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Deja Letov

My experiment to leave the Marketplace behind

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I used to read reviews but then realized that I rarely leave reviews. Which means, it probably doesn't represent the mass majority of those who purchase those items. Most of the reviews are going to be from people who had a bad experience. There could be 500 thrilled customers and leave no review, but 2 bad ones will definitely post and then it's pointless. And isn't it especially wonderful when they post a bad review because of non-delivery. LOL

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I like this post.  I like it a lot, in fact.

One thing that's particularly appealing is that it recognizes opportunity in a bad situation. (When Second Life gives you lemons...)

It also has the presence of mind to hedge against Marketplace. (Apologies to Mencken: Nobody ever went broke underestimating the response of the Commerce team. And that goes back through generations of staff changes.)

Earlier today, before I knew this thread existed, I was thinking about converting some of my underutilized Mainland into market stalls sized minimally for search (144sq.m.), individually group-deeded, and rented at or below tier cost, to see if they'd appeal to small scale merchants who previously had no in-world presence at all.  As bad as in-world search may be, at least they wouldn't be completely dead in the water as the bubbles rise from the sunken wreck of Marketplace.

I wonder if there'd be interest.

(Ultimately, by the way, the Lab should have an insurmountable advantage for web-based commerce, but until they wise up and unify Marketplace with in-world contents search, they're going to keep screwing the pooch on this. And nobody ever went broke underestimating....)

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Deja Letov wrote:

Most of the reviews are going to be from people who had a bad experience. There could be 500 thrilled customers and leave no review, but 2 bad ones will definitely post and then it's pointless. And isn't it especially wonderful when they post a bad review because of non-delivery. LOL

This is just so untrue. Most reviews are 5 stars. And this is not only my experience, when I look at other people's  listings I see the same trend. I'm not the only merchant getting at least 90% 5 star reviews. The 1 or 2 star reviews are actually not very common.

And Morgaine makes a valid point about reviews when MP shopping, because It does take away at least some of the risk. When I shopped inworld for clothes I always did it on friends recommendations because It was so easy to buy rubbish.


Deja Letov wrote:

I used to read reviews but then realized that I rarely leave reviews. Which means, it probably doesn't represent the mass majority of those who purchase those items. 

True, the mass majority don't leave reviews.  Merchants value good reviews on their products and that's why as a merchant I always try to leave a review when I buy something and I'm happy with it. I will only leave a review if I consider it  to be a 5 star item, and the trend I see suggests that other customers do too.

 

 

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The horse has bolted, inworld shopping supported inworld communities, renting space to merchants helped communities survive, we've been battered left, right and centre by the marketplace, it's in the viewer, it's the shop link, people are pushed to the marketplace but there are costs to Second Life as a whole, it's too late to stop this.

i don't blame merchants for going the marketplace route, that's the growth area, but it demonstrates a lack of joint up thinking.

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>I don't think leaving a job simply because you disagree with a decision your boss made is a very smart thing to do.

It is one of the smartest things I have done in my life. That and walking away from the factory that was eventually gutted by fire. Getting yourself killed to pay your mortgage is probably not going to work. Hopefully you'll never be faced with a job that is essentially a loaded gun pointed at your head for 8 hours a day or more. If you are, though, hopefully you'll see my point before it's too late. 

The LL ship is sinking.

If people can't get authorization to plug it up and pump it out, then they need to jump. If not onto something suitably buoyant, then straight into the water. Being below decks when she starts to scream will certainly be no better than jumping earlier.

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Josh Susanto wrote:

>
This is just so untrue. Most reviews are 5 stars. 

Most are fake.

Nobody bribes anyone to write less than a 5-star review.

Some truth in this. Not too sure about most. And fake reviews are often easy to spot. There are enough honest customers out there and those reviews often end up looking like this -

'Wow, great product plus I get my money back for leaving this review - 5 stars'

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I don't know how many of you are still following this trend with me or if most have brushed it aside, but I thought I'd give you guys a little update at my progress. Things are still going strong my in-world sales are surpassing my Marketplace sales as intended! In fact, I have two of my stores on the same sim and I may be purchasing another sim soon to separate them so I can market them better and thankfully sales are good enough to do so.

