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My sales are drying up


jamie Cheeky
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No idea why but after a major revamp of my store (it was kinda dormont for 3 years) my sales have started to fade - ive been creating new stock like a fool keeping prices low and hardly selling a thing - messing with the land description has probably not helped but man its getting to the point that I'm finally going to say Im beat after 5 years of having the store :(

can any one give me some clues as to what im doing wrong? or any hints please would be gratefully appreciated!

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I think it is the current economic climate, I have noticed that the things I sell for lindens have slowed, I to have created a new range of game parts but have not put them on market place yet, I don't bother with land shop, I just have a test arena to try the fighting dummies in, sales of free items has increased, quite a few every day, so my pages are getting exposure, maybe you need a lose leader.

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Hi Jamie !

I glanced at your market place store to get a feel for your work..love the lower prim beds (9prims), some of the other furniture seems a bit primtastic for my tastes...as a landlord Im always on the look out for quality low prim gear, as are many renters...

Have you tried any of the weekly or monthly events to get your brand out there? (Like grenade free weds, TOSL,etc etc)

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jamie Cheeky wrote:

No idea why but after a major revamp of my store (it was kinda dormont for 3 years) my sales have started to fade - ive been creating new stock like a fool keeping prices low and hardly selling a thing - messing with the land description has probably not helped but man its getting to the point that I'm finally going to say Im beat after 5 years of having the store
:(

can any one give me some clues as to what im doing wrong? or any hints please would be gratefully appreciated!

To help identify what the root cause to your inworld sales issue could be, a critical input is some kind of historical sales trend yo ucould build up from your past sales records (if you keep transaction details which I would think after being in business in SL for 5 years you likely have lots).

If you could graph you sales inworld over the past 3 months as weel as over the past 18 months....

 

  • Did you notice a similar sales slump last year around the same time (even if not as severe)?
  • Did you notice on your daily / weekly sales volumes a normal predictable sales level and then a major shift in these daily/weekly sales volumes on a specific day or week?
  • If you did notice a significant change - I likely know the answer but - did your sales volumes stay at this new level or has it been fluctuating?

If you did... lets say it was on January 15th.... this gives you a time range to think back if there was something you did on that date.  Chances are if you did (like you said maybe that was the day you adjusted the land description or stopped a long standing promotion or....) then it could be the root cause to the issue.

If nothing yo ucan think you did then what possible things did LL do around that date?

Hope that helps.

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I think it may also have to do with newer (or refurbished) in world stores versus the established ones.  I put in an in world store simply because I wanted to have one.  I haven't yet sold one thing from there - all my sales come from marketplace.  Even when people come to see the products, they still complete the purchase through Marketplace.  I know this because i have been IM'd and asked where they can go and actually see an item and then later on I get the transaction notification that it was purchased on MP.

I think I can attribute this to a few things.  One is LL's heavy promotion of MP and the second is that in world search seems to be an even bigger mess than MP search is (and it's a lot faster to click through the MP pages than it is to TP from place to place trying to find what you want to buy.)

There have been a lot of complaints about LL's promotion of MP, but I suspect that will not stop.  LL takes 5% on all linden dollar purchases and a higher percentage of paypal and credit card purchases.  Yet for in-world locations, they receive tier payments regardless of whether the land is residential or commercial.  

Just my 2 cents (L$5)

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I visited your store.  I did not closely examine everything, but just picked a few at random.  I don't think I can answer your question, but I can tell you a few things that could be improved.  The first, and most important, is that I would be much more likely to buy something if you either had a LOT more choices of colors and patterns of fabrics or had scripts that allowed the owner to change fabric texture, as some furniture makers do.  It took several tries to get the scripts in the Paige living room suite to work, and I never could get the lamp to work.  It was a minor irritant the notecard giver for the Paige sex bed gave me a copy of the hovertext script, so that I had to delete one more useless inventory item.  I think that is just a mistake, since other notecard givers didn't do it.  

When shopping for furniture, I'm usually either looking for a suite for a room and don't know exactly what I want, in which case I want to see a large variety, or I'm looking for something quite specific in terms of style, material, color, size, etc., in which case I want to see several suitable things to choose from, and want to buy a single pieces, not a whole suite.  Like everyone else, I would like to find what I want without speeding hours looking.  In the first instance, I want to see a big variety.  In the second instance, I want to see several similar items.  So, I think you might be better to either expand your inventory a lot, or to specialize in some particular style.  Just my $0.02.  

Your store was not laggy, which is a big plus for me.  I also like the way your menus worked, poping up when I sat

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I think it has been answered already by several but one thing is competition.

Furniture has to have some compelling reasons to buy and i'd say it's not up to date.

71 prims for a lounge set versus a 1 prim set that I can buy off MP.

You're immediately limiting your market. That's a lot of prims required.

Same for the dining set, 51 prims for afternoon tea.  I'm not sure if that also included the table and chairs but try doing it in sculpts or mesh.  Mesh even attracts the meshophiles regardless of land impact but do it right and it will be favourable.

