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Deja Letov

My experiment to leave the Marketplace behind

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Parrish Ashbourne wrote:

I worked really hard to get good inworld search placement, but still 80% of my sales come from the marketplace.  One idea I had that I haven't tried yet is to just sell all demos on the market place and only sell the the full version in world.  The other advantage I find from inworld sales is that customers tend to buy a larger number of items at one time in world at my shop.  The market place doses have a few features I really do like such as extended product descriptions and images.  Ideally I'd like to see the market place be used just for search and then just teleport to an inworld item, or have this as an option.


Parrish...I'm thinking of adding to my product descriptions something along the lines of:

Earn store credit when you buy this item in world at our store: (LM directly to item).

That is of course once I get my rewards system in place.

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here's my way in that direction (though I must admit it won't work for every kind of business)

I sell lots of add ons for my goods, additional music for the instruments, but I don't sell it on MP, ppl have to come to my inworld store to get those. And they come, many customers that found and bought my goods on MP show up later in my store to look for those additional stuff. This way I sell more in my inworld store then I do on MP.

 

I'd wish that vendor companys offered a function to give increasing discount for returning customers, the more they buy, the better the discount...

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Sweet Valentine wrote:

I do love the idea of this back to shopping in World but with broken search and broken classifieds... it makes it difficult

and the increased use of scripts to make popup notes and announcements and group join and the lag makes it just an annoying experience most times for me

I agree. Perhaps we as merchants should should start paying attention to more comments like this and take them out. I'm definitely guilty of a LM given out but only the first time you visit my place. But I think I may remove it completely and just put a LM giver box on a table at my entrance.

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Mikki Miles wrote:

I'd wish that vendor companys offered a function to give increasing discount for returning customers, the more they buy, the better the discount...


Actually they do. I wanna say it's the Casper system. If I remember right you can set tier levels for discounts. So if a customer is new they can get like 10% off. If they have spent between 3000-5000L then maybe they get 20%, if they spend over 5000L then maybe 30%. I'm pretty sure it's casper that does this.

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Deja Letov wrote


Parrish...I'm thinking of adding to my product descriptions something along the lines of:

Earn store credit when you buy this item in world at our store: (LM directly to item).

That is of course once I get my rewards system in place.



 

That is actually a good idea. Give the residents store credit of what you would have had to pay in commission on MP. Or tripple. making it sound good lol

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Deja Letov wrote:

 

On top of increased inworld sales on my customers end and decreated Marketplace sales on my end, I have met some really awesome people! I have had more of my customers add me to their friends list in the last 2 weeks than I have in the last year. And more and more people are coming back. It's funny because I put the invite out there to stop by just to say hi, and THEY DO. I have people who have just come back to my store to hang out and chat with me. 

 

Great post!  I just picked out this little tidbit to say, this is especially great :)  

adding my own thoughts:

I think people like hunts so much because they find new places that they wouldn't have otherwise, and it is a totally inworld experience.  Even if you don't make any sales from most hunters, what matters is that they had the experience of being in your store to see if they liked the feel of it, and often people do pop onto the mailing list because they like the first few things they see, or remember your store when someone they know says, "oh i need such and such, where should i go?" 

It seems that what you are really getting at is: Merchants need to work harder on promoting and maintaining their inworld presences. I agree!  Marketplace has always been a secondary thing for me and more of an advertisement for my inworld store.  But you cannot deny that the more people buy things from Marketplace, the better visibility you have there, which in turn increases the chances of people coming to your inworld store.  I do like the idea of using marketplace for demos and encouraging people to come inworld to get the real thing.  Of course you have to make sure your store is organized well and your SLURL leads directly to the product being offered.

I think it's very hard to organize a store, especially if you have a lot of items, and so that's why people tend to do a lot of shopping/viewing on the Marketplace.  It's faster, easier, and images take so much less time to load (that's a big one for me). All the information is right there.  So, maybe we could also take a few cues from marketplace and make sure our product displays are as clear as possible inworld with perms/prices etc very obvious for the customer to see.  I know a lot of merchants already strive for this, but we have all been to stores where things just aren't very clear and you have to do some digging just to find out if something is modifiable, or what not.

