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Satellite stores or booths or...


Deja Letov
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I've been testing the waters with renting spaces from other sims to showcase my own store. I see a TON of "new" markets begging for you to rent space but when I do...I never get sales from them and when I stop by for a visit, I rarely see anyone there. I even put faith into a brand new dark themed sim, paid a month ahead, only to have it shut down the first 2 weeks, and didn't even get a refund for it. I've wasted so many lindens trying out various places and none have worked out.

Is there anyone out there having success with these? Either as a booth, stall or even a whole other satellite store. I'm fairly specific as catering to the goth community so I feel I am a little limited on where I should go and have it make sense like dark themed RP sims, goth clubs, etc.

What can I do to ensure I'm not just getting into someone's new project to have it either fail as a sim or my booth fail due to lack of traffic? What's the best way to succeed with outside advertising?

Oh...and if anyone has any suggestions for a place to rent that would be a good fit for a gothic themed store, I'm taking suggestions for that too. :)

 

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My experience is to have a mainstore well found in search is really enough, is reducing costs while the turnover remains the same, and it is easier to manage.

Traffic in total SL is way too low in relation to SL's land size (about 30000 sims), so the chance that your satellite store in all the empyness in SL is being seen is very slim, meanwhile keeping them up is a weekly cost.

The problem with many of those rented space or booths is also that you usually can't list them in the search the way it should be done properly. And being in search somewhere at the top is the most important thing.

Same as ad boards, they don't work for the same reason. Traffic in overal SL is too low for it. I used them once and never had any sales coming from them. I quit using them. I had 1 satellite once, never sold anything there, but i wanted to help a friend out to fill the space in her sim, lol.

A mainstore to be well found in search really is enough.

Unless you just like the play with booths and satellites and you have time to spare for a phantasy only. I had a friend like that, she didn't care much about sales, she just wanted to play shop in SL. She never sold anything from them, just from her main store she did. But she just liked the play.

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The problem as I see it, Deja, is that inworld shopping is on the downturn.  Most now just use the Marketplace and have stopped going to different sims to shop.  That LindenLab advertises the Marketplace so heavily only exacerbates the problem.  I have also tried a booth at a mall for a short time and only had one sale.  It certainly wasn't worth my time and effort to find, set up, pay for and maintain the booth while it was there. 

Sims close all the time too nowadays.  Especially the mall sims.  They just can't get enough renters to pay the tiers because the renters can't get the shoppers into their stores to purchase so that THEY can pay their rent.  It's a vicious circle. 

Something needs to change so that inworld shopping doesn't cease completely and with it, the vendor creators business too.  I have stopped using the Marketplace to make purchases and I use it only now as a search tool.  With all the recent offline issues its had (the Valentine's Day Massacre for example) I'm glad I have stopped. 

But, I'm just one guy.  And we somehow need to get more one guys and one girls to do the same.  Then maybe we can have satellite stores and booths that are actually worth keeping.

 

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I try a mall spot now and then, but I've never kept one. My highest earning satellite store is hidden in someone's basement behind a secret door (I don't pay rent on that one... it's just for fun). Which puts malls into perspective, because not only do they earn less than my hidden shop, but there's rent to pay.

Some of the themed malls may do better, though I haven't found fantasy malls (my theme) any better than general ones.

You're better off using the money for your main shop.

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A lot of it depends on your products.  For me, the vendors did not work well overall though some where good and others where not.  In all, it was more trouble than it was worth so today, I focus on my main store in world.  Doing this allows me better search optimization and the ability to control my environmental settings (I have my own sim).

However, as Marcus said, I too am seeing a shift in shopping dynamics which is what I believe the strategy of LL anyways.  I really think they are trying very hard to make the MP a better shopping experience and many new players shop almost entirely from the MP.  My products just don't show well in a flat image and need to be displayed which is what make MP work for me in that buyers can come to the store. 

When direct delivery is available, I'll be putting more on MP.  It seems that many that buy on MP end up coming to my store later and buying more but I wont go back to mall vendors as the OP had stated, it just is too high risk for little return in my case.  However, some people like Sassy do great with their vendors so I hope they chime in.

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Like others here I'm not massively experiened but would say that a good way to run a small business is:

 

• Sell FREE itmes on the marketplace

 - even if your free items aren't amazing it will give you a lot of traffic to your marketplace store.The marktplace has massive traffic which can bring a lot of sales.

• Make your marketplace listing look professional and attractive with links to your in-world store.

 - the marketplace is an amazing tool to use as it's FREE for you!!

• Offer your marketpalce items in-world for less cost and promote the deal on the marketplace

 - this will drive more traffic to your in-world store

• Put your satelite store on a sim that is well established.

 - often this means you may pay more for the rent, but the return is that the sim isn't going to disappear due to lack of funds.

• Make sure the sim you join has regular hunts. 