The Marketplace conversion to DD has been good for me so far. No failed deliveries, still getting paid and all that. And to top that off, I haven't made many marketplace sales myself, instead opting to use it as a search tool and go visit the stores in person, and have met some awesome people in the process. I'm also working on some new ideas to merge Marketplace and in world together...not entirely sure how I will do it but I have some ideas I'm working on. But that's only to increase Marketplace sales not to take away from in world sales. The Marketplace has its place, I just need to find the happy medium.

But the best part is, I am converting a large number of my Marketplace shoppers into in-world shoppers and I am freaking loving it! My subscription base is increasing exponentially and sales inworld are great! I posted an example from today on my blog if anyone cares to see some real numbers. http://www.slbusinesstrends.com/sl/index.php/if-you-dont-believe-in-following-up-marketplace-sales/

I went and got all business like and wrote myself up an actual marketing plan as well. Am I going to share that? mmhhh no probably not.  But I will update this thread at a later time to tell you guys the success of my efforts in the marketplace plan once I do them, but I don't want to spoil it by telling anyone anything specific until after I've done them. But some of the ideas I think are fairly unique and once I get them under my belt I don't mind sharing with others. :)

I did modify my thank you notecard to put a short quibble asking them to take time to remember to review their Marketplace products from any merchant they buy from as it helps other customers learn about a products quality, but honestly, I'm not seeing much use in that and will probably take it back out. Just can't seem to get reviews and to be honest, not sure I'm really worried about them at this point.

So is anyone else having any success on bringing their sales back in world?

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Deja, re: your thank you notes, I have a question, please :)

About two years ago I began sending thank you notes to my customers the first time she purchased one of my items. (Actually I sent thank-you IMs since sometimes people don't read notecards from unknown people or if it looks like a store ad.)  Since I'm allergic to numbers and spreadsheets are all "Greek to me," I keep an alphabatized list of customers in wordpad with the purchase date, item/s purchased, and whether it was from the MP or in-world.  Even with a very small shop, this list is now quite lengthy and becoming a bit unwieldy.  Using this "paper & pencil" method works...but I am sure there is a more efficient way of doing this, hopefully one that does not necessitate learning spreadsheet software. 

So, I was interested in how you keep track of the customers to whom you have sent thank-you notes, or do you send one for each purchase regardless if that customer has purchased from you before?

Thanks for any input on this. :)

 

 

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So far I do a quick search in my database to see if they've purchased from me before on the marketplace. Wait, let me take that back...most of the time I do that. Sometimes, if the sale was just really over the top and high...I send it anyway to remind them to come back. But anyway, if they have, then I don't send anything. If they are new then I send. Now, my little software is just something I wrote myself and until now has done everything I need, however, I am in the process of quitting it soon and moving to a system I purchased in SL so I can have an affiliate program and a customer rewards program. It's a painfully slow process however, so it's taking awhile. However, I think what you're doing is kind of on track with a good solution just not the right format. Get out of wordpad because there is no way to do anything with that data you have collected. I know spreadsheets suck but trust me, a quick excel sheet is the answer for you...and you don't need to worry about keeping it all alphabetized yourself. You can sort. You can total things, etc. Honestly, I could send you a quick and dirty spreadsheet that has everything you mentioned in your wordpad, you could open it and know EXACTLY how to use it without learning a damn thing.

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Deja Letov wrote:

...

4. Nobody is going to stop using the Marketplace completely. A shopper finds it much too convenient to locate products via a web browser versus having to hop from parcel to parcel via a teleporting system and then having to walk around the store looking through items to purchase. ...

 

Some of us made a hud that you wear while on your home parcel (makes sure the script will work anywhere except regions with scripts disabled) and you tp to the store of interest and click the hud button and you get a popup to visit the parcel web page. Open that, find the item you want, and go directly to what you seek. If you look at my profile you can see a link to the store page and have a look. (not posting the link here because it could be construed as advertising) I find ctrl-f in the web browser and enter the product name to be quite efficient.

I'll have to see if it still works. If so I can set it back out in my store. I never charged for it.

