I kept this question at the back of my head for a while now. Most of my merchant friends prefer when a client buy inworld instead of online and it is very common to see online listing that invite you to go check inworld for a better deal. Rarely I see it done the other way around.
Why do this? Can someone explain me? Whatever how I put this I only see huge advantages in online sales and very little in inworld sales. Is there something I am missing?
I prefer in world and here is why:
1. The marketplace is not stable. One day you can be at the top of the search engines and then next day, nowhere in the first 5 pages. And nobody can say with 100% certainty how it all works. Once you think you have it figured out, it seems like something changes. So why bother?
2. When people use the Marketplace to search, say something generic like "furniture", you are competing with 100 or more other merchants. If they come in world, especially ones that you have built a loyaly with, they focus on you. They don't have 100 merchants to compare options with. Build a loyalty with your customers, show them you appreciate them and they will always come back to you first...and then if you don't have what they are looking for, they might go elsewhere.
3. I mentioned loyalty in #2. You can't do that if you never meet them in person or at least have them into your store to fall in love with your place. It takes more than just a single good purchase. That's why I always try to invite people into my store after a MP sale.
4. There is too much gaming going on in the MP to make it fair.
5. In world can be easier to find things...if you're store is done right. It's funny I see people say they prefer to use the MP over in world because it's easier to find things. I find the MP to be horrible with the search. Most of the time if I put in a phrase for what I'm searching for it has NOTHING to do with what I'm searching. Why? Because the Marketplace search is not smart. For example if I search for something with 2 words or more, it searches on each of those words individually, rather than as a phrase. That's just dumb and will yield bad results. Make your store easy to navigate. Give them other tools like a complete searchable directory of your items (I'm not talking about the MP) where they can search for items there and TP directly to your store (or MP link if you prefer). Yes it does take work, but the more I can keep them off the Marketplace searching through mine and 100 other merchants items, the better for my pocketbook.
6. Related products? Limited to just 8 in the MP and really...they are tiny pictures and not very noticable. In world? I can put them in a section of my store with TONS of related products all rezzed out and ready to demo. And how about Latest Releases? They will never see my spotlight of new releases if they don't come in world.
As far as it increasing your ranking for purchases, sure it might, for a few days. But as soon as you stop marketing that one item to be bought in world, it drops again. Don't get me wrong I do it when I first release a product, just to get it off the last page and to hopefully get them to leave a review, but the marketing only lasts about a week or two. After that, I want them back in world.
As for me, I use the MP as a secondary sales tool and always will. It's there because if it's not I can't compete with other merchants who do use it. But I don't focus on it. I don't freak out when my products fall in the search, I really don't even monitor that, and I don't do much of anything to trick people into finding my products other than to try and be creative with my keywords and hit lots of categories. I fortunately have put so much focus on my inworld store and building customer loyalty, that I don't need to worry about the MP. I have customers who refuse to go anywhere else and will wait weeks if not months, just for me to make something custom for them because I didn't already carry it, even though a competitor might. Why do you think they do that? Because they found something on the MP? Heck no! It is because they come to my store so often to check out what's new, to explore the sim which has stuff to do (we have 2 sims of exploring areas) and they have gotten to know me...if not personally, then through group chat, notices or my subscriber group. I just wouldn't give any of that up for increasing MP sales.