Really enjoying all the comments and viewpoints here, thanks so much for starting this thread and word vomiting on us! ;)

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Dartagan Shepherd wrote:

 

The best strategy for being a merchant in SL is something I posted way back in on SLX roughly 4 years ago. Supplement your income with other things and don't ever neglect your RL, your contacts, your family and friends and don't burn any bridges.

Even WoW will tell you not to neglect your first life (although their disclaimer relates to their responsibility with minors) in their tips of the day at the login screen (although this applies in SL to not only life but personal income).


I couldn't agree more re: RL.  I just began playing WoW for the first time in December (I was a diehard EQ gamer...lol) and the first time I saw that statement by WoW on login I was like...that is amazing and wonderful!!!!

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Dora Gustafson wrote:

A agree a 100 percent and I never disagreed, let us bring back the trade inworld.

I never understood why anyone would buy an animation, a skin or a house without seeing it or testing it first, like we do inworld

What I have found interesting is a sale I will get on the MP and the customer shows up on my shop visitor's list so they apparently came into the shop to check out the item, but then purchased it on the MP.  I know the MP is convenient for many people to shop when they can't be in-world, or if they are lagging, etc., but I wonder what the psychology is of coming to the store, then purchasing on the MP.  The only thing I can think of is they want to see it (agree totally with you, Dora) and maybe think about it before purchase.

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I agree, as for myself i am 100% believer in inworld shopping, warts and all, it's a shame the mainland is so laggy,.

I have a homestead and offer my customers a lag free shop to browse in

I remember posting long ago as a few others did who forsaw the effects of MP on inworld shopping.( as one person called it "LL s dirty little secret")

Might as well call it like it is, a total taxation on our sales.

Inworld LL cannot get any cut of any of our sales, i have no idea how much they make off MP but there are thousands of sales going on there and at 5% a sale (and enhancements) i'm sure they make a lot,whether it makes up for the land lost to those who decide not to have an inworld shop but have a free shop on MP, i don't know

i put all my time into my inworld shop, yes i am on MP but i don't get much from it,i refuse to pay enhancements, the times i did, it did'nt help me one bit., 95% of my income comes from inworld sales.

Inworld i am in a fairly good position in search,i never used to be,i could never find my shop but after taking out classifieds a couple of times and paying more than i got back, i suddenly appeared in search and have been there ever since.

I have tried those tools you can get to improve your search position but they did 'nt help, taking out the classifed seemed to do the trick,

But in the end we are all to blame,as long as we all list on MP it will take away inworld shoppers so we have no one but ourselves to blame.

When i have the oportunity to get an MP customer into my shop for offers i have, i mention about LL "taxing" every sale, they are surprised by that and say they will come inworld to my shop and buy direct.( i do not solicit then to do that, i mention about LL charging 5% and it is their offer)

As for me i have always been against MP, it is just an LL tool to get more money from us, if that is not true then why do they "tax" every sale, no, MP is just a way to control commerce and why LL puts all their efforts into MP (even though it works like crap)

I remember when i first came on SL 5 years ago,all i did was shop, i spent so much time shopping, flittering around buying furniture,clothes, horses,boats, i had a lovely time.that is what SL is, a 3d world, now they go on a website and to me that takes away the experience of what secondlife is.

 

 

 

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Whether the Marketplace affects anything inworld is debatable. We've had marketplace websites since I started. Sure, they didn't get as much exposure, but if you were more than a couple weeks old, you knew about Xstreet. I have always contended that the loss of inworld shoppers is specifically due to the inworld search engine which has been completely messed up for almost exactly 2 years now.

All the time I was on the Xstreet Marketplace, never once was there any MAJOR problem. On the new Marketplace there have been many. Even in the best scenerios, It's not likely that the new markeplace will ever be as good as Xstreet was. The incentives are just not there to produce such a thing.

Now, I would agree that the loss of inworld shopping is a major issue. The problem is, we have little control over this as most traffic is going to be pushed around by the inworld search engine or the Destination Guide. What we can do is make a conscious effort to make our inworlds stores not just a place to shop at, but also to play and meet people.

What merchants can also do, is create an affiliate program. A couple of years ago, my affiliates were producing 10% of my profits. A year ago, I had some issues with the affiliate system, and this seriously hurt me, on top of all the other problems going on. I refocused my efforts there and recently, I'm seeing a serious surge in affiliates. Of course, there is always more work to be done there. At last glance, my affiliate were up to 15% of my profits, and I hope to grow this more.

