Business Advantages to Holiday Planning

holidaydecorIntegration of the various holidays that occur throughout the year can benefit a business in many ways. Recognizing that many customers are looking for specific holiday themed merchandise can draw prospects toward your products and once they are in the door or visiting your web site additional interactions either directly or indirectly (such as through social media) will commence. Bundling related products together and offering seasonally-colored merchandise makes it easy to target holiday shoppers who are ready to purchase such items at an impulse.

Planning for an upcoming holiday should start a few months in advance so that appropriate merchandise can be created, decorations can chosen, and prospective customers know that you are recognizing their interests. The specific holidays that you participate in will depend on the demographics that you are trying to appease. Some holidays are specific to religion (i.e. Christmas) while others are regional specific (i.e. Fourth of July in the United States). There are even specific shopping events surrounding some holidays (i.e. “Black Friday” for in-person store visits and “Cyber Monday” for online purchases). However, be aware that advertising too far in advance of a holiday can be a turn-off for some customers.

Finally, when it comes to decorations for a holiday one will want to keep it new and fresh rather than rezzing out the same old decorations year after year (some of which might be utilizing inefficient scripts that does not take advantage of the new mono LSL scripting).  Also be sure to establish a budget and stick to it when shopping for new festive decorations to ensure the business maintains a profit that still covers tier and marketing otherwise any additional sales as a result of the holiday will become a burden rather than a benefit.

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Here is why you must Rez Objects at Eye Level

eyelevelIf the goal is to get the attention of avatars whether it be signs, products, or some other attraction then such items should be rezzed at eye level. In the real world many retail stores will place merchandise at just before or at eye level, however in virtual worlds the most common eye levels are actually the avatar’s should up about two meters above the avatar’s head (sometimes referred to as camera angle and position). This is why, unlike in real life stores, many in-world stores stack items from the floor all the way to the ceiling.

However, as with any marketing methods there are always exceptions to the rule. When an avatar is in a seated position their camera position will be closer to the floor. This is also true for some of the smaller avatars in virtual worlds which is similar to real life stores who will place items such as toys and cartoon cereal boxes closer to the ground so that those products are at eye level with kids. Depending on the circumstances, an avatar in a seated position might also be in mouse-look view in which case the camera position and angle is from the front of the avatars eyes just like in real life. Shoppers tend to scan merchandise in the same method as they read a book (i.e. left-to-right such as in the western hemisphere) and will usually find the most expensive items at eye level which the lesser expensive or generic brands are located on the very top shelf or close to the floor.

The visual impact of wall decorations such as art, paintings, and photographs should also be located at eye level even if the room has a high ceiling. When rezzing such items keep in mind that the size of the artwork should be proportional to the space. Small pictures should not be placed on large empty walls and huge paintings should not be located on small walls. When there are several small decorations to be rezzed in an area they need to be clustered together with a common theme in order to fill up the space.

Taking a closer look at Business Strategy and Competitors

forumsWriting a business strategy and marketing plan is not required in order to start a new business, however it will challenge you to answer important questions regarding every aspect of your business. The business strategy should provide, at minimum, both short-term and long term goals and can be used as a blueprint when making decision during the course of business. One of the most challenging, yet very important, areas of the plan to investigate is potential competition. Such investigations of competitors may include lessons learned from failed competitors from the past, current competition, as well potential competition in the future should a non-competitor decide to expand their business into your market.

Many consumers will compare competitive products on price alone, therefore your marketing strategy should also determine it’s pricing position. The three common pricing methods are undercutting, matching, and premium. Undercutting the competition by pricing your products at a lower price has the potential of increasing market share, but could also suggest to potential customers that your products are cheap and low quality. Matching prices set by the competition requires including a similar feature set as other’s products, however it can be very difficult to stand out and gain market share if you are both selling the same similarly-priced quality items. Premium pricing allows you to stand out from the competition by highlighting exclusive features and an impression of high quality, however due to the higher price the competition might gain a higher market share in the short term.

Every business is unique in how they include social marketing in their long term e-business strategy, however the general goal is to increase interactions with both customers and prospects. Potential prospects will want to submit inquiries about available products including how they compare to the competition. Existing customers will have support inquiries on how to best utilize their recent purchase to benefit them and/or will request new features to be added based on advertisements received from your competition. It is important to reply to these inquiries and monitor review boards and discussion forums for communications between customers and prospects. Fortunately, many product review places allow a follow-up reply to be posted for all to see as a demonstration that the business owner cares about their customers.

The Many Advantages of Billboard Advertising

billboardexampleAdvertising strategies utilize many different marketing methods aimed at engaging new clients. Marketing your business or solutions via billboards is an excellent opportunity. When you use billboard marketing make certain you keep in mind that less is more.

