So far, I’ve found hunts definitely drive very significant traffic to your shop. Overwhelming traffic at times, and I can’t imagine the crowding at stores a lot smaller than mine (1/4 sim). But the question is, “do these visitors buy anything”? The answer is apparently not, at least at my store. Perhaps they don’t care for particle effects, or maybe they are simply cruising through the landmarks in a nearly endless effort to reach “the end”.
Some say “don’t worry – your gift includes your landmark, so they’ll come back later to visit your store!” Perhaps, but there is scant evidence of this in my statistics. Perhaps they are too busy doing the “next” hunt to worry about looking at the items from the previous hunt?
Another finding: on Plurk and Twitter, one now hears exhausted hunters dreading “the next hunt”. Yes, there certainly are those who enjoy hunts and are quite good at running them, but there seems to be hunt-burn out occurring too. I am not surprised, as there seems to be several gigantic simultaneous hunts underway each and every month.
As an example, I’m in the SL Discovery hunt this month, which features well over 500 stores strung together by a chain of landmarks hidden in tiny magnifying glasses. How long would it take to traverse that entire chain? For this 30-day hunt, it means you must visit on average 18-20 shops each and every day. How many gifts would you receive? Duh, over 500. How much time would it take to actually investigate those 500+ gifts? Probably over 40 hours at 5 minutes each. And that’s just one hunt for one month. What about the other five hunts also underway this month?
Hunts just don’t seem to scale up very well.
What’s the solution? Rika Watanabe came up with a very intriguing idea during a Plurk discussion several weeks ago. The notion is to automate the hunt process and relieve both the vendor and the hunter of the incredible effort required to setup and run through a grid-hunt.
Instead of actually visiting the participating stores, Rika’s brand new Designer Showcase Network merely asks that you “subscribe” to the service, specifying the type of products they’re interested in (a “channel”). Each day you’ll be gifted a random item from that channel’s many participating stores. The network tracks the gifts to ensure you don’t get any duplicates.
Designers simply purchase and set up a kiosk, and then place a box in it containing a gift and landmark. Hopefully the gifts are of high quality and attract the subscriber to the store. Subscribers can get gifts without having to spend massive amounts of their valuable time chasing through stores.
Of course, this isn’t for everyone. Some avatars hunt simply for the pleasure of finding the hidden objects - it is a treasure hunt, after all. But how many times can you do that?
And that’s it. No fuss. Free gifts. Choice. And exposure to new stores that you might have never heard of. And you can resume your normal activities. You know, the ones you did before hunts erupted?
If you want to find out more about the DSN, check out the website at CleverThings. It includes information for both hunters and vendors. Also, I’m one of the first vendors to set up a DSN Kiosk, why don’t you come by Electric Pixels and try it out?