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Gadgets that provide unique traffic count for the Store are equally important...in fact if one can chart it for good length of time, it provides better info about trends, the effects of lack of marketing, falling down the Search ladder, climbing up it, seasonal, the effect of certian promotion and sales, the impact of a single Event compared to daily average Store visitors etc etc

 

We know the root cause of decline of inworld traffic and thus sales......it's Marketplace!

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Ilyra Chardin wrote:

 

There have been a lot of complaints about LL's promotion of MP,
but I suspect that will not stop.
 LL takes 5% on all linden dollar purchases and a higher percentage of paypal and credit card purchases.  Yet for in-world locations, they receive tier payments regardless of whether the land is residential or commercial.  

Just my 2 cents (L$5)

Oh it will stop ...it will have to. 

LL have lost 1000 Private Estate sims since 1st Jan......if it carries on at that rate, the company will be in the "red" before the year is out. Losing Land Tiers for extra MP commissions does not stack up ...it's just a matter of time before they crunch the numbers and realise that.

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If you ask me, it has to do with how things have changed. I like many things than Rod and the LL team are doing these days, but the 1 thing they have not been able to figure out, is why they are losing land customers.

From my perspective, WHY is the easiest part to figure out. WHY is in the statistics. What specific stats is key tho, and how to read into them. Again, this is my perspective. Years ago, I personally never HAD to do any marketing. I did some, cause I had the money to throw around. The search did most of the work. In my own customer surveys, which was a decent size of about 500, 70% said they found my store through the search, and 35% of that 70% used only the word ANIMATION. Nowadays, I gaurantee few are finding me through the search.

Overall, I think we've seen a huge refocus of SL, not just Search. Again, years ago, all the focus was on the merchant. Yeah, land too, but we, the merchants had numerous free areas to market our products. Well, every1 had tons of free places to market items. Some of us used the numerous forums. LL has systematically removed all signs of any commerce or marketing, outside of strictly the Marketplace. They even removed that pityful New Products feed.

Oh, I still remember the days of that Xstreet forum ticker thing. It was kind of like watching todays twitter feeds. It was fun glancing over at them and catching a hot conversation, or whatever.

Look around today. The focus is totally different, and definitely a conscious 1. The focus is on LAND, hence the DESTINATION GUIDE. Ok, in LL's eyes, this might be a fantastic refocus. The problem is, IMHO, they didn't factor in that the whole system was set up on the money that most of those merchants made.

LL put way too much focus on this statistic that only a small fraction of the merchant community made enough to mean anything. Judging by the last know statistics of this, it was obviously true that there were only around a few thousand people that made even spending money. The flaw tho, is that every1 else that only made a few dollars here and there, was all going back into the community. The vast majority of the community was selling items to earn a little to pay for their SL.

So, if LL is directing people to go only to places that have lots of other people, they aren't being directed to any normal stores, which are lucky to have 3 people in them. Newbies used to be the most common customers in my store. Now, they are given most of what they need to start and dumped directly into a hotspot, or directed to 1.

Personally, I have no hope for search ever being relevant again. The profile feed looks to be the only promising marketing tool for now. More and more people are definitely going to be using it. It is better than Group notices and can be promoted to Trending, for all to see. Right now, there is just a small group of people that dominate the trending feed. Personally, I love the new Profiles. I didn't anticipate liking them. When you think about it tho, your SL friends are usually a prejection of what you do in SL. So, if you are a socialite, then your feed is about that. If you are a merchant, than most of your friends are customers and your posts are products.

LL needs to open things back up. Stop choking the merchants by trying to squeeze ad money out of us. LL should be happy that we can market ourselves for free, just to help them market SL. They could start by opening a single forum category for Marketing, or Announcements.

 

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That is quite an impressive analysis, Medhue.  Really gives me a lot to mull over, like this:

"The flaw tho, is that every1 else that only made a few dollars here and there, was all going back into the community. The vast majority of the community was selling items to earn a little to pay for their SL.

So, if LL is directing people to go only to places that have lots of other people, they aren't being directed to any normal stores, which are lucky to have 3 people in them. Newbies used to be the most common customers in my store. Now, they are given most of what they need to start and dumped directly into a hotspot, or directed to 1."

Creators have made Second Life. There is no Second Life without people to provide a continuous stream of novel and constantly improving quality.  And it is not easy to do that, I promise you.  We do it without much help.  On Xstreet we had a functional search -- yes, it was gamed, no way to eliminate that -- but when Xstreet closed down I had several house on p.1 for residential structures, and I don't even bother checking the Marketplace, because I am buried.  My sales are based on word of mouth, people seeing my stuff inworld, and my customer group promotions -- all LL has done is integrate the marketplace with SL, which has increased my marketplace sales but not my overall total. It is no benefit to me to sell more on MP if my overall total remains the same.

 

What concerns me most is that LL is cutting its own throat -- yes, land pays the bills, but does LL not know that inworld stores pay for that land, and that the money comes from sales.  LL ought to be falling over itself facilitating sales and giving merchants the tools that we need instead of taking them away.

