You’ll have gathered by now that this is not the sort of blog to come to if you’re looking for fashion or reviews – that’s simply not my thing and, to be honest, even if i had any interest in such things, i’m just not methodical or organised enough to do it properly. Plus, i’m the sort who’ll speak my mind, rather than toe the party line, which does seem to be expected by some content creators when it comes to talking about their products.
However, i do keep a keen eye on what’s going on in the world of sl commerce and creativity, and even when i choose to stay out of the fray, that’s not so say that i don’t have a view on the latest punch-up or take down that’s happening in the virtual arena.
Then there’s my take on things as a consumer – even if i don’t necessarily spill the beans on this blog, the way in which vendors choose to market and support their products really does have a marked effect on my perceptions and habits. Just as in rl, good service is likely to get a sale and a return visit, whilst poor treatment will turn me away, and – if it’s really bad – i’ll spread the message too.
Recently, this contrast between the best and the worst was beautifully illustrated to me in the course of one evening, and i think it’s an object lesson in sl marketing.
i’m not going to be naming and shaming – that’s not my job – and to be honest with you, i think that content creators are pretty capable anyway when it comes to either promoting their products or driving customers away – i’m more than happy to leave them to it, and avoid all the flak that most reviewers probably develop an immunity to – i’m not that thick-skinned, i’m afraid!
So, anyway, i’ve some time to kill inworld when the happy news comes through that one of my favourite designers is running a new mini-hunt at their store. A quick TP, and i was on site and avidly camming, panning and probing for the goodies on offer. This was my third hunt at this particular store, and i knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park… boy, was i right on that count! A long, frustrating time later, found me flopped in a chair in the store grounds, flagging badly, with one clue solved and nine still to go!
“Hello Serendipidy”: a friendly greeting from a stranger who, it turned out, happened to be the talented and, no doubt very busy, store owner and designer whose work had drawn me there in the first place. What followed was a friendly, unhurried and amusing ten minute chat, during which she even offered to give me a couple of pointers to some of the hunt gifts. She went out of her way to be welcoming and helpful even though, (on this particular occasion), i’d not spent a penny at the store – you can bet your bottom dollar i’d be making a return visit, and soon. What a great experience.
Returning back home, brain now frazzled by tortuous hunt hints, i decided to embark upon a little inventory straightening therapy, rezzed a forgotten box i’d picked up at a jewellery store recently, opened it, and was instantly flooded with a wall of spam and unwanted inventory offers… landmarks, store policies, advertising pictures and notecards with information about HUDs, resizing and upcoming releases. Once i’d closed, deleted and cursed at all this unwanted nonsense, i was faced with one of the biggest menu boxes i’d ever seen, detailing once again all the guff i’d been force fed when opening the box, followed by the following charming group invitation:
L$350 to join group
There is a one time fee to join. If you leave for any reason, you will have to pay to rejoin. No exceptions. No spam. Zero tolerance for spam, advertising, rudeness, or any kind of bad behaviour. You will be kicked and prb banned too! Don’t cry to me after the fact!
Y’know, without even meeting the person who packed that box and penned that message, i knew i wouldn’t be visiting their store again, and as for the necklace, well it went in the trash.
First impressions count and in sl, where there’s an enormous amount of choice and almost always an alternative supplier for the objects of our desires, it’s altogether a foolish decision to alienate potential customers at first contact. Had i been the sort of blogger who does review content, then you can bet i wouldn’t be recommending that particular store or products to my readers – i respect them more than that!
So here’s the deal – today’s post is a kind of modern day parable of the wise and foolish shopkeepers. The wise shopkeeper built their business on goodwill, friendliness and a real interest in the needs of their customers: their business flourished and grew abundantly. The foolish shopkeeper built their business on demanding that customers should obey their rules, put up with spam, advertising and rudeness from the owner, (how ironic), and pay for the privilege… guess what eventually happened to their business!
Here endeth today’s lesson.
Did I disappoint you?
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth?
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without
U2/Mary J Blige – One