Oh, and, I have always created all my items just outside my store entrance. This was a conscious decision to allow my customers to chat with me, and to watch as I create things. Much like Deja, I spent almost all my time in SL creating, so doing it right there for any1 to sit with me is a good thing for me and my customers. It is tough to keep a fast paced workflow with customers constantly chatting with me, but I'm used to it now.

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This really requires a long article but I have neither time nor strength to write one so I'll just list points without much elaboration; who knows, maybe someone would expand on it.

1. SL products regardless how they are bought are utterly worthless unless used in-world. They cannot be used anywhere else. So if ppl buy them it means these products enrich their SL experiences. I somewhat doubt that these experiences consist mainly of in-world shopping. One does not need to buy in one store in order to go to another store to buy more. For as long as the above is true no Marketplace is going to kill SL or even diminish it.

2. People vote with their feet (or in our case mouseclicks). The Marketplace gained popularity because shopping there is uncomparably more convenient than shopping in-world. To mention just one thing, people can shop while not having in-world access <from work? :)> and then use their in-world time for other activities, those they came to SL for in the first place.

3. Merchants feel bad about the Marketplace because they have no control over it - everything is done by the Lab. It is however true in-world as well. The latest example would be an ill-conceived attempt (fortunately appearing aborted) to modify LSL in a way that would basically render useless all in-world "user on-line" indicators. Yet in-world there is an appearance that users have free will outside the Lab control.

4. The Marketplace problem is not so much in poor software but in the commerce team's failure to create the same appearance of free will that exists in-world.

 

 

 

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Actually they do. I wanna say it's the Casper system. If I remember right you can set tier levels for discounts. So if a customer is new they can get like 10% off. If they have spent between 3000-5000L then maybe they get 20%, if they spend over 5000L then maybe 30%. I'm pretty sure it's casper that does this.

 

My vending system/sales server has a discount option. But notautomaticly like that - i can currently give out discount cards/coupons.

However, my vendor system is not for sale (yet).

Discounts ARE a good way to keep customers to come back to your store.

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 As for myself i dis agree that if one was 2 weeks old they knew about xstreet,i never ever used xstreet in all the years i have been on SL and i don't think xstreet was in anyway as popular as MP is today, LL promotes MP to new users and it becomes their place to shop, so right away they are indoctrinated into MP.

Yes many new users in awe of all that is Sl will shop inworld but i would guess that eventually they would start using MP because it easier to use than going from shop to shop inworld and waiting for things to rez.

 

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Sera Lok wrote:


Deja Letov wrote:

 

On top of increased inworld sales on my customers end and decreated Marketplace sales on my end, I have met some really awesome people! I have had more of my customers add me to their friends list in the last 2 weeks than I have in the last year. And more and more people are coming back. It's funny because I put the invite out there to stop by just to say hi, and THEY DO. I have people who have just come back to my store to hang out and chat with me. 

 

Great post!  I just picked out this little tidbit to say, this is especially great
:)
  

adding my own thoughts:

I think people like hunts so much because they find new places that they wouldn't have otherwise, and it is a totally inworld experience.  Even if you don't make any sales from most hunters, what matters is that they had the experience of being in your store to see if they liked the feel of it, and often people do pop onto the mailing list because they like the first few things they see, or remember your store when someone they know says, "oh i need such and such, where should i go?" 

It seems that what you are really getting at is: Merchants need to work harder on promoting and maintaining their inworld presences. I agree!  Marketplace has always been a secondary thing for me and more of an advertisement for my inworld store.  But you cannot deny that the more people buy things from Marketplace, the better visibility you have there, which in turn increases the chances of people coming to your inworld store.  I do like the idea of using marketplace for demos and encouraging people to come inworld to get the real thing.  Of course you have to make sure your store is organized well and your SLURL leads directly to the product being offered.

I think it's very hard to organize a store, especially if you have a lot of items, and so that's why people tend to do a lot of shopping/viewing on the Marketplace.  It's faster, easier, and images take so much less time to load (that's a big one for me). All the information is right there.  So, maybe we could also take a few cues from marketplace and make sure our product displays are as clear as possible inworld with perms/prices etc very obvious for the customer to see.  I know a lot of merchants already strive for this, but we have all been to stores where things just aren't very clear and you have to do some digging just to find out if something is modifiable, or what not.