For crying out loud.  I don't want to have to go sell stuff on Renderosity because LL killed Second Life.


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Thanks Pam!

I'd be happy if they just added some merchant categories to the Destination Guide. Many of us are in it, but those sections are not promoted. The D Guide inside the viewer doesn't show any merchants at all, or any relevant categories that any of us would be in. LL should, at least have the major merchant categories. Maybe like, Apparel, Home & Furnishings, Animations, Pets, and so on. Heck, even in the Destination guide on the web, animation is tucked under fashion. I have no clue what animation has to do with fashion. If anything, the category should be Avatars, not fashion.

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What is also interesting to me, about the Destination Guide and the type of places they are marketing, is that none of those places have a business plan. Despite driving thousands of people to these places, those places have no way to fund the region. So, LL is promoting places that would be here anyways, and likely still get lots of traffic, irreguardless of the promotion or not. From a business standpoint, LL should be directing people to places to spend their money, which inturn eventually pays for land.

You can bet that if I was still making what I did in 2009, before all LL's changes, I'd own a couple more sims.

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Pamela Galli wrote:

 

 

What concerns me most is that LL is cutting its own throat --
yes, land pays the bills, but does LL not know that inworld stores pay for that land
, and that the money comes from sales.  LL ought to be falling over itself facilitating sales and giving merchants the tools that we need instead of taking them away.

For crying out loud.  I don't want to have to go sell stuff on Renderosity because LL killed Second Life
.


That's what I have been saying all along....the increased Commissions that Linden Lab earn from their new shiney Marketplace venue.. in no way compensates for the lost of tier income from all those Sims being handed back in the last year. The Maths just doesn't stack up.....not even close!!

Dartagan provided a rough estimate of the likely commissions earned based on total MP sales in 3rd Quarter 2011..it was around 80k usd per month, excluding Enhancement fees and purchases paid via Paypal. (so maybe 100k max per mth)

The closing down of shops or Merchants giving up their land, has a knock on effect on other parts of the SL Community.....for instance a lot of Clubs rely on vendor rentals, shopping Malls, as do Roleplaying sims with their Markets, as do Gaming sims and Adult venues. Those type of venues rely on Merchant rental income to pay part of their Tiers. Even large Estate Barons suffer with their Mixed zone or Commerical sims.

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I don't have a problem with promoting Marketplace per se. It's just that for me it has been revenue neutral - it has not affected overall sales, just shifted them. Now, I suppose it does mean a little less money in my pocket because my tier does not change but the MP commission does increase a bit, plus I spend a lot on enhancements. If my overall sales went down, then I suppose I would need to cut back on expenses, which eventually might result in selling a sim.

 

However I agree that overall, LL's strategy seems to be to discourage inworld shopping by ruining search, and I must be missing something because I can't see how it benefits them.  I really want LL and SL to be around a long time.

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Scenario 1 - Take a content creator like you or me Pamela, with say one full sim (I know we both have more).

Scenario 2 - Compare that to say 30 or 40 creators living in Linden homes and paying premium tier  to LL.

The people in Scenario 1 are sucking money out of the game each month (LL is sending us a paycheck) while Scenario 2 people never take money from the game.

     ........LL wants the Scenario 2 people.

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Pamela Galli wrote:

I don't have a problem with promoting Marketplace per se. It's just that for me it has been revenue neutral - it has not affected overall sales, just shifted them. Now, I suppose it does mean a little less money in my pocket because my tier does not change but the MP commission does increase a bit, plus I spend a lot on enhancements. If my overall sales went down, then I suppose I would need to cut back on expenses, which eventually might result in selling a sim.

 However I agree that overall, LL's strategy seems to be to discourage inworld shopping by ruining search, and I must be missing something because I can't see how it benefits them.  I really want LL and SL to be around a long time.

 

I'll lay money,  that if you had a "Marketplace only" business right now....it would not generate the same kinds of Income,   when your In-world store (and general In-world commerce) was flourishing. The reason being you can control the marketing of your in-world Store (or sims) in SL....whereas you're very limited in Marketplace apart from paying for listing enhancements.

IN MP, your products are placed in a very large pot and spewed out in the order the MP Search engine decides on. In-world there are so many different marketing mechanisms which could direct traffic to your Sims (well historically that was the case), that you don't have to worry about competition or even the In-world Search Engine.

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Luna Bliss wrote:

Scenario 1 - Take a content creator like you or me Pamela, with say one full sim (I know we both have more).

Scenario 2 - Compare that to say 30 or 40 creators living in Linden homes and paying premium tier  to LL.

The people in Scenario 1 are sucking money out of the game each month (LL is sending us a paycheck) while Scenario 2 people never take money from the game.

     ........LL wants the Scenario 2 people.

Wait, I thought LL's income stream was only from US dollars paid TO LL - so tier, premiums, island purchases etc. 

I thought I had read that any payments to LL in lindens (ie group fees, uploads, classifieds, comission and enhancements on market etc) were not actual income to LL but rather a "sink" of lindens - not a source of cash revenue.

Of course I could be wrong 'cause what do I know about economics?

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