Who Are You?

Monday, February 2, 2009 Monday, February 02, 2009

I’ve been wondering about my customers. Who are they? Where do they come from? How did they find the store?

The first step is to get some statistics. To do so, I conjured up a simple monitor script that quietly tracks visitors when they appear. That’s all – it just records very basic information about those nearby periodically. You can even purchase monitoring tools similar to this yourself if you’d like, there’s plenty for sale on XStreetSL. Maybe I’ll package up mine and put in on sale someday if there is interest.

The results? Well, there is plenty to analyze in the two months of data I’ve collected, but the first analysis I considered was language. My theory was that most of my visitors would be English speaking, since that is the language of the majority of my promotional activities. The results show that yes, English is by far the most popular language of my customers.

But it’s interesting to note that significant numbers of visitors are non-English, with large numbers of German, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. The third biggest group is in fact “unknown”. That means the avatar has not specified their language or does not permit it to be seen. Many other languages are represented in much smaller percentages.

So what does this mean? Some ideas:
  • I market too much in English and not enough in other languages
  • My products appeal to English speakers and less so to other groups
  • Perhaps English speakers shop more than other groups (do they have more money?)
  • My insignificant multi-lingual efforts have produced a less significant visitor draw in those languages

But the number one theory is that those non-English speakers probably speak English as a second language anyway! Stay tuned for more analysis in the future.


Peter Stindberg said...

As you can see from my comment on the SL wiki I am not a friend of that LSL function that queries the viewer language, as it is inherently flawed. A lot of people chose original software over localized software. Not only because more often than not the localizations are horrible (and I hear the SL viewer is no exception to this), but also because original software is usually faster with updates, easier with support etc.

One should think as the owner of the oldest SL translation agency I would welcome the awareness that this LSL function brings. But in fact is skews the results in favour of English and thus WEAKENS my point.

The other thing is that already now you see menus using this function presenting you with localized content. While the intention is good, often the translation lacks behind and if the designer of the script does not offer to actively select another language, you are screwed.

I visited your shop a few times during the past weeks - I always have (and always will) use an English viewer. On one occasion I came with a friend from Russia - she uses an English viewer too. So take the big pie slice for English with a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

Go with the number one theory :)
And to backu-up Peter, I (as many of the people I know) always use English versions of software. Computers and telephones are speaking English.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should take a step and try focusing on French. Something tells me that you could leverage that.

Anonymous said...

Your number one "theory" (english as a second language) as opposed to your #1 idea (market too much in English) is likely correct, regardless the accuracy of the function. IF the percentages are accurate, then you might extrapolate that roughly 54% of the 11% unknown also speak English... giving your english market a fairly respectable 61%.
Essentially, you're facing an accessibility problem in a global market. Maybe setting up a poll at your shop asking which second language people would enjoy displays in would help? I'm new, I'm left wondering whether SL has or hasn't created a scripted translator prim that visitors could press to have everything on a display change to their preferred language. Sorta like the time of day Environment setting. If that's not possible, surely there's a way to offer alt text displays on a board by board basis, if only for the top 3 languages.

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