Really enjoying all the comments and viewpoints here, thanks so much for starting this thread and word vomiting on us!
;)

 

I love this Sera! I'd love to see maybe some suggestions that everyone could contribute to that would make our in world stores better and easier to use for our customers. Perhaps some die hard shoppers could even chime in. I wrote a post about this a long time ago I may have to dig it up that had some of my own suggestions, I will see if I can find it and repost it here.

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Czari Zenovka wrote:


Dartagan Shepherd wrote:

 

The best strategy for being a merchant in SL is something I posted way back in on SLX roughly 4 years ago. Supplement your income with other things and don't ever neglect your RL, your contacts, your family and friends and don't burn any bridges.

Even WoW will tell you not to neglect your first life (although their disclaimer relates to their responsibility with minors) in their tips of the day at the login screen (although this applies in SL to not only life but personal income).


I couldn't agree more re: RL.  I just began playing WoW for the first time in December (I was a diehard EQ gamer...lol) and the first time I saw that statement by WoW on login I was like...that is amazing and wonderful!!!!

I remember when I saw that on my loading screen for wow...I thought, mhhh they actually want me to stop playing for a bit. LOL   In reality, I have a very healthy real life. I don't get on SL as much as I would like simply because of my RL. I'm a mom and a wife plus have a very stressful job as senior developer for my company, which is funny because my background is actually in marketing (go figure). I've also got 2 dogs that demand my every waking moment ;)  Real life is way more important than SL...SL is just my creative outlet.

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Czari Zenovka wrote:


Dora Gustafson wrote:

A agree a 100 percent and I never disagreed, let us bring back the trade inworld.

I never understood why anyone would buy an animation, a skin or a house without seeing it or testing it first, like we do inworld

What I have found interesting is a sale I will get on the MP and the customer shows up on my shop visitor's list so they apparently came into the shop to check out the item, but then purchased it on the MP.  I know the MP is convenient for many people to shop when they can't be in-world, or if they are lagging, etc., but I wonder what the psychology is of coming to the store, then purchasing on the MP.  The only thing I can think of is they want to see it (agree totally with you, Dora) and maybe think about it before purchase.

I've asked this question of my customers and it's ironic but I was told by a few that they thought as merchants we would prefer it. They were being nice and said they knew the search on the marketplace was ranked by sales and said they were trying to help.

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nikita Jefferson wrote:

i put all my time into my inworld shop, yes i am on MP but i don't get much from it,i refuse to pay enhancements, the times i did, it did'nt help me one bit., 95% of my income comes from inworld sales.

But in the end we are all to blame,as long as we all list on MP it will take away inworld shoppers so we have no one but ourselves to blame.

 

Nikita...I think I love you! Your post is exactly what I'm trying to say. And wow 95% of your income is in world. Will you have my baby?  ;)

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

Now, I would agree that the loss of inworld shopping is a major issue. The problem is, we have little control over this as most traffic is going to be pushed around by the inworld search engine or the Destination Guide. What we can do is make a conscious effort to make our inworlds stores not just a place to shop at, but also to play and meet people.

 

^^^^^^^^^

THIS

Oh and Medhue, I love the idea of an affiliate program. Do you personally think it can benefit any type of business or is there a specific industry or type it would fit better? I wonder for a furniture maker like myself how good it would do.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

 

Oh, and, I have always created all my items just outside my store entrance. This was a conscious decision to allow my customers to chat with me, and to watch as I create things. Much like Deja, I spent almost all my time in SL creating, so doing it right there for any1 to sit with me is a good thing for me and my customers. It is tough to keep a fast paced workflow with customers constantly chatting with me, but I'm used to it now.

This is cool :)  

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Ela Talaj wrote:

This really requires a long article but I have neither time nor strength to write one so I'll just list points without much elaboration; who knows, maybe someone would expand on it.

1. SL products regardless how they are bought are utterly worthless unless used in-world. They cannot be used anywhere else. So if ppl buy them it means these products enrich their SL experiences. I somewhat doubt that these experiences consist mainly of in-world shopping. One does not need to buy in one store in order to go to another store to buy more. For as long as the above is true no Marketplace is going to kill SL or even diminish it.