- this will drive a lot of traffic to your store.

• Join fashion groups as designer

 - you can send out daily notecards with special offers and promorions AND be part of the group HUNT.

 

Basically there are a lot of ways to promote your business without spending L$'s. Groups, hunts, established sims.

People love FREE items!! Group Gifts!!

 

Hope this helps!

 

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I typically run at about 88% inworld shopping vesus MP purchases.  I can't control search very well, either i'm not good at it or LL have a strong bias towards expensive things first (hmm, can't guess why?!).  I used to be on page 1 of search with a phrase that i'm now on page double figures and then some so I think I have my answer.

On that basis, i'm happy to play it old school and put products in front of my demographic customer base, i.e. role play sims.

I know that many people have said that they didn't get any sales and that's understandable but the value of appropriately placed vendors in malls isn't necessarily to get sales from but to drive traffic and provide brand awareness.

The way that I do it is that my LM givers log the LM that they have given to a central database, the same database that runs our sales system.  I input all my rent information and on a single dashboard page can then report for every satellite location, the rent cost, the sales, the sole location profit the number of LM's given and then the awesome stuff...mainstore sales by someone who took an LM from that location within 2 days and then these mainstore sales are attributed to the remote location for reporting purposes to show its effective value.

Some of the mall spots do lose money but then i've had customers say "I've seen your stuff everywhere I go, that's why I felt secure buying some weeks later".  Other mall locations seem to barely break even but my report then shows that it's dishing out LM's and those people are then buying at main store.

What I do object to though is mall owners who as one did recently put the prices up with the justification "it's our first price rise in a year."   Did tier rise and I miss the memo?  Nothing changed in the mall layout.  Instead, there are booths emptying and just for that stunt, there's another one about to downsize.

As for renting and then them poofing and taking the money, yeah had that too.  My solution now is to offer affiliate vendors.  I will point out that if the location is good and viable then then they'll make more than they would have done from rent anyway.  If they don't want to take that up then no harm done.

My feeling is that if you can suitably target your audience like it sounds that you can, then you should be out there being very much in your face with branding.  There is no point taking just any mall space anywhere for the sake of it though and for me, i'll typically NOT rent anywhere that there is any traffic gimmick such as Midnight Mania.  It's fake traffic and attracts non spenders (from my experience).  I'll happily go with what looks like a very low traffic number of very specific spenders.

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Put your time and energy (and lindens) into a mainshop. Ad boards and stalls/carts/mini-shops unfortunately dont work for all the reasons everyone else has already mentioned.  Focus on new ways to attract new traffic while meeting the ever-changing habits of your established traffic. The occassional hunt may help you out there, but given that they only attract freebie hunters, I wouldn't do more than a couple a year. There are some great sales groups which consistently bring shoppers and collaborative groups. Having a bot is also a good way to bring traffic if you have a MM board. and moreover, word of mouth. If you provide a fantastic product at a reasonable price with amazing customer service, then you'll be fine. Feel free to IM me if you would like info on a collaborative group.

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I had over 30 satellite stores at the start of 2009. Through 2009/10 they started generating less and less sales and traffic to my main store. The malls and clubs and attractions I used to rent from were drawing less traffic overall and were closing at an alarming rate I blamed it on the disastrous GSA search engine at the time but probably multiple factors were involved many of which are still relevant today. I don't have any satellite stores now. In my experience, if you want to expand in-world from your your main store, then affiliate vendors are allot more effective in SL today as well as cross promoting with busy stores that sell products that compliment your designs and vice versa.

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Marcus that's exactly the reason for my inquiry. I am on a HUGE anti marketplace kick right now. I'm pushing to all my customers that the MP is unreliable and should only be used for search. I am actually in the process right now of custom scripting an entire store catalog of all of my products that you can simply click the page in the catalog and TP right to the item. I too was affected by the V-Day masacre and now I guess you can say I'm on a roll to try and leave MP in the dust and really focus on in world sales. I'm even starting a reward system that will only apply to in world sales. My in world store is definitely on game and doing really well. I pull a profit each week and pay my tier...I guess I'm just trying to increase sales of course but also to ensure that my in world sales begin to surpass my marketplace sales. I've got a whole game plan (or I guess you could call it a marketing plan) and booths or stalls were just part of it. And I hear ya about sims closing down all the time. They are probably the reason I have done so well actually...unfortunately for them. I've seen a ton of my type of stores leave the grid for one reason or another, and every time I see a big one closeup shop, I seem to get an influx of sales. I've been going for 3 years now and while I did downgrade to a half a sim for a short period of time last year, I've been at a full sim the rest of that time and haven't closed up yet. I guess I'm trying to keep a positive outlook. But I am on board with you for pushing away from the MP....it's a rebellion woohoo!

