

I don't believe it was mentioned, but are there any actual benefits to being in the group?

I haven't had a business in a while, but have been thinking of reopening a store.  You can bet I wouldn't act this way.

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I don't mind groups that charge some pittance 5L or whatever to keep out spambots and griefers, but I won't pay more than that.

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On 8/30/2019 at 2:38 PM, Crim Mip said:

I don't mind groups that charge some pittance 5L or whatever to keep out spambots and griefers, but I won't pay more than that.

I agree (though my own limit it 25L) - my favorite is when a Creator on Market Place says "50% Discount in-world!" - so you go in-world, find out you need to be a member of their group. Go to join the group and it costs-to-join-twice as much as what you would save with the discount. (!) Needless to say I decided not to even bother purchasing that item, and if I did, I would have just purchased with the asking price on MP; in-world discounts are more often a money-grab gimmick than anything else.

There are very, very few Brand groups I will remain joined into. They have to really make it worthwhile. Blueberry is a great example and run excellently. Other creators could learn a lot from them.

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