The shopping experience can be dull, tedious, and time-consuming where sometimes only the most passionate consumer should endeavor. For some, market browsing is a nerve-racking experience enough even without having to cope with attitude issues. In recent years the purchasing experience has been even more stressful with the current economy.
When shopping for clothes many are in search of the most recent styles, however outfit searching can be strenuous for everybody. Some just don’t know how long it can take to try on an outfit and adjust the position especially when a pose-stand is not available. In the real world one will usually wear simple clothing and comfy footwear with a light-weight jacket. Within a virtual shop the same is true in that unnecessary HUD’s and attachments need not be worn while in the store which greatly benefits the shopping experience when trying on outfits as well as minimizing lag in the sim.
Holiday shopping is one of the more tense periods especially when the same or similar items are being offered by many different businesses, yet the customer is searching for alternatives in an effort to stand out from the rest. Offering the consumer unique gifts to give the special people in their life or an unusual costume for festivities can improve the appealing attractiveness of the store.
Family and group shopping can become tiresome for all members. Interest levels can vary especially among younger individuals although even adults can become stressed eventually. After a period of time many will simply give up and stop looking, fortunately many families and groups are open to participating in activities afterwards whether it be having a meal or enjoying entertainment together.
In an effort to attract visitors some venues and business areas, such as a mall, have a dance area with a live host and either a live DJ or a streaming radio station that hold “Best of… ” contests. These contests invite visitors to wear outfits that fit a specific theme similar to costume contests in the real world during the month of October. The contest has a specific starting and ending time and the rules tend to be fairly loose in that a themed outfit may either be created by wearer or obtained elsewhere. It is not uncommon for pictures to be taken during these events and posted onto a nearby wall as a memory of the event.
The incentive for visitors to attend such events typically includes a cash payout to the winner(s) of the contest. Some hosts will collect the votes manually via instant message or notecards while other hosts will utilize a scripted voting board where participants can both register to be voted on or they may vote for others. Throughout the event the host will encourage everyone to convince their friends to attend the event which increases traffic in the area and has the side effect of potentially higher sales for local businesses or additional tips received by the venue and host.
Voting criteria is generally a popularity contest with no specific guidelines on what should be considered when voting which means if sometimes the winner is the person that teleported the most loyal friends to the event. However, that is not to say those who are truly selecting the best outfit is not basing it on attributes such as visuals, authenticity, and how closely related it is to the contest theme. Many contests are for individuals, but some places also hold competitions for couples or will divide the contest prizes between the best male avatar and best female avatar.
The extra traffic to an area as a result of these competitions has the potential to benefit not only the host and value, but also businesses renting a shops and stalls near the dance area. However, with the concentration of avatars in a single location within a sim means an increased chance of lag due to the server having to process all those avatars and the client viewer software having to load lots of textures into cache. The risk is that visitors may teleport away from the area as a result. The primary method to address this is by reducing the number of scripts used by vendors and other objects as well as requesting that visitors remove unnecessary HUD’s and attachments in order to improve the experience for everyone.
Unwanted group notices, group chat, instant messages, and inventory offers (sometimes referred to as “spam”) that advertise products and services are usually sent by direct marketing firms or business owners. Stopping these from being received can be complicated depending on the method that was used to send the unsolicited material.
It has become an increasing problem for many avatars. Some are about identity theft (either about preventing it or an attempt to steal an identity) which has become an important concern for many. Unlike junk mail in real life, if the avatar makes a deliberate effort to stop it they are very likely to be successful thanks to the many technical features available to everyone.
In addition to deleting unwanted notecards or closing group notices and chat windows, the avatar also has the ability to uncheck “Receive group notices” on a group-by-group basis. In addition, such advertising received from an avatar can be “Blocked” and also the sending avatar may be “Muted”. When the preference option “Email me IM’s when I’m offline” is enabled then sometimes these notices or instant messages can appear in the user’s email inbox. In this case, utilizing the junk-mail filtering ability of one’s email service or email software may be required.
Fortunately, most legit businesses in virtual worlds will honor “Unsubscribe” requests which are usually sent to the business owner via instant message or by clicking a sign in the business owner’s store. This is different than the unsubscribe links sometimes found in real life email messages in which case if they are clicked an illegitimate business will interpret your email as being live and an actively used account therefore sending even more unsolicited marketing literature. The most important aspect to preventing this from happening is to stay pro-active.