My Consumer Wish List (and Then Some)

I have been sitting on this post for quite a while but now, adding, editing, and refining, but now I am 3 (that’s SL years) I am releasing it. No pictures, no fashion, just plain old tips and riffs.

The following is my consumer wish list (or better yet, my tips for designers) and some other stuff:

1. No pose stands enclosed. I don’t need another one. Really. REALLY! I hate dumping a folder on myself and wearing a pose stand as a hat. I DO NOT NEED ANOTHER ONE. No more! Please, no more!

2. One landmark and one notecard only. Only one. I don’t need 4 of them. I don’t need 4 notecards either. One. Enclose the other notecards in THAT notecard. And don’t give me a notecard that says “Thanks for buying my product.” It’s just one more piece in my inventory.

3. Name your items with your brand. The folder and all items. Spell to the best of your ability. Have someone check it over. I understand that people don’t all speak English. I can get that. But if it IS your native language, learn how to spell basic things like “stockings.”

4. Name the folder and each item with your brand at the beginning consistently. If your brand is P.C., always name it P.C., not p.c or p.c; or PC; (You, and now everyone else, knows who you are who does this and drives me nuts!)

5. Explain how it works. If you have a very complex outfit, give me (in your one notecard) an explanation about how to wear it and the ad photo with versions shown.

6. Enclose your full perm ad with the item in your one notecard. This was recommended by people who use those storage closets and just want to slap an image on the container when they put it away. And now I have one of those.. so pretty please?

7. Make sure you update any moves you make in your picks, especially if you don’t use the classifieds. I rely on picks to give me landmarks for my blog, and some unfortunate souls have ended up in private residences when I didn’t poke around enough.

8. Put the image on the outside of the container of the contents if you have a package. I go on shopping sprees in stores. If I rez 5 packages from you that are all the same and all copy, I may get confused. In fact, I WILL get confused.

9. If you make jewelry, make it trans. Or give the option to select trans or copy. (I know this is debatable, but this is my blog and my taste.) You’re losing sales if I can’t give gifts in world.

10. Do not touch up your ads in any way that will misrepresent the item you are selling on the vendor. That means if your prims are out of place, fix them before you sell it, not in the photo. If you have artistic photos in your store, that is where you can do the artwork. I like seeing interpretations of the outfit but when I look at the vendor, I want to know what I am purchasing without filters or airbrushing. One jewelry maker I can think of has gotten very few sales from me because I can’t see what I am really buying.

11. Don’t drop a landmark on me immediately when I enter the store. I already had one or will make one if I need it. I don’t need another damn thing in my inventory.

Smart things designers do:

1. Wearable self-unpacking packages. But skip the animation. Again, one more thing I don’t need in my inventory.

2. Gifting vendors if you have copy/mod/no trans items.

3. Selling on XStreetSL for easy viewing, searching, and gifting.

4. Clear policies in their profiles. Even if the policy is “see my website,” it’s good enough for me. Keep the policy clear and polite.

5. Prepackaged sets in the folder. Shiny Things (among others) is doing this so I can just throw the darn thing in my closet without repacking. Brilliant!

6. Using vendors that can issue no copy/trans or copy/no trans items.Thank you, Illusions.

7. One notecard with embedded notecards and websites. Thank you, Intan Isotoniks!

8. Giving styling notes. Saves the designer from being contacted about “where is that hair from”?

9. Putting the posing stand and bald hair IN the notecard. (Didn’t Elikapeka Tiramisu do this so long ago?)

10. Multiple language announcements.

Smart things consumers can do:

1. Read the maker’s profile for policies, first. MOST creators would prefer a notecard because it is a means to keep records as well as a way not to miss messages. However, some will state they want an IM. I try to honor their wishes. Sometimes I screw it up but usually I rectify.

2. Address creators politely. The vast majority want to help you out. They don’t have to. It’s much more pleasant all around if you don’t steam roll them and act with humility and kindness.

3. Read all enclosed materials (even if there are four notecards.. grrr) before contacting the vendor.

4. Do not hesitate to give honest but unemotional feedback. I rarely ask for a refund but when I have, I have always received one because I stated my issue clearly, honestly and politely.

5. Do not assume a non-answer is bad service. Sometimes SL acts up, sometimes RL really messes up people’s schedules. If you write a notecard, you have a record of contact (in your transactions as well). Resend in 24 hours if you have no answer.

6. Contact a designer with a notecard first if you see a “bug,” unless it’s a show stopper.  I have contacted about vendors that are not set for sale, missing items, messed up prims, perms, etc.  I WILL IM if I see it’s an emergency. (Like Hair Fair has *just* opened and your new item isn’t set for sale.)

7. Have perspective on things. You spent 250L on something—it’s a buck. One lousy buck. Chalk it up as a loss. Don’t go back if it was crappy content. The time you spend complaining, griping, even writing a notecard was your valuable time too. Ask if it’s worth it. You spent more money on the internet you used today than you did on that content, trust me.

8. Do not complain about freebies, about the frequency of the Lucky Chair, about the Midnight Mania item, about lag in a sim with a bunch of freebie hunters, etc. Ew.

9. Respect that creators are real people. They are not minor deities, they are not playing a game. Many them are deriving a RL income from this that they need and work hard for. They want your business and want to be good to you but in the same token, they are not some bot you go to.