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Thanks Latch. I'm pretty much doing all of that already and my MP sales have been fairly steady. My focus is now on the in world aspect which is why I brought that up. But I'm glad you brought up hunts. I am a HUGE advocate of hunts. I do them every chance I can. Every time I'm in a big one, my sales for the month for in world goes up greatly. I love them!

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Hi Deja,

Like others already said: focus on your main store.

It was a pretty good strategy in 2007/08 to have a lot of satelite stores along the grid. Though even in those days it was not always easy to find good selling spots, it was a lot trial and error. But it was still possible to find some places where you could make a good profit. Like Porky I also had about 30 profitable satelite shops, but since LL took over the marketplace, I have seen them become unprofitable one by one.

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Mauve Binder wrote:

...There are some great sales groups which consistently bring shoppers and collaborative groups. ....

 

I agree with Mauve about Collaborative groups. They are a great business tool and well worth the time. They bring new and old customers, often not just for the item that you are selling for the group, but they are customers who came to shop and spend, not just look for the freebies. Just remember when joining a collaborative group, that while someone else is coordinationg and promoting it , you also get what you give. Those groups can only succeed if you too spread the word and promote it when you can. It is not a "quick and easy way to make money". Like anything else it takes time and hard work. But it is so worth it when you look at the big picture.

Hope that helps,

Holly

 

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You're right. I remember back in 2008 and even in 2009, I had booths at most of the major clubs and they did at least some sales but my LM was taken all the time so even if I didn't see sales from the booths directly I knew they may have taken a LM to my store and purchased while there.

I do love the idea of all of the shopper groups and even the business groups to bring more business to my store. I actually talked with Mauve in world last night and joined up with her group and I think it is a much better idea than the booths. I'm currently doing the 60L weekend thing and I can tell you just that one shopper group brings me quite a few sales so I think these groups may be the best thing at least for now. It's funny how business trends change of the years too. I write a SL business blog, and things I would have wrote years ago for advice don't even hardly apply anymore. Major changes in doing business.

 

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I always thought it would be a cool idea to create a mall for the regulars who post on the Merchants forum. Not talking about getting a private sim or anything, just doing it on the mainland. Everyone who wanted to be involved could buy one 512 sqm or 1024 sqm plot next to each other, or maybe along a road, then we could all work as a group to build the mall together and customise our own shops. It would be a real mish mash of styles but I think it would look great. There would be no overall estate management , everyone would just look after their own bit and then work as a cooperative to solve problems etc. It would be interesting.

Probably bad timing now, it would have worked allot better in the past, however I think we have enough experience between us to market and promote the mall successfully and generate some decent traffic.

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Ya you'd have to find a place with a bunch of mainland open though. Or someone could go in and buy a ton of it and then sell it off to everyone just to ensure we have the plot. But it's not a bad idea at all. I'd be down. I have a premium membership and don't even own a single piece of mainland.

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Deja Letov wrote:

Marcus that's exactly the reason for my inquiry. I am on a HUGE anti marketplace kick right now. I'm pushing to all my customers that the MP is unreliable and should only be used for search. I am actually in the process right now of custom scripting an entire store catalog of all of my products that you can simply click the page in the catalog and TP right to the item. I too was affected by the V-Day masacre and now I guess you can say I'm on a roll to try and leave MP in the dust and really focus on in world sales. I'm even starting a reward system that will only apply to in world sales. My in world store is definitely on game and doing really well. I pull a profit each week and pay my tier...I guess I'm just trying to increase sales of course but also to ensure that my in world sales begin to surpass my marketplace sales. I've got a whole game plan (or I guess you could call it a marketing plan) and booths or stalls were just part of it. And I hear ya about sims closing down all the time. They are probably the reason I have done so well actually...unfortunately for them. I've seen a ton of my type of stores leave the grid for one reason or another, and every time I see a big one closeup shop, I seem to get an influx of sales. I've been going for 3 years now and while I did downgrade to a half a sim for a short period of time last year, I've been at a full sim the rest of that time and haven't closed up yet. I guess I'm trying to keep a positive outlook.
But I am on board with you for pushing away from the MP....it's a rebellion woohoo!


yep I agree with yours and Marcus's approach to Marketplace....it's what i've been doing too!

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Yep, in 2006-8 was pure Gold!  I had about 50 Mall stores at one point....they alone were making several 100's USD profit per month. My Casino ones were the best......ACE Casino gave me 100 -200 USD clean profit per month, it was awesome....i had another 1/2 dozen or more other stores that were in the 10-25k Linden profit bracket.

 

.

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  • 3 years later...

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/STAGG%20ISLAND/223/48/21    

feel frree to check out the shops i have for rent i  have a raffle board and just put in a photo contest board  i do it for the fun of it and do not plan on closeing any time soon i and this sim is home to the 9/11 memoral and a club called buffalo trace i also hit up all the spam groups and would include your shop in my spam  on both facebook and sl spam groups

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