Take One Moment to Consider Perceived Quality

parcelsettingsThe perception of how much effort is used to create a quality store environment can affect whether prospective visitors turn into a paying customer or whether they teleport away never to be seen again. Three of the factors that may apply to store quality include the arrangement of prims (i.e. textures, sizes, and organization) in the store, information visible on signs (i.e. pop-up notices and store policies), as well as parcel settings (i.e. name, media, restrictions).

The arrangement of prims can set the tone of the store depending on whether they appear to be rezzed in an organized fashion or scattered around the store at odd angles. Textures used in the store should be something other than the default of plywood and plain at a high enough resolution to show details, but not so high that it takes a long time for the texture to come into view. Alpha textures can be viewed from all angles to ensure there are no glitches and non-alpha textures at the same level overlap with each other resulting in the viewer randomly toggling between the two (sometimes referred to as flickering).

The purpose of signs in a store is to be informational without being too intrusive meaning landmarks and notecards are to be offered to the visitor only once, not every time they happen to walk into the sensor area. Store policies such as return, custom orders, post-sale support, and gifting options need to be clearly visible and available. Finally, any vendors that dispense a product needs to include not only the price of the item, but also the number of prims required and permissions allowed.

Parcel settings can either enhance the shopping experience or hinder it. For example, if the parcel is set to no-scripts then the chances of lag affecting avatars is minimized, but setting no-scripts might also disallow visitors from using their favorite HUD. Media settings such as music and sounds cannot conflict with each other, if there are sounds that you want the visitor to hear then a music stream playing at the same time may result in them not hearing the intended sound. Finally, the name of the parcel and description should be informative enough so that if the visitor decides to create their own landmark (rather than accepting yours) it will be informative when they are looking through their inventory window later.

The Hidden Value of Furniture

furnishingsThe furnishings used within a store is important because from a buyer’s point of view it will greatly affect their firm impressions of the goods or services available. Furniture should be high quality and appeasing to look at while also functional at the same time. It should blend in with the theme of the rest of the store (i.e. wall and floor colors) without impeding the flow of traffic.

While in a virtual world one does need to be concerned about whether furniture is well painted, the textures used on the furniture should be detailed enough to have a sense of quality but not necessarily at a high resolution as the texture needs to rez in a reasonable amount of time. Stores that mostly consist of plain grey surfaces for an extended period of time can be a turn-off to any potential buyers. Once the textures on furniture does become visible textures should be properly aligned along surface edges and have a smooth or polished look to convey quality.

Common furnishings in a typical retail shop might include lamps (local lighting), displays (demo objects), a cash register (scripted vendors), card machines (kiosks to purchase in-world currency), and shopping carts (dedicated rez areas for unboxing new purchases into inventory). The placement of these functional furnishings should express professionalism by being located away from walls while at the same time not affect avatar traffic nor camera angles as prospects navigate throughout the store.

There’s more to customer loyalty than just repeat sales

teleportOne of the best ways to increase sales is to sell to your existing customer base and in order to accomplish that customer loyalty needs to be established. It is especially difficult in the virtual world to retain customer loyalty due to the fact that all transactions occur via the internet, therefore unlike in the physical world businesses no longer have a local economy advantage of being close to where the customers live. Prospects can simply teleport away to another location without giving it a second thought, therefore first impressions and post-sale follow up service is a must.

The same ease that allows potential customers to consider the competition can also be used to your advantage to check out the competition yourself. One must know as much as possible about their own customers as they do about the offerings of competitors to determine whether the products offered aligns with customer needs. This may require surveying visitors and/or asking follow-up questions after the sale to determine why the customer purchased your product over someone else’s. Once this information is obtained targeted marketing (in contrast to mass marketing) is used to both attract the right type of new customer and to encourage the existing customer base to come back and purchase more.

While direct one-to-one instant messaging with customers is effective, a strong social media presence is also a must. Face-to-face interactions are less likely in a virtual world, however when a purchased product is meant for public view then teleporting to the customer’s location can be beneficial. Not only does this show the customer that one cares about follow-up service it also allows the creator to see how their item fits into different environments which can lead to specialized features in future versions. Other forms of effective social media includes maintaining a blog demonstrating your expertise in an industry as well as replying to comments posted by others in forums.

Finally, the sales process itself needs to occur smoothly in order for that customer to return and purchase more. The store environment should be lag free utilizing low-impact scripts and a minimum amount of high resolution textures. In-world vendors should be online 24/7 and alternate methods of purchase available such as via web-based stores hosted by the virtual world provider. Product delivery should be timely once the in-world currency is transferred from the customer to the creator and all store policies needs to be made available both before and after the sale. In summary, if the sales process itself is not a positive experience for the customer then regardless of how high quality and useful their new purchase is they likely will not return to make additional purchases.

Make the Most of your Business Entryway

entrymatThe entrance to your business is one of the first things visitors will notice and can greatly effect whether you make a sale or not. The visual appearance needs to be inviting to portray your business in a positive light. It should be attractive both around the entrance itself, but also the path leading up to the door.

