Effective Product Images

effectiveimagesThe manner in which one displays and showcases products is extremely important. Potential customers and visitors may or may not be able to view a rezzed version of the product in-world, so the type of imaging used will make a tremendous difference. Taking a few things into consideration will help make sure that the product images are always making the best impact.

To ensure one is using the best product images, one might consider taking the extra step of hiring a professional photographer. While it might be an expensive initial cost, it can be well worth it. Even better is finding a photographer who is just starting out that can do the work at a fraction of the cost or willing to help in exchange for free items to build up their portfolio. Professional photographs for product images can make a tremendous difference.

If a professional photographer does not fit into the allocated budget, one can still get effective product images as long as the right techniques are used. Take the time to look at how other products are displayed for inspiration to recreate similar effects being careful not to copy their exact design and style. In addition, take the initiative to go the extra mile to photograph products from multiple angles in order to offer a variety of views to prospects.

Proper planning, professional pictures and an eye for what will draw in customers will be the best way to utilize effective product images.

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Development and Design Considerations

designconsiderDesign considerations for a new product or idea must be centered around the audience that will be using it. Demographics and the implied needs prospects will affect its success when introduced. The actual design of a product will have to satisfy those avatars who choose to use it.

The final test in determining whether or not a product design is successful or not is in the purchasing of the product. The product designer has to determine that result in advance, of course, which is the key to the creation of the best design. In general there are two main design considerations that affects the end result. The first is industrial design which is concerned with functionality, workability and durability. The second is product design would is related to aesthetics, eye appeal, coloring and general overall appeal.

Industrial design is affected by a variety of factors such as script load on the servers, script memory usage, as well as reliable error checking if and when invalid data is received. The user of the object expects the scripts, poses, animations, etc to work at all times regardless if it’s first use of the scripted object or weeks later after the sim has crashed/restarted.

Product design is affected mostly by visual elements such as the relative scale of the object in relationship to the avatar (of which avatars can come in all sizes from small nano avatars to larger avatars a dozen or more meters tall). The colors used to texture and tint the object should not clash with each other and if the object can change into different shapes such as an outfit or even a rigid mechanical part of a machine such movement should appear natural from the avatar’s viewpoint.

A great deal of effort will usually go into the marketing end of the equation in order to determine what segments of markets are demanding the product. Once that area is sufficiently identified, then the product can be designed to specifically appeal to that market segment in a successful manner that
will bring predictable results.

 

The Importance of Product Descriptions

productdescShowcasing products requires one to find the best possible method for writing product descriptions. While facts about the product needs to be included, simply listing the features can leave the product description feeling flat. A good balance of information, if done correctly, can result in quality content resulting in product descriptions that will help the products sell themselves.

Not every avatar visiting the store will know what the products can be used for. Therefore make sure that the simple element of what the product is used for is included in the description. Some products may also benefit from having a demo version rezzed in-world. Easy to understand information along with examples as well as a brief list of features will help to enrich the description even more. A prospect can become a paying customer by simply making them feel that they will miss out if they do not buy the product. Making it known this is a must-have product by mentioning the various ways that it can make their life easier is a great selling point.

Also, if this product can be gifted then list the types of people in the potential customer’s life who would be perfect recipients. A good picture of the item is a necessity. While the wording is important, the addition of multiple high-quality (minimum 512×512 pixels) texture or photographs as well as at least one video of the product can really drive the sale home.

 

Product End Of Life Issues

productendoflifeEvery product sold has a life cycle of support. For some products, it can be much shorter than others. For instance, some scripted objects such as proximity sensors, resizers, communication tasks, and others can have a life cycle that is limited as a result of new scripting functions being made available.

Typically, there will be a successor product that one will try to steer customers into that replaces functionality with improved efficiency. However, there is always the problem of maintaining older versions of a product that is still being used by an existing loyal customer base. Ways to support older products, at least for a period of time, might require occasionally releasing bug fixes to adapt to a new environment.

Nobody wants to support an older product because they usually are not generating any new cash flow into a business, so they are a drag on the bottom line unless the product’s existing business model includes reoccurring revenue. Some businesses direct customers to a web site or pass out note-cards that has all of the pertinent information and then provide an upgrade path for users to obtain new versions at a discount or sometimes even for free.  For many businesses, the expense of supporting existing products whose life cycle has ended can be quite costly. The number of customers who are using an outdated product will dwindle over time as more and more of them switch to the latest technology.

Writing Effective Product Manuals

productmanualsIt goes without saying that the right amount of research is required when trying to put together helpful user manuals. Take the time to make sure that all of the documentation is accurate and if possible have another set of eyes double-check the work, preferably someone that isn’t as familiar with the product as the creator is. In addition, it will also be extremely beneficial to find out all of the various ways that customers might use the product so that all proper scenarios are covered should there be a need to troubleshoot.

Make sure when writing product manuals that the structure or base of the manual is outlined first. Then begin filling in all of the pertinent information for each step of the way. If at all possible, it will help a great deal to include pictures or textures along with the instruction process. Many like to work in a visual manner, so having the added pictures or textures will help them there are questions.

While there are a number of avatars that manual writing could be outsourced to, writing product manuals as an in-house project might be more cost effective. This way one really has the most control over the layout and how the information reads to customers. In the end, writing product manuals can be a great way to give customers the quality information that they need in regards to products.

Let Customers Give You Feedback

click2leavefeedbackCustomer satisfaction is a factor that can make or break a business. Satisfied customers can potentially recommend products and services to others and become repeat customers. On the other hand, dissatisfied customers may never or rarely provide repeat business, and might even tell others about their dissatisfaction. This is why to alleviate things that irritate your customer, one should solicit product feedback.

The need to identify the areas customers may be having a less than satisfying experience is very important. How satisfied customers are with a particular physical characteristics such as functionality, prims, script load, and aesthetics of the product that they purchased? Identify the functionality that the product provides and have customers rate each aspect of its functionality separately on an even-numbered scale so that there is no neutral option available. Some businesses will create a notecard with a series of check-off boxes in it for this purpose, others might use an in-world survey kiosk or a web site.

Soliciting product feedback when the product you require feedback on is not really a physical product, but instead customer service and support offerings, is not quite as straightforward. One must examine sales and service to identify areas where customers may be experiencing a degree of dissatisfaction. It is difficult to ask open ended questions to identify these areas from customers, since most customers will not take the time to answer open ended questions, even though this type of information is the most useful form of feedback for a business.

Differences between Small Shops and Large Stores

largesmallstoreThe factors that affect whether a visiting avatar spends money in a small shop versus a large store is similar in some aspects within virtual worlds, but also different in other ways when compared to the real world. One example of differences is the price paid for a product. Unlike the real world, large stores do not have the advantage of purchasing products in volume in which the lower price can be passed onto consumers because copyable items (or items sold through an affiliate vendor) has a near non-exist cost associated with them once the initial product is created.

However, the similarities between virtual and real world retail locations does include the square footage advantages as well as increased prim allowances which can result in a wide product offering as well as demonstration products that are rezzed more often than not. Large stores with their expansive space means that products are more likely to be sold via individual product vendors rather than a vendor with navigation arrows used to browse products like a catalog. Having more products visible at a time can also psychologically increase the chances of impulse shopping which can only benefit the bottom line.

Larger parcels also allows demonstration models to be either permanently or semi-permanantly rezzed so that the visitor can interact with and inspect the product instead of just looking at pictures or watching a video. Even though more prims are available, permanantly rezzed items tend to be the less-prim items and more of them while the semi- permanantly items will have a space set aside for them to be made available via a temporary rezzer that does not count against the static prim allotment.