Last night when Whimsy came on, I declared STORE SHOPPING DAY! I had already hit up a few earlier on my own, and she had been in and done some events. But I wanted to show that we do in fact store shop, that stores don’t and shouldn’t need to feel that their store ‘has to’ do events, as we see said so often. It is strange to see, the way that stores feel that if they don’t do them they are going to get left behind somehow, or that they wont make sales. Sure there may be less money made in the begining, but why can’t store owners do promotions in their own stores, run by themselves or their staff to encourage a similar response ?
Many years ago, long before events or theme days, I used to do this with a store I managed, a few hours once a week two items would be reduced, it brought customers in droves, and it definitely helped other items be seen that weren’t. If you think about it, with the amount of event shopping some customers do, it can end up a year or more since someone has been in your actual store, even though they feel as though they purchase every release – but those releases are at events. Take into account, that they may also only be a year or so old, that can mean that they have never even seen the other 50+ releases you have done in your store timeline.
I love events, I do, and I even run one myself, this is not an anti event post, it is more of a ‘get out there and do some store shopping’ encouragement post, and also a ‘ show your own customers what you do’ kind of thing. Events are supposed to be a tool, one extra feather in your cap, they are not supposed to become all consuming, there are many and I mean MANY stores that don’t do them at all, or just do them sporadically, a few ones that actually mean something to them.
Stores are supposed to ‘USE’ events, not have events use them, my meaning is that by having access to an established customer base, through not only the event, but the other participants, you grow your own customer base, but you are supposed to then go forward with that new customer base, and take them back to your store – and no that does not mean make lists using nefarious means and add people to a subscriber they did not sign up to, that is the lowest practice of them all – but by making sure that your items are enticing enough to the consumer, and by following through with releases that will bring them to your own doors.
I understand that it is time consuming to constantly create and have it not get the same kind of reaction sales wise that it may in an event, not may, I know they do, but there has to be a time you sit down and work out what it actually is you are doing. What is your goal, what do you want to achieve as a creator? do you do this to pay bills, and you need the money from wherever and however you can get it, and get it fast, or is there more going on than that? Money is great, again, do not misunderstand my intent – someone usually does – but there are many creators in SL that are motivated by different things, there are those that cash out, those that just want their money to stay in world, so it pays for their SL Lifestyle. There are those that create to create, and the money is just one big dollop of icing on the cake. There are mixes and all sorts of behaviours that go into running a store in SL and honestly, I have worked behind the scenes with Dozens of them over the years in one way or another. I do not advertise who I work with, people know what stores I have publicly Managed, but there are so many that are not public knowledge, but trust me, I know what it takes, I know the hours, the tears and frustration, the disappointment and the successes, the joy and the fun. I have worked 28 hour days with no sleep for collections, and I know none of it is easy. But no one should feel like they ‘have to’ do anything in SL, because when it comes down to it, I am not sure that anyone ever joined Second Life to open a business because they needed to make ends meet, that is something that usually evolves.
So again, sit down, use a notepad and pencil in RL, maybe even remove yourself from the computer for a bit, and find out what it is that drives you to succeed in your store. Make a list of what brings you happyness in what you do, and a list of what doesn’t. See if you can do more to get more of that joy, and find out what it is that causes the other…you have to also remember that essentially this is a job, so being mad about taking vendor pics, or listing on marketplace or having to box things up is all just a waste of ink, those are parts of the job, so while they may be boring and time consuming they are parts of your trade.
Look at what you are making for what events, or releases, and see if there is a pattern you have missed that brings in more sales.
Look at your store, this is something that people need to do every month MINIMUM. I often see stores that have relics of past events at their landing points, decorations for holidays long gone etc, this shows a customer not only that you don’t pay attention to your own store, but that possibly you haven’t even been in world, so what if something goes wrong? I could lose my money, and they may TP away = loss of sales.
Look at how you present your store, are your vendors dated? are your photo skills more improved than half your store now? if so then take some time to reshoot your ads. Again, boring to some and time consuming, but I have worked in retail in RL for over 20 years and I know that just moving a rack of clothing and restyling a display can completely sell out of an item, just because it seems so pretty and shiny to everyone. Older items may be still incredible work, but if its older skin, and prim hair in the ad, and you had bits of green screen left over or your hand is stuck in your hip, that is not giving that item the attention it deserves. Also check if there are items that could also be downselling your skills, if its not up to the level you are now at, remove it from the store and put it on Marketplace, unless it is selling really well still, but again, reshoot the ad if needed, and maybe even give it some attention as an item, some older outfits or items, could use makeovers.
Anyway, I am rambling now, but customers do want to show you their love, and they obviously do have money to spend, as even going to discounted events can run into the thousands, you just have to show them why coming to your store is an experience too, and show them who you are as well, in ways that makes it not just about getting a thing, but supporting a person who has MAD SKILLZ!
So after all that we went to L&B and I bought these awesome pants, that have a hud with 15 textures, but seriously, even though the plaid is what enticed me I screamed when I realised there was a tux stripe version. Not only that but the next store was Gizza and the first thing inside was a Tuxedo set, and I used to wear these shirts in the 80’s with sleeves though, and leggings or skirts and so this was just my ideal look. Whimsy and I actually exhausted ourselves trying on everything in the mesh department of Gizza, back and forth dressed and undressed – yay for clothing layers buttons on my body hud – it was an awesome few hours, and seeing other girls trying on different outfits. There are full collections at Gizza, which is fantastic, because Whimsy cries that no one seems to do those anymore that much.
I am still feeling my somewhat Asian influence from yesterdays look to this one, and again some sexy Shi hair, and these fantastic Geta from Blah that when they were released I flew over to get.
Props, Furniture, Build :
Between the Lines Winxbox Prop Back piece only – W.Winx & Flair
Ellis – LeLutka
Amelie – YS&YS
Avatar Enhanced Mesh Hands & High Feet, Visage Head and Physique Body – SLink
Avatar Enhanced Skin Appliers : YS&YS
Avatar Enhanced Nail Appliers : set 230 – Flair
Poise – Shi.
Zipp Pants BW Leather set – Lapointe and Bastchild
Macha Outfit Tuxedo – Shirt & Gloves only worn – Gizza
My Elevated Getas ( worn with Slink High Feet) – Blah