It Was Mall Maddness!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's now several weeks after setting up a second satellite mall location in Amat next to a popular Rave club, and it's time to examine the results.

Well, that didn't take long – THERE ARE NO RESULTS! That's not quite right, there are ALMOST no sales whatsoever.

How can this be? The shop is located right next to what I thought would be a prime location.

What do I mean by “a prime location”? Here was my thinking beforehand:

  • Heavy Traffic, generated by the club owners, who in this case seem to do an amazing job at organizing DJs, events, etc. There are always lots of people in the club
  • Location immediately beside the club. If you step out the door of the club, you cannot possibly avoid seeing the store
  • Right kind of Traffic. The club-goers are not only Ravers, a genre for whom I have specifically built many products, but quite a few of these specific people are already my customers and “rave” about my products
This should be a no brainer, right?

Wrong. My traffic counter indicates I am getting about 0.5 visits per day, which is many, many times less than my main shop's traffic. As a result, there are few sales.

So what went wrong? All the facts seemed to indicate that this shop should have been successful, but it wasn't. Here's my analysis. By going into the club and observing the comings-and-goings, I knew what was wrong right away:
  • While the right kind and quantity of people were in fact nearby, they did not enter the shop
  • People would arrive frequently to participate in the well-promoted club activities (usually DJ's, etc.)
  • People would participate (dance their brains out) in the club and then simply TP away
  • The avatars would almost never take the time to step out of the club and stumble into the mall and my shop
So, I now conclude there is a third factor required for mall success: Traffic Flow! Yes, you need not only lots of traffic and the right kind of traffic, but also the traffic must somehow flow past your store. In the Amat case, the people flow occurred entirely within the club walls and never left. The mall shops were left to the ghosts.

So now I am thinking, how does one design a mall/club to produce effective traffic flow? If I was building a mall, I would consider the following aspects:
  • You (the mall owner) cannot control the point from which people leave. They can just TP out anytime from anywhere in your sim
  • You (the mall owner) CAN control their entry point
  • Visitors are coming for their own benefit, not the shopowners. They were attracted to the sim for a particular reason. In the Amat case, they come in their dozens to participate in the club activities
  • So (and this is the key point) visitors will traverse the shortest path between the entry point and the area they were attracted to in the first place
  • Therefore, if you want visitors to see the mall... The Mall Must Be Placed In Between The Entry Point and The Sim's Attraction!
I am now imagining various designs for malls that could do this. All would be relatively simple to do, it's just positioning of the build objects. Does any mall actually do this? One limitation to this approach would be that visitors would tolerate only a certain number of stores on their way to the attraction. You can't expect them to walk through an entire Mall of America just to get to the pole dancers!

I spoke to the Amat club owner about this, but he seemed to think that a change in building style of the mall units would be the solution. I am not sure about this, because that would do nothing to affect the traffic flow at all.

So, my secondary shop remains in Amat, not selling anything. Come by and visit sometime!


Erika said...

There is much truth to this! While some very high traffic mall areas near clubs don't do well, there are some that do surprisingly well and it's mainly due to entry points. I refuse to rent a shop near a club where the tp landing is inside the club or right outside the main entrance. I have a location where my shop is right at the entry point, and the visitors must walk past it to get to the club, it's probably the most successful satellite I have! I have another that does ok because the dj's music is in the mall, which is not really that close to the club itself, and the tp landing is right in the middle of the club, however, there is a tp board right there that takes you to the club, so not as many ppl see the stores. More mall owners should think about their entry points as the store owners' rent covers the mall owners tier expenses... no sales, they will leave.

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