Sunday, October 9, 2011

Is inworld shopping dead?

A friend and I recently got into a debate about SL shopping.  She is a merchant who believes there is nothing quite like visiting an actual store.   I personally begin all of my shopping trips on Marketplace.  What happened next lead me to this posting.....we argued as to whether or not inworld shopping will eventually become extinct in favor of Marketplace shopping.

To be honest, I think there is room for both in Second Life.  After all, in RL many of us shop online and still real stores still exist.  However, it depends on the goods and/or services.  For example, all video rental stores and book shops have closed down as more and more people realize they can get the same goods from the comfort of their own homes and with less cost and more variety.

On the other hand, we know there are goods that simply must be purchased at an actual store due to the fact that either we need to try them on, or we want the tactile reassurance of their quality.  In other words, we want to touch and feel them to make sure they are what we really want.

How does that translate to Second Life though?  It's not like you have to try on a pair of shoes to make sure they fit. So how can merchants ensure their continued presence inworld when shopping on Marketplace is so easy and efficient?  I attempted to convince my friend to understand the virtues of being on both simultaneously.

I can tell you personally, some of my favorite stores inworld, are places I found when I was window shopping on Marketplace.  Often times, I will find a random item on Marketplace and it makes me want to see the store.  It's where I go, when I want to explore new and interesting designs.  I would suggest not putting ALL of your stock on Marketplace; simply a sampling to get our appetites going for your goods.  It will draw our attention and lead us to explore your store inworld.

I'm not saying people don't use the inworld search and tp around to see what new places they can find.  I am one that does random tps around just to explore.  All I'm suggesting is that to stay relevant and increase traffic to your store, I would consider posting some of your merchandise on Marketplace.

Well that's just my two cents worth....Going back to my online window shopping now :)  Enjoy!


  1. I personally like both as well. Sometimes I want to see the actual item that I am looking at on marketplace, and its nice to be able to tp to the actual store to look at it. This is especially nice for furniture with poses and huds. I would think that there is still room for both. Thanks for bring up the topic too.

  2. Hi Morgain,
    great blog. was just talking about this the other day and to be honest Marketplace has made me lazy. To lazy to tp to a store. Most of the time I have to find items for photoshoots so I love being able to use Marketplace it saves me so much time then trying to remember a stores name. However, nothing bets shopping in a store and running into friends

  3. hello! I find the topic very interesting: i'm a fashion manager (CEO at MEB Fashion) and i take care of more than 40 stores of our brand. I think that inworld shopping experience has some features that marketplace one can't offer.
    They are of various kinds:
    first: a brand "says" much about its style by shops: the location's choice (not the same to shop in a disco-mall or in a nice village ;)), the shop setting, the decor...
    second: when you go in a store, usually you meet other ppl: it's always a nice thing, moreover, you can take advantage from talking with others about the items quality or style
    third: i always enjoyed a lot my shopping trips, discovering very often new amazing lands and surprising places.
    last (but not leats): in a shop you can find often infos about brand's events or contest, or you can get gifts, special offers and exclusive items or even you can met creators and nice ppl of the staff. Remember that brand owners love to cuddle you in their places :)

    On the other hand, Marketplace is a resource, for sure
    you have there a good search tool to know new stuff and to find things that would be difficult to find wandering for stores

    I see a danger: MP intensive use could hurt sl economy and sl spirit itself: many ppl earns by renting shops, many brands keeps sims or beautiful malls paying by the incomes coming from inworld shopping.
    My final advice to shopping lovers is then: use MP to find special stuff or to have an overview of the offer about something, but visit shops, enjoy their often beautiful atmosphere, meet ppl, meet designers, grab gifts and stay in touch with your favorite brands.
    Melusina Parkin (MEB Fashion CEO)

  4. I am the kind who likes walking. I get annoyed at my friends when they walk into a store and have cammed through all of it in the first five minutes. Takes all the fun out of it!
    I use Marketplace for those things I know well - such as a brand of something I don't really have to know more than the photo.
    I also use it when I know what I want but not where to find it or if it even exists - like that particular shade of color or such.
    Besides, shopping is a social activity. I go with my girlfriends! Can't do that online, RL or SL.
    I like to watch the photos of the designs on the models. Sometimes a 2D shot of a top doesn't really show it to you. Or how a skirt moves?
    Lastly, if I have a question I go digging for the owner or customer support. I could still find out the creator; but many times they are even in the store, or I can ask - is it mod or transfer?
    And finally MP is not fully stocked. A certain brand X will have only half their things in there because it's apparently cumbersome to keep updated.
    Going shopping, mostly still beats MP 10 to 1 for me - without even mentioning the beautiful lands some shops are on!

  5. All wonderful comments and things to consider when weighing your options for shopping. I thank you all for reminding me why it's so much fun to go to beautiful stores with amazing designs and helpful staff; yet acknowledging the helpful tool that MP has become.

  6. Fascinating topic, and I have to put my little bit in. The reason I came into SL in the first place was that I had read an article about it in PCWorld. Among other things, the author described shopping in-world, and suggested that this might be how we someday do all our online shopping: visiting virtual stores with our avatars. But SL shopping has to a certain extent turned a 180. With lag at in-world stores and the ease of searching for specific items at MP, MP has become a quick and easy way to shop. HOWEVER, I totally agree with the other readers. In-world shopping offers experiences that MP completely lacks. So for a fun, leisurely, social shopping experience, oh yea, I'm shopping in world.

  7. Bourbledoll I have to agree on the social aspect. Yesterday I was super stressed, so I went on a shopping expedition with a friend and had a great time!