Shopping is definitely not one of my fortes. In fact, I foolishly try to build any item I need first. Or at least I contemplate building before finally giving in and undergoing a shopping ordeal. Why is it an ordeal? I am not exactly sure, but usually I end up doing what seems to be an endless search for something that may not even exist. It typically takes a very long time and I often get frustrated when lag slows my store visits even more. Am I being too picky? Probably. Am I impatient? Um, Yes.
Fortunately, my friends keep me honest by directing me to the best shops in Second Life. This week a very dear friend took me to Splash Aquatics, which sells a variety of watery goods. According to their directory, they sell:
- Marine, tropical & freshwater fish
- Fishtanks & bowls
- Aquarium & pond decor
- Natural freshwater pods
- Ocean wildlife
- Aquatic animals & birds
- Scuba diving
I wasn't looking for fish on that day, but if I did I would certainly come back to this very interesting store.
Readers will recall that I often rant about store structure and organization. But this time I wanted to point out the good things I observed at Splash Aquatics. Not only does Splash Aquatics have a great selection of high-quality items that all follow the same theme and are grouped in very sensible ways, it also has a couple of interesting twists that I believe many shops should consider.
First, there is a very strong element of realism throughout the area. Buildings and landscape appear just as they would in real life. But one of the most interesting realism aspects was the manner in which fish were sold. Pictured above is the "Nursery" where small fry fish apparently are spawned. To the right of the tank are buttons for purchasing said small fish. What struck me was how different this was from a typical store display. Instead of merely having an array of product boxes lined up on a wall, the nursery tank seems to bring the concept to life by showing you precisely how the product can be used. And even better, it is exactly what you would see in a real life aquarium store.
Secondly, Splash Aquatics has a "feature attraction" in addition to the store product displays and stocked shelves: a walk-through fish tank. We've all seen these in real life, where you may walk in dry safety within a glass tunnel at the bottom of a large tank, watching sharks skim just above your head. You can do exactly the same thing at Splash Aquatics; their tank looks very much like real life. Having a feature attraction like the water tunnel is a tremendous idea for any store. It provides visitors with another reason to visit, and possibly show it to their friends who otherwise would have had no reason to visit your store. That's exactly how I discovered Splash Aquatics.
Someday I will build a feature attraction at Electric Pixels. I've already been thinking of some ideas, but I haven't quite got the right one yet. A feature for an aquatics store might be obvious, but for particles? Stay tuned!
And by the way, you can visit Splash Aquatics here, in the unfortunately named sim, "Gooruembalchi".