One of the most common attributes of an store front includes awnings, plants, statues, and signs. The awning canvas covering adds an aesthetic appear as well as some shelter from the elements. The plants surrounding the entrance are usually in a contained area such as potted structure or sticking up out of a segmented area of the building Sometimes multiple plants are used to create a garden. foundation. Statues can either be either side of the door or placed out in the grass lawn area leading up to the entrance. Signage is usually above the door or on one side recessed in the wall flush with the entryway.

it is very important that any decoration around the entrance does not impede navigation around or through it. While virtual worlds generally do not enforce accessibility laws such as ADA (American Disability Act) like real-world stores do, it is still a best practice to not affect avatar movement nor cause one’s camera controls to unnecessarily be impeded as a result of objects in the doorway. The final consideration is to welcome any and all visitors either with non-obstructive signage (such as a welcome mat) and make it clear to the avatar how they can contact someone for additional assistance.

Essential Components of Store Design and Style

wooddisplayShop furnishings are a significant part of the retail store and it must make it possible for extra atmosphere towards the buyers by providing them the ability to examine merchandise in more detail and acquire additional information about it. The shop fixture is definitely the consumer’s initial visible perception that determines his/her feelings for the product or service he/she is prepared purchase as well as the all round store setting. Shop fixture materials and decorative plants carries an influence on the over-all style in the shop.

It is crucial that store information is up to date as this is also what visitors are interested in. If a subscription system is utilized you will find different levels of worry and awareness with shoppers out there having their details harvested. You will discover those who find themselves bothered by the thought of their sensitive information being distributed, while some who have no idea information is being collected at all nor what is being done with it. The most crucial guideline for the design of your store is always to give consumers easier access to your unique product range thus an easy-to-locate brochure of products and solutions is important both in-world (such as inside of notecard) and external including the store information web page on the marketplace.

The furnishings are visible components of your store therefore it should look interesting and appealing. The significance of the fixture is important no matter what product or service that you are promoting. Plastic-appearing material store fixtures have the attributes of cheapness and wide use, while wood versions (not the default plywood texture) provide the highlights of style. Wooden furnishings are generally time preferred for products and store display.

Get attractive plants and flowers for all of the holiday seasons that occur throughout the year. Be sure to include elaborate plants for anniversaries, birthdays and holiday activities. Plants are exactly what everyone enjoys so that you can have grass and natural little plants for making your store a lot more exciting. The sleek appeal of marine plants can also provide the final touch to your aquarium tank. Fortunately, in contrast to first life, there is no need for an automated sprinkling system with variable timing functions for supplying routine, unattended irrigating of virtual plants.

Prospective customers will demonstrate their gratitude when provided with the information and facts they are shopping for about offered products and solutions within a noticeably desirable environment. Acknowledgement of social values such as fun activities and important days can lead to higher sales of the product or service currently being made available with the confidence that it will be of high quality.

Considerations when Setting a Price

priceconsiderEstablishing the selling price of an item requires research into environmental factors in order to support the final decision. Such research identifies which customer base to target and further determines what are the expectations of those customers at different price levels. The current status of the economy can affect this too because if the economy is on the upswing then prices might be tolerated at the high end , conversely if the economy is in or recovering from a recession prices are likely to be at the low end since customers are likely cutting back.

Sales promotions such as discounts and coupons may result in a quick sale or two, however they should be reserved for products at either the beginning or the end of their existence. Once the standard price is determined utilizing a lower “introductory” price for a limited time period after product release is reasonable as long as the limited time period is honored resulting in a higher price later. Another benefit of offering a product at the lower price is it increases market share for the sell against competitors. At the opposite end of a product existence are “close out” sales which in the real world the purpose is to sell remaining stock and free up shelf space while in the virtual world it generally means the product will no longer be offered for sale through an automated vendor or web site. However, nothing prevents the content creator from selling virtual goods on a case-by-case basis upon request unless the creator closes their account and no longer logs into the virtual world.

Premium product pricing, on the other hand, can project value to the prospective end user if it is apparent that the post-sales service and support of the product is better than the rest. This is similar to generic versus name-brand products in a grocery store. For example, some who have worked in the hot dog industry have revealed that the same exact product is being packaged with a generic name on the outside as are the name-brand and yet the former sells for a much lower price than the latter. The latter benefiting from their established brand name and service justifies the higher pricing. Another example is in the computer industry in that while you can buy a computer from a competitively priced small business at the local strip mall that is only open specific hours and closed on the weekend, there are also similarly-equipped computers selling for much more that make available a dedicated 24/7 toll-free call center staffed with knowledgeable service technicians held to strict performance metrics.

Unlike products resold in the real world, merchandise sold within the virtual world are generally only available from the creator themselves. While it’s true that some creators allow franchise stores and others to rez an affiliate vendor the price is generally locked and the commission structure is usually at a fixed rate. Some items sold in the virtual world can be manufactured from supplies offered by the creator and then a levelling system is used to determine the cost-of-goods. Those who have higher experience at manufacturing have the advantage of having a lower cost and therefore can offer the final product at a reduced price.

What You Should Know About Shopping

ImageThe 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.