As for LL's cut? LL makes more off in world stores. The base tier for all land in SL goes to LL. Renters are not avoiding paying LL tier. It just goes through the owner account to get to LL.

As for saving money on in world operations? Each merchant can determine for themselves if they need a Taj Mahal for a store or a simple low poly low prim low lag operation that is easy to get around in to shop. I scaled back a long time ago. My sales are probably 50/50 mp vs in world so people are shopping in that store. And, since all the disasters that began in March 2010 (with the google search appliance train wreck) that lead to the current state of affairs, I am finally getting back to where I need to be. I don't like having to watch the calendar to see if it is time to close up shop and go back to basic.

Also, I simply stopped worrying about SL. Less stress. Less negative nanny attitude.

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Ann Otoole wrote:

As for LL's cut? LL makes more off in world stores. The base tier for all land in SL goes to LL. Renters are not avoiding paying LL tier. It just goes through the owner account to get to LL.


 

Yes anyone with land pays tier to LL and if you are someone deciding on if you should keep your land or not then it's something to consider. But at least in my case, I'm not thinking in terms of a possiblity of land OVER marketplace. I will have a full sim no matter if I make more sales in the Marketplace or in world. If the same tier wil be there in either case, then it would make more sense to have sales take place in world to alleviate paying the 5%. However, the money aspect isn't a strong reason for me to keep sales in world. That's probably really low on the list for me. But I've beat those reasons to death. lol

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Deja Letov wrote:

So far I do a quick search in my database to see if they've purchased from me before on the marketplace. <snip>  Get out of wordpad because there is no way to do anything with that data you have collected. I know spreadsheets suck but trust me, a quick excel sheet is the answer for you...and you don't need to worry about keeping it all alphabetized yourself. You can sort. You can total things, etc. Honestly, I could send you a quick and dirty spreadsheet that has everything you mentioned in your wordpad, you could open it and know EXACTLY how to use it without learning a damn thing.

I just knew I would have to learn spreadsheet software someday...lol.  Thank you for your response, Deja.  I'm assuming the database you look at is the sales listed on the MP or is that your software you mentioned?  The wordpad works atm just for a quick glance to see if someone has purchased from me before and what they purchased, but you're right in that I can't do any calculations.

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Czari Zenovka wrote: I keep an alphabatized list of customers in wordpad with the purchase date, item/s purchased, and whether it was from the MP or in-world.  Even with a very small shop, this list is now quite lengthy and becoming a bit unwieldy.  Using this "paper & pencil" method works...but I am sure there is a more efficient way of doing this, hopefully one that does not necessitate learning spreadsheet software.

 

 

Oh gosh - seriously Czari - use Excel or open office spreadsheet or whatever. Even if you do nothing more than download your monthly transactions and open them in excel to view you will save yourself so much work.

Then it's only one more step to copy each month's sales + your SLM sales to a single file (use a separate tab for each cos the fields are different) and you have all your records in the one place and can do what you want with them.

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Zanara Zenovka wrote:


Czari Zenovka wrote: I keep an alphabatized list of customers in wordpad with the purchase date, item/s purchased, and whether it was from the MP or in-world.  Even with a very small shop, this list is now quite lengthy and becoming a bit unwieldy.  Using this "paper & pencil" method works...but I am sure there is a more efficient way of doing this, hopefully one that does not necessitate learning spreadsheet software.

 

 

Oh gosh - seriously Czari - use Excel or open office spreadsheet or whatever. Even if you do nothing more than download your monthly transactions and open them in excel to view you will save yourself so much work.

Then it's only one more step to copy each month's sales + your SLM sales to a single file (use a separate tab for each cos the fields are different) and you have all your records in the one place and can do what you want with them.

I do download my monthly transactions and keep them as well, which helps me pick up the in-world sales.  Deja has kindly sent some info to me to help get me started.  It's just this mental block I have with spreadsheets (English Lit. major here...lol).   I probably just need to learn to do a couple of things to be able to keep on top of my sales with Xcel or the Open Office version, which looks a bit simpler.

It's combining the downloaded transactions and somehow merging them with the SLM sales that has me baffled.

Well, no time like the present to learn :)

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