I’ve Been Busy...

Thursday, January 22, 2009 Thursday, January 22, 2009

You may have noticed I’ve been pretty quiet lately. That’s because I have indeed been busy, very busy. Readers may recall that I sought to purchase additional land to expand my rather overcrowded main store, and I was successful!

Thanks to some quick purchases and helpful neighbors, I’ve managed to double the size of my parcel to a complete and square one quarter of the Caso Milo mainland region. The only question was, “what the heck do I do with it?”

Keeping in mind my business philosophy of getting a return for my investment, I decided to completely reorganize the manner in which my products were displayed. The old store’s approach was to display as many items as possible in order to minimize avatar movement. However, I observed some shoppers unable to find what they sought, even though I believed items were clearly laid out.

After some consideration, I came to the hypothesis that visitors to my Particle Shop usually come in search of a specific item, such as smoke or fog (or once Bird Poop, but that’s another story). They generally don’t understand some of the other creative products on the shelf and unless there is a very easy to use and highly visible demonstration, they simply don’t bother looking at the items. Particles are much more difficult to sell than fashions, I suspect, because motion-oriented items are hard to comprehend in a still image, and often represent they something that is totally not possible in real life.

Hence the new store layout, which does the following:
  • All products are classified into one of eight major categories (like “Hearts”, shown above, just in time for your Second Life Valentine's day present). I wanted to have few categories, because it seems that people are overwhelmed by more than ten or so topics. The previous layout had around twenty areas, and I actually spoke with customers who refused to go looking in it due to the number of visible product boxes
  • Every product has a very visual live demonstration, seen by touching the “DEMO” button. You can’t miss them!
  • Products are displayed “in context” so that you get a feel for what they do. In other words, the “Garden” items have rocks and trees in the area. They aren’t part of the products, but they add to the visual experience by showing the customer a way of using them. Have a look at the “Garden” section above
  • Every box delivers an explanatory notecard upon touch
  • Each of the eight areas has a giant can’t-be-missed sign that includes an icon to represent the feeling of the area. (Yeah, I haven’t put the giant Bow up on the “Pretty” section yet, give me a break!)

It’s been an enormous amount of work, as you can imagine. Not only did I have to design the layout and build all the structures, but the most difficult part was creating all the demonstrations. To give you an idea of what had to be done, I eventually made 158 demos, and I’m giving a rough estimate of around 25-35,000 lines of LSL code had to be written to make this all work.

Anyway, there’s lots left to be done, but the basic structure is up and running. If you want to come by to shop or just gawk at the layout, please feel free to drop in!


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