>>>This point I have to disagree on. Part of the attraction of SL is hopping around and visiting all t he different places of the world, or at least it used to. It's not only about shopping, it's also about the life of Second Life and keeping it entertaining so people stick around. To say that it hasn't even diminished it, I think is quite a bit off base, I see it already has, from a merchant's standpoint.

2. People vote with their feet (or in our case mouseclicks). The Marketplace gained popularity because shopping there is uncomparably more convenient than shopping in-world. To mention just one thing, people can shop while not having in-world access <from work?
:)
> and then use their in-world time for other activities, those they came to SL for in the first place.

>>>>Absolutely agree! People do find it convenient but it's killing business for a lot of merchants as well. Do shoppers care about that? Maybe not. I do. I don't want to see yet another business closure in world, because they couldn't pay their tier, and why should they when they can just have an online store. One less sim as a shop means one less place to explore. They will continue to vote with their feet, but there is nothing say we can't try to get those feet moving in our direction. :)

3. Merchants feel bad about the Marketplace because they have no control over it - everything is done by the Lab. It is however true in-world as well. The latest example would be an ill-conceived attempt (fortunately appearing aborted) to modify LSL in a way that would basically render useless all in-world "user on-line" indicators. Yet in-world there is an appearance that users have free will outside the Lab control.

>>>>I don't think Merchants feel bad because they have no control over the Marketplace. I don't. I have feel bad because it's broken, i feel bad because they don't deliver products to everyone consistently, because people make sales and get told plain as day they aren't going to ever see that money and because I keep being told to wait and it will be back online shortly ;)  .  What people are saying is that they do in fact have free will outside lab control with an in world store in the way of profits. They aren't skimming off the top of our sales in world. Online indicators, sure it would suck but it's not really a merchant comparison and doesn't affect our sales.

4. The Marketplace problem is not so much in poor software but in the commerce team's failure to create the same appearance of free will that exists in-world.

<<<<Well, I do agree with you to a point. They definitely do not create the same sense of free will that exists in world. Because they charge a fee, that right there takes that away. However...the first part of your statement saying that the problem with the marketplace is not so much poor software...sorry...no...it's poor software...poor coding...poor QA...poor implementation....poor handling altogether. I'm a developer in real life and had I ever put out code that was THIS bad, I would have been fired.

 

 

 


 

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By the way if anyone wants to read the long boring blog post I made about this originally, send me an IM in world and Ill send you the link, I don't want anyone thinking I'm spamming my blog. It's just a bit more indepth on why i feel that way I do.

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@Deja - Well, consider this. I make animation, mostly AOs. Most of the affiliates only have the affiliate product signs, and yet they still get sales. I would think that because atleast half of the features of furniture is visual, you'd get more sales than an animator.

@Sera - Thanks! It should also be noted that most of my actual work does take place offline, but I always keep an alt online to assist with customers. If I'm working on a whole AO, depending on how complex it is, I could be creating mocaps for days and days, and usually weeks. Despite this, my main account is online, atleast a few hours a day, for various reasons. Now, with mesh, I'm creating even more offline, so my Medhue Resident alt is getting alot of SL face time, lol.

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I think trying to focus in-world is probably going to be a waste of all of your time.

Since it's clear that no one can ever get fired for anything under Rodvik, it's sort of inevitable that when the marketplace finally gets shut down, the same people who made that happen will just be given more toys to break in other parts of the system.

In fact, they'll probably be sent directly to positions where they can also make it necessary to eventually shut down all in-world commerce. 

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Deja Letov wrote:

By the way if anyone wants to read the long boring blog post I made about this originally, send me an IM in world and Ill send you the link, I don't want anyone thinking I'm spamming my blog. It's just a bit more indepth on why i feel that way I do.

If it's related to this discussion I don't see why you shouldn't post the direct link to that post here, but I understand your concern.. I'd love to read it.  (as time permits, sadly there is not enough time to read everything i want to today, there is RL too!)

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Josh, I would not be so hard on the Lindens. They are employees, and I'm sure, they are told what to do. They don't get to make decisions on their own. You, I, and almost every1 else here, are not in the same boat. We can make or change our decisions on a dime.

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