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Golden tips for a starting merchant?


Finrod Ghennyn
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Dear Forum people, as my birthdate explains .. i should have some SL experience.

 

I have just opened up my first store, but im having trouble getting sales. (views are not a problem.)

I have already drasticly lowered my prices. Maybe not the right product?

 

I will only give my marketplace URL through private message requests, or search for my name. I do not want to be suggested to be advertising for my store.

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Congratulations! And welcome!

You are about to venture into an unknown area to most and any expertise in 3D digital commerce comes from the experience we have had in SL meaning there are not true hard rules as we are writing them as we go along.

A couple of tips can be found on a post a while back about this:  http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Commerce-Forums-General/New-to-retail-This-is-what-your-customers-hate/td-p/512637

Your traffic will grow and needs to in order to get the conversions you need.  It's not about traffic, it's about converting your traffic.

One problem with SL is that it lacks access to marketing and few users will go outside of SL to look for stuff except in the case of Marketplace.  Learn to use it fully and use its features to help you market and cross market your products.

Most important,  never push yourself into a corner with statements like "I will only give my marketplace URL through private message requests, or search for my name. I do not want to be suggested to be advertising for my store.".  Be open minded and willing try it all.

 

 

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Dear Chelsea, Thank you for your kind words, and showing me the checklist you have wrote. I think i would score 7 out of 9 on your list, and will need to improve things. Also i wasnt talking about Ingame traffic, i was talking product views/search pop-ups. I dont yet have my products exposed in SL.

 

&I understand what you are saying, but LL is quite easely tipped off the toes to remove a thread.

this is the store anyways

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Merchants have some very different strategies that work, but I think a lot of it depends upon the types of products they are selling.

Since the core of my business is basically just huge 1-prim slabs of rock, I don't do anything to promote them. I just sell them as really cheap copymods and let them market each other by propagating in-world.

They want to be big and to stay rezzed, so it's sort of inevitable that, even though I'm selling them as full perms, people will start to see them and wonder if there is a larger selection (which there is). And at my prices, it's always going to be worth buying a copymod from me rather than trying to track it down in-world as a freebie.

I don't bother with any unnecessary costs, including an in-world store (since all of SL is becoming my showroom). My revenues are not huge, but they are rather reliable on a day-to-day basis, they increase as my selection and in-world presence increase, and I rarely have any problem recovering data loading costs for a new item within a reasonably short amount of time.

Also, I keep over 600 items in one box on a very quiet sim. I do have some delivery problems, but I have determined through diligent observation that delivery problems are buyer-specific glitches that have nothing to do with how many things are in my box. 

This may or may not sound like something that would work as well for you and your products.

But one thing that is absolutely the same, regardless of what you're selling is this:

YOU MUST RESPECT AND VALUE YOUR CUSTOMERS OVER YOUR PRODUCTS.

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My advice would be - Stick at it!.

I think the marketplace is a bit of a numbers game, you need to build up a good range of products to really see the sales roll in, I see you have a few things listed, but like a lot of new merchants (including myself a few years ago) you have a bit of this and a bit of that, with no real direction, try and decide on one direction, for a little while at least, and make a range of products.

Remember once a product is made its very easy and cheap to make modifications, so your robe for instance could easily be in a series of colours or perhaps you could make it menu driven so the user can choose a colour, this will probably only be 2 or 3 hours work and could give you an extra 6 products or a much more universally desirable single product. You have done a great job with your branding, however this particular product is getting lost in the black background so you may want to tweak that, or better still get a picture of it on an avatar. While we are talking listings, your descriptions are very short, I realise its a challenge using a second language, but you perhaps want to elaborate a little, sell them a dream, not a sculpted prim.

Similarly you have a storytelling snowman, not too surprising he isn't selling too well right now, but Halloween sales start in about 7 weeks, whack those scripts in a Pumpkin/severed head/skeleton or whatever and you got a Halloween product, how about a storytelling Parrot for the zillions of beachy types in SL, Storytelling Easter Bunny - you get the idea, right?.  

I notice you have a sculpty gun sight and scripts for making guns, IMHO this is almost a great product, create some sculpted parts for different types of guns, create some nice textures to go with, throw in sounds, your already made scripts and some instructions and you have a Gun makers kit. Check out the competition for this type of product and make yours BETTER, NOT CHEAPER, although price is always a factor, even if you are say L$100 cheaper, in reality thats only €0.25 and probably isn't going to be enough to influence a buying decision, whereas if you have spent an hour searching out and uploading a few free sound FX and the other guy hasn't, you are probably gonna get the sale.

Look at what you have and what its trying to compete with, and make your products win that competition on their merits and not on price, people tend to buy the product which best meets their needs rather than the product which doesn't quite meet their needs but is a bit cheaper than one that does.

 

Good Luck! : )

 

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Dear Ziggy,

Thank you for your well detailled reply, theres allot i will take out to learn from you sayings, i do agree on the pictures.

I had myself argueing with my mind about what description was adequite for the product, but since there wasn't much to "explain" about them .. i just cut it short. I will put more thought into it, and see what i can reach. Maybe have somebody from US/UK write something about it.

I had been thinking about that sculpty gun sight, but i think it's easyer and cheaper for people just to buy complete freebie guns and mix those up. The stiletto got most views. (perhaps being rare in its category.)

I will continue working on this and see if it helps. tyvm :)

 

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Get yourself a free blog, then tap into twitter and let people know what you have, across the web, rather than relying on inworld marketing tools that have been reduced in value/function.

If you want to try your stuff in an area with built in traffic already, let me know....I have some space available in an open air market set-up that you can try for a few weeks at no charge.

 

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