Despite the expense I have made a commitment over the years to keep an in-world store and have recently had the chance to expand it and used the opportunity to revamp the landscaping. So, if you haven’t been to visit the store recently, come and take a look and hopefully you will be in for a treat. The photos scattered through this post will give you some idea of the changes but it now has a greater sense of wide open spaces, alongside the woodland, riverside feel I have created over the years.
I’ve also spent a lot of time re-energising my houses, updating them with mesh and new features plus I’ve added a new store and a new home called Blossom Cottage. One of the things you will find and I was really keen to create are lots of places to relax and/or hideaway. You will find many places to sit by the ocean or relax in a wooded area or if you prefer, just sit by the Duck pond and watch the ducklings. Plus, you can select your own music channel via one of the many free mesh radios and don’t forget to take one or all of them with you when you go.
A lot of Second Life merchants have abandoned any notion of having an in-world store, mainly because of the colossal expense but also because they’ve made a calculated assumption that they just don’t need one to make sales. Also, a significant proportion of shoppers prefer shopping online simply because it is easier to browse, there’s no lag and quite often many stores are too small to show everything or are just badly laid out.
I’ve thought about abandoning my own half sim store many times, thinking how much richer I would be if it wasn’t for those pesky monthly tier charges and I did try it once when the Marketplace first opened, it didn’t work. Every month since then, almost without exception about half of all my sales come from my in-world store. Selling houses is just different to selling virtual shoes or hats and people will invest a lot of real dollars setting up their homes and are pretty discerning about what they want and need. For example, the most anyone has spent at my Ven River store in a single purchase was $75. And that was to get the house, furniture, garden etc and then a few days later they came back for more. The store helps me to show the houses as they will be used, as a home. The furnishings, ambient sounds, the landscaping and the ocean all add to showing people what it is they are really buying into. One guy recently asked to buy all of the landscaping as well…I should really learn how to make trees!!
It’s not untypical to see people in my store spending 30 or 40 minutes looking at all of the houses, reading all the information, going back to the first house they saw, then going away and finally deciding to buy one of the cottages online. People really want to get a feel for the house, how will it fit into their virtual lives, could they modify it, does it have enough light?
Anyway, you can judge for yourself and it would be great to see you in-world sometime and if I am there just say hello!