Wearable or Installable?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The first particle effects I created were all “wearable”. They are simply small objects containing the script that emits the particles. After I started selling these wearable items, I began to get requests for “floor models” of my fogs.

No problem – I just needed to extract the script from the tiny wearable object and reinstall into a larger object with some modifications to control the device. Voila - “Installable” versions.

But then I realized something... by listening to your customers you can easily find out what they need. This sounds so completely obvious, but it surprised me anyway. They will simply tell you what to build!

One customer told me that she liked my store because “You are actually AT your store and I can talk to you! I've never EVER seen the owner of other stores”. Because of that and my personal experience of never encountering a shop owner while shopping, I have to conclude that very few builders are soliciting opinions in this way.

From now on I am going to try to spend some time at my shop talking to customers every week. Actually they are prospective customers, and I am going to find out their needs. This should be an easy way to determine ideas for new salable products.

Scary Effects!

Thursday, April 19, 2007 Thursday, April 19, 2007

I've noticed that in SL there is quite a variety of species and cultures. Two of my friends are in the Vampire/Goth/Demon category, and I have been exposed to a little bit of their SL lifestyle. I got thinking about this, and realized that it might be reasonable to offer products specific to genre.

But what kind of products would be desireable to creatures of the night? I am not really into that genre, so I can't really know for sure. Nevertheless, I thought I would try something anyway. I took some of my existing particle effects products and re-made them into “Vampire” versions by adjusting the color, timing, product boxing and of course the names. Then, they went up for sale.

They seem to sell lightly, although occasionally someone comes in and buys several at once. While this may be a disappointment, I realized that this particular genre makes up only a small fraction of the entire SL population – and therefore sales of products to that genre should be only a fraction of my total sales. This is in fact the case, and so I am not disappointed at all.

Really, I am quite thrilled, because this means that it is possible to target products to specific genres. And as we all know, there are plenty of genres in SL. Just like some people make reasonable money from operating twenty or fifty low revenue Blogs, it should be possible to make reasonable money by selling products to twenty of fifty low revenue genres. Well, I'd better get building...


Thursday, April 5, 2007 Thursday, April 05, 2007

Nobody is coming to my store.

Well, that's not exactly true ... there are a few passersby who seem to drop in. One of my pals, Emerist Begonia, runs a successful store selling articles for your SL home, so I asked her what to do. She suggested I post a classified ad - and she paid "more" to make it appear higher on the list. More means paying more than the default L$50.

Here's what I learned of how classifieds really work:

  • You create a classified advert and submit it
  • You are asked to specify how much to pay - the default being L$50
  • You are cheap and take the L$50 default
  • A user seeking your products types in some keywords in an attempt to find them
  • ALL classifieds containing those keywords (actually, ANY of them) are found in Linden Lab's classified database
  • The found ads are sorted - guess how? By the amount paid by the advertiser (that's you, remember?)
  • The highest paying ads are shown first
  • The user, impatient and desperate to find what ever they are looking for, selects a few ads FROM THE FIRST PAGE SHOWN
  • The user inevitably fulfills their needs from the first page of search hits
  • Meanwhile, your measly L$50 advert is positioned on page 26... AND IS NEVER SEEN
What's the lesson here?
  • Pay an amount sufficient to get your ad onto the first page of listings, or for more popular keywords, at least the second page
  • Pick good keywords! (More on this in a future post)
Wait a minute! How does one know the correct amount to pay? This is pretty easy... just do this:
  • Search for the keywords you are focusing on
  • Examine the results page and see where the price is at the page end
  • Add a little bit to the page end price to "insert" your classified just before the end of the page
  • If the prices are close, add a bit more to ensure you stay on the first page
Once I did this, visitors started arriving. Not lots, but some - and they were buying items. It's a start.

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