Posted in business in SL, I wrote this, list, Shopping!, SL Marketplace, tutorial

Your Shop: Build and Design for your Target Audience

When it comes to your shop build and design, I’ve got some tips that may seem a bit abstract:

  • Think about your audience.  Who do you expect will buy your product? (For example, if you sell women’s shoes, you expect adult female avatars to be your primary target.  If you sell medieval weapons, you’d expect RPers with an interest in medieval things to be your primary target).
  • Ask yourself what appeals to your target audience, and what won’t. (For example, and let’s stay with the medieval weapons example: cutesy rainbow-sparkly text isn’t what will appeal to your audience; images of castles and heraldic banners, on the other hand, probably will.)
  • Ask yourself what feeling you want to create in your audience.  Again, this can be a bit abstract.  I sell food.  So what I want people to feel when they come in my store is hungry! I want them to be thinking of food, so I make my store look and feel like a supermarket.  If you sell shoes, you probably want your customers to feel sexy and confident. If you sell things for kids, you probably want them to feel happy, safe, and childlike.
  • Now that you’ve addressed that, ask yourself what things–be it colors, images, fonts, etc–help to call up that feeling.  Some examples:
    • Fonts: Make them readable first, then fitting with your shop’s feel.  A shoe shop might use a slender, sleek, trendy font to give a feeling of being modern, sexy, and confident.  A kids’ shop might use a handwritten-looking font (JUST DON’T USE COMIC SANS OMG) to give a feeling of cuteness.  A scripting shop might use a futuristic but formal-looking font to give a feeling of being professional and innovative.  A medieval weapons shop might use an ancient-looking font, similar to runes, to give a feeling of being rustic and tough.
    • Colors: Dark color on light background, light color on dark background.  People need to be able to read your signage.  Beyond that, think about what emotions can be brought with colors.  For example, earth tones tend to be mellowing and “adult” feeling (not in the “adult content” sense; in the “bookshop or cafe” sense).  Bright and pastel colors tend to be whimsical and inspiring.  Cool colors (blues and purples) can be mystical and dreamlike; warm colors (reds and oranges) can be exciting and passionate.
    • Imagery: What are some images/items that come to mind when you think of your audience?  I mentioned the castle walls and banners with the medieval weapons example.  For my shop, I’ve got shopping carts and a checkout counter (complete with moving conveyor!). Think about images that help convey what you want your target audience to feel/think about when they enter your shop.
    • Music: Have you ever gone into a Chinese restaurant IRL and heard Celine Dion?  I have.  It takes away from the intended feel of the place.  Whatever it is you’re selling, pipe in the appropriate music.  I have 80s pop and soft rock in my shop, because that’s what I hear when I shop in local RL supermarkets.

This article is listed in the SL Business section of the Know-it-All Pages, where you can find even more useful information. Go now, and see for yourself!



2 thoughts on “Your Shop: Build and Design for your Target Audience

  1. You should subtitle this “Umpty-Zillionth in a series of helpful posts for the serious AND casual Second Life shop-owner.”

    I’ve signed up to do a big hunt next month at not one, but two themed inworld shops. Fortunately, I have some time off and can concentrate AT LAST on getting stuff set up. You’re right, it’s helpful to think about the mood and the theme that we go for as sellers.

    I do think about colors, fonts, and such, and have settled on a consistent theme for marketing posters for each of the two newer shops – different “rusticated” font for each, keeping in mind that readability is key.

    I may have to tinker with one of them, in fact, as I realized I’d used too dark a color on one of the fonts, which I later transformed all arty and curvy. In order to change the color, I have to recreate the layer.

    Wish there was a class called “GIMP for the Disorderly,” which would be most helpful.

    I saw a food shop in one of my Steelhead sims that looked perfectly cute, but some of the samples set out in the front windows were flat images. Um, even with rudimentary skills they could look more appetizing, yet the location was excellent for a little fun role-play.

    My business factor, Dhughan, was setting up some new product signs in his little rail-car in Shanghai and trying to make the location look homey, yet culturally eclectic, which reflects the “curios from East and West in a Victorian Chinese Steampunk mileu” of the area. It’s definitely coming together more quickly than the “Northwest Coast Rustic” look for my other shop there.

    Main shop has no theme to speak of, but this post is helpful in identifying this as a problem to be tackled after the hunt is “in play.”

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