Outside display advertising has long been a common and efficient way to present your products or services to your local community. Billboard marketing and advertising is amongst the most inexpensive alternatives of promotion and it also certainly has credible advantages. It is often a part of a company’s overall marketing strategy, utilizing larger-than-life signs to distribute your message about products and solutions, services, or special occasions. Outside advertising and marketing is usually a type of selling channel which involves putting up announcements and promotional products outdoors where people are able to see them. Advertisements are generally found in high traffic, line-of-sight destinations for example entryways, clubs and walkways.

This is a very efficient way of getting a sales message to the area. Marketing and advertising outside suggests ads are often available the best viewing fulfillment on the prospects therefore getting some sort of recurring advertising. Individuals visit the same landmark weekly, sometime on a daily basis. Billboard advertising is most effective when you need to get to everybody in a particular geographical location and has become the most popular form of outside advertising and marketing.

Why it is So Important to Functionality Test Objects

functionalityFunctionality testing a new product or service before general release to the public is generally performed in two stages, alpha testing performed by the creator of the product and then beta testing by individuals most likely to use the product in the field. The primary reasons for functionality testing is to ensure that it satisfies the requirements of end users and also to come up with suggestions for future improvements.

Scripted objects are more likely to be functionality tested than non-scripted objects. Such testing requires that the product be utilized over and over again starting with individual testing of minor components (i.e. when odd symbols and excessive characters are submitted into the script does it respond appropriately or result in parsing and memory errors?) working up to the overall major characteristics of the solution such as generating the correct output when provided multiple variations of inputs. If a significant issue is discovered at the early stages these are usually resolved first before proceeding onto a later and larger stage. The testing process can very monotonous, yet is an important requirement.

The platform and viewer used to interact with and view the object is a circumstance that needs to be considered too as many still insist on using older viewers that may not be capable of rezzing sculpt and mesh objects nor respond appropriately to the latest and greatest scripting commands. Textures may not load as quickly as desired on computers with minimum hardware specifications and/or slow internet bandwidth speeds. Such limitations may either be addressed by the creator through either modification of the object or a mention in the notecard instructions that the viewer, hardware, and bandwidth must be meet certain requirements. In the latter case any identified glitches are indicated as “not a bug” and disregarded.

In the absence of external testers the creator can simulate much of the above by having multiple clients installed on multiple computers (i.e. desktop and laptop/netbook) as well as connections both hard-wired as well as wireless to vary the internet connection speeds. Alternate accounts can not only test for correct functionality, but can also be used to ensure the permission of objects and their contents (i.e. textures, notecards, scripts, animations, etc) appropriately protect the creator against theft while also allowing the user to customize or configure as required.

No-Nonsense Advice about Greeting Customers

Welcoming an avatar into your store is an important marketing tool as it projects recognition of the client so that they feel welcome and that their visit is appreciated. Many times, the first inquiry a prospective sale has how and where to find a particular item or types of items therefore it is important that a greeter provides such a mechanism. Product location methods can either be in-person from another avatar or via a scripted method such as a kiosk. If it is in-person then the greeter should ask how the visiting avatar can be helped as this can present genuine concern, however if the client does not want to bothered yet then the greeter should back off and check in later.

In the real world the distribution of flyers, handouts, and business cards by a greeter to promote products and upcoming events is not uncommon, however a quick inspection of nearby by trash bins and garbage cans will show that many of those handouts were immediately discarded likely before they were even looked at. Similarly in the virtual world the offered inventory items and group invitations as soon as an avatar teleports into a store have a high likelihood of being deleted and/or ignored until after they have had an opportunity to browse the store. With this being the case a nearby kiosk should be available so that if visitors do initially decide to ignore the influx of inventory offers they may still obtain them at a later time. Also, be sure to narrow the sensor range of such automatic distribution gadgets to remain inside the store and read the covenant for the sim to determine what, if any, restrictions are in place in regards to such communication methods.

Recognizing whether the visitor is a prospective customer or a repeat visitor may affect how you welcome the customer as they have two distinctly different needs. New customers will need to learn the layout of the store, the types of products being offered, and how to find products interesting to them. Repeat customers are likely to already know the layout of the store (unless it has been recently remodelled in which case they have similar needs as a new customer) and are more likely interested in knowing what is new such as where a recently released product can be found. Adapting to each and every customer’s needs and requirements will always have a positive impact.

If you should decide that offering an avatar a notecard upon arrival, it may as well be a relevant one based on where they came from. Tools such as Visitor Source Tracker has multiple landing pads each with it’s own landing area. A landmark or SLurl is created for each location and given out from different sources (i.e. perhaps one from a billboard, another from a website, etc) and then depending on which landing area the avatar arrives on they can receive a specific notecard relevant to that specific interest which increases the chances of them reading it.