And the sad thing is knowing that there will never be enough time in this world to have all the ideas I’ve been hit with lately come to fruition. There are just not enough hours in the day.
But. I’ve been steadily working with my shop and people are really starting to take notice. My traffic has increased like mad since DonPaul put some keywords in my parcel’s description. And when I mentioned a clearance sale in the shop group? WHOOSH. Like humans to hamburgers.
The great thing about a business in SL, as opposed to RL, is that you have time and room to make mistakes. You can have a business doing badly but still open your doors, and learn from your mistakes. You have a limitless inventory on your shelves; you don’t have to buy materials and pay manufacturers or any of that. It’s a different animal for sure, and it’s taught me quite a bit in the 9 months or so since I first opened up shop.
I’ve learned that for all the gimmicks and tools that are out there to get people through your doors, NOTHING will beat a quality product. Flash fades. And sure, you can have 70 campers on your shop site and it can have your traffic/search numbers shoot up the ranks–but do people buy there? Do they stay? Do they come back? Do they recommend you to their friends for anything other than camping? I finally gave in and got a Lucky Chair. But how am I to know what people want to win? Better to let them choose; the prize is $100L gift cards. Something men or women can use.
And I’ve learned that the best product in the world does no good if people can’t find it. Before making your shop “pretty”, I’ve learned, make it functional. It’s like that old saying, form follows function. I’ve learned that my high-res 1024×728 display textures take 20 years to rez and people will lose patience and leave before even seeing them. I’ve cut many down already to 256 wide, some even 128 wide. They show up just as pretty, and they do so sooner.
I’ve learned to put my shop’s name all over EVERYTHING. I want people to remember, THIS item came from THIS store.
I’ve learned the sheer delight of “splurging” on a web-enabled vendor system. Oh, hell, it’s my blog, I can drop names. Hippo is great. Perfect? Course not. But it makes my life a million times easier. Invest the 1750, it’s worth it.
I’ve learned so far that it’s the little things that really make the difference. Thank your customers when they purchase your product. Make things right when they’re wrong. Smile, answer questions, make life easier on customers and they’ll make life easier on you. I get some of my best ideas when I talk to people who come in to browse, and I’ve met tons of interesting people.
I have it clearly in my mind what I want to do: I want to provide quality, authentic, well-researched medieval & renaissance clothing that’s easy to wear and looks great. As long as I’ve stayed on that path, I’ve done well. As long as I’ve strayed from it to try to follow trends or gimmicks, I’ve done poorly. And, I’ve learned that I can be successful and not compromise my principles. I haven’t caved to the Gorean market but for the one time I made veils on a commission, when I was new and didn’t know better. I do not and will not carry silks or slave clothing; I make historical apparel, not fictional (Besides, how many variations on bikini + loincloth can one really do?). Maybe it’s cost me some money. But I can sleep at night and the older I get the more valuable that becomes, let me tell ya.
So, anyway, the ideas keep coming as the renovations continue. If anything’s costing me any sleep at night it’s the busy mind. Busy busy busy. Wish I could make five of me in RL like I can in SL.