Part two: How to market your brand for better sales in Second life.

Part two: Store

The following is just my opinion.  In reality, do what you think is best for your business 

a.       Always start out small especially if this is your first store. 

b.       Keep your goals realistic.  You are not going to get rich.  Very few designers actually make good money but it took them a long time and a lot of hard work to get there.  If you expect to make money, then you need the talent, skills and tons of hard work.  Some designers spend way more than 40 hours a week on their store.  It is a full-time job for some people. Don’t expect to make much money in the first week, month or even 6 months.

c.       Develop a theme and keep that consistent throughout your store and your vendors.

d.       I would recommend buying a small plot on SL mainland to build a store because if you rent a store from somebody; you are at their mercy.  SL landlords are notorious for folding up quickly. One day, you have a store and the next day, all your prims are returned.  Also, by renting, your prims are controlled by them and the landing point may not even be by your store. Sometimes, store owners have a laundry list of rules.  If you buy a land; you can have the tp point anywhere on that plot and the prim usage is usually higher. The down side to this is that you have to pay Second Life a monthly land usage fee.  The larger the plot; the larger the fee. You also have to be a premium member as well.  Something to think about before doing this.

e.       Having a plot of your own land will come up handy in the SL searches later down the road too.

f.        When you set out your vendors, have demos available too.

g.       Demos:  Do not make demos where some sort of wording or prim is blocking the face when the person tries it on.  True Story I was trying on demo hair and my whole face was blocked by some sort of text and prims.  The purpose of trying on demos is to see how it looks on you. If it covers your face, it will defeat the purpose.  I did not end up buying it nor did I try on any other demos from the store and currently, I haven’t been back.  So really think about how you set up your demos.

h.       Pick a store name that’s easy to remember and easy to spell.

i.         With each product vendor, be sure to include the following:  the product, any huds, landmark to the store, and notecard of any store policies – like for returns and such.

j.         If you can even translate notecards into other languages like Spanish, French, German etc. – that would help the customers who don’t speak English.

k.       Naming: With each vendor & product – start with store name and then product name.  True story I come across this a lot in blogging.  I buy something and when it’s unpacked the folder is called “New folder” then the item in the folder is named something like “Flannel shirt.”  There’s no mention of the store.  So, I have to sit there and figure out the name of the store to put in the blog.  Always label your stuff!

l.         Have a group to join for your store. This will help you build a client list.  To encourage people to join, give out a monthly group gift.  Do not charge a high fee to join.

m.     Redelivery is a good thing to have but it can be pricey. So, if you can afford it; get it.  It’s ok to wait on that until some income rolls in.

n.       Have a notecard available and a pick in your profile in regards to how to contact you for any customer concerns.

o.       Always handle customer concerns politely.   True story I had somebody send me a message one time that said “This sucks!1 It does not work!”   There was no information, no details, no nothing.  I responded back with “Hi, I see there is a problem with the item you purchased.  Come talk to me and let’s see if we can get this fixed for you.”   The person came to talk to me and I figured out there was something wrong with the hud.  The person ended up being happy and I managed to fix something I didn’t know was broken.

p.       If you use mesh templates, make sure that you set yourself as the creator or people will send their questions to the wrong person.  (I plan on making a video on how to do this in the near future but if you can’t wait there are some videos on YouTube.)

q.       Put your products on marketplace.  Some people get more sales from marketplace than their actual store.

r.        Ask for feedback on your products.  Get unbiased feedback on your products and figure out where you need to improve. Your friends are probably lovely people but I would ask people outside of your circle.

s.        Get to know some bloggers.  They may be able to feature your products in their pictures/blog and help you get more traffic.  Do not blind transfer to bloggers without asking them first.

t.        Start a Flickr account.  There’s tons of SL designers and bloggers on there.  Join some Flickr groups too.

u.       For traffic purposes, I would recommend a Facebook account for your store too.  There’s other are others like Google +, Plurk and twitter but honestly, they have never bought me traffic.  It might be different for you though.

v.       Events can be great but some events you have to pay them in order to have a booth.  If you don’t make enough sales, you will lose money.   Many events have a waiting list too…other events are crap and there’s no traffic to them.  Choose your event wisely.

w.     The appearance of your store and your vendors can make or break you.  Put a lot of thought into this.  (Read part one of this series)

x.       Test all your products and vendors.  Make sure everything is working correctly.  Have a friend test this too.

y.       Don’t clutter up your store with décor.  You want people to focus on your products not the decorations.

z.        Groups:  This seems popular but I find it really annoying but getting hit with group joiners the moment you land.   Skip the automatic group joiner and just put in a prominent place a sign that allows patrons to join the group.

aa.    On this same note:  Don’t spam your group members with constant notifications.   I have left groups because of notifications every hour.  It was too much. 

bb.   Groups:  I would turn off chatting and limit who can make new notifications. Some designers like chatting on so it’s really up to you.  You will have to monitor it for trolls and the likes.

cc.    If your store is built on your own land then be sure to list it in the SL search. Go to your land tab and there’s an option to list it for 30L a week.   (This is really cheap)

dd.   Again, if you store is on your land – Make sure to fill out the land description with the store name and add keywords! This is helpful in the search.

 

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