10. Put value on their work. Realize it takes skill, time, resources to make things in SL. Regardless of the supposedly low start up cost for businesses in SL, the increasing costly software and skills needed to make the things we like cost time and money. If you could make it yourself, you would be doing so.


59 thoughts on “My Consumer Wish List (and Then Some)

  1. OMG! I soooo like this post! Awesome job!
    I would add one thing on the wish list though…
    If you’re using clothes racks or hangers in your store to display your items… Make sure you have a photo of some sort in the shop showing the item worn by an avatar… I’ve skipped a LOT of items because I was not sure what they look like on an avatar and since we cannot try clothes (most of the time!) on SL…

    • Excellent point. Though most things ARE taken on avatars and then the avatar skin is removed but… I totally agree. Sometimes those flat images just don’t show enough.

  2. I’ll add one to the wish list too. For prim clothing parts, say where it’s going to attach. Some of us have certain important attachments (collar, in my case) and wish to “add to outfit” in one click but avoid a wardrobe malfunction. And offer a prim piece in alternate attachment points: chest or spine, stomach or pelvis, etc. I’ve seen that more and more now, especially with skirts, and I appreciate it.

    • I agree with you with one caveat: I don’t want more stuff in my inventory so sometimes 4 layers of a top just don’t turn me on. However, for the important “spine” versus “chest” attachment, I totally agree!

      • Even if they just include one… *tell* me where it’s going to go. I’d rather take the time to re-align it, than to have it knock something off unexpectedly. Naming the prim “Jacket (chest)” or “Skirt (pelvis)” would be so helpful.

      • I’m actually more likely to buy if their are multiple layer options… and multiple attachment points… I don’t real care how many inventory items I have (nearly 40k right now it seems). The exception to this is notecards… I end up inundated with notecards… landmarks as well, but notecards are 10x landmarks… and often easier to sort…

  3. So that’s what the shopping bags are for. You can unpack your purchase while you are on no-build land. It’s not just an affectation.

    /me goes looking for a copy-transfer holding box pose.

    • Sometimes. Not always. Sometimes it’s just a silly affectation that puts a useless animation in my inventory.

  4. Great list! Here’s a couple more suggestions for vendors that came to mind while I was reading…

    Don’t pack boxes inside of boxes!

    And another one that hit me in my Linden Home…
    Whatever object you’re using for packing your items, please don’t make that object a high prim object. If I’m trying to unpack in the “privacy” of my Linden Home, I’ve likely only got about 15 prims available, and if I get a “parcel is too full” alert, I’m going to wait to unpack your items till later when I’m somewhere I can unpack it. No unpacking means no wearing, no blogging about the items, etc.

    • I agree about a high prim box. A wearable unpacking package (gah.. the mess I just made with that) solves all those problems–they don’t count towards your prims and can be opened anywhere scripts work.

    • When there’s no need for a box within a box, then yes, I’d agree there.

      But as a designer having packed many megapacks, the sad fact is, SL hates it when you start putting too many things in a box. And when you hit that cap you have to add things one at a time because if you don’t, it might not actually *put* the object there. Which means packing ONE BOX can take 20 minutes (or more D:). 20 MINUTES!!! I don’t even have that big of a shop, and I don’t have 20 minutes to waste packing one single box. So, instead, I put the smaller boxes of the individual items in the megapack, and it doesn’t take forever. I’m sorry it’s annoying, but I’d rather make sure that you get everything AND have time to make you new stuff, then spend all my time packing a box.

      Just, you know, a little perspective ;)

      • I am not sure what you are packing in your shop. Most outfits vary from about 5 pieces to about 30. If that’s taking you 20 minutes, then something hinky is going on. I would get that checked out.

        This is a wish list. You can choose what you like or don’t to employ. And having worked both ends–as a person who works for a designer and a consumer, I have perspective from both angles ;)

      • Ah, sorry Harper, I was actually replying to horatia, I should have made that more clear. As for what I’m packing, I make really large series of eyes, which range between 40 and 80 different colors per series. Each color has 3 items, so … the item count gets up there. And you make a good point, many designers *don’t* have that many things in a megapack, so the issue is essentially moot for most.

      • Oh yes! I agree there with your statement. Good god, who WANTS a folder of 240 things anyway? I think Horatia’s point was more to when you get a shopping bag and then a box in that. That drives me nuts too. But with Ruina’s product (240 eye sets), there is darn good reason to have packages within packages. In fact, I would prefer that!

  5. I agree with everything you posted and thank you for posting them. I would like to add that when designers put in resize scripts in items such as hair and sculptie attachments (skirts, etc), that some of can only go so far with those resize scripts. We need to be able to delete the script and still be able to edit the prims ourselves. I will not go back to quite a few hair designers just because of that. We should have the option to edit our hair the way we want, with or without the script. And if we can’t get it perfect using the script, the hair is no good to us anyway.

    • The one problem with the no mod with scripted items is that the script is no mod, rendering the entire piece no mod. I am not sure if, once you remove that script, the piece then becomes mod, and I think not because the no mod artifact of the script still remains. Can anyone comment on this?

      • OK I have further information that backs Gabrielle’s point. Removing the script SHOULD render a mod item modifiable. So she’s right. Make the stuff mod and drop the script in if you have to. Or just skip it altogether (but then suffer the consequences of newbies messing up their stuff :( )

  6. Excellent post! I enjoyed reading it, and I totally agree.
    I would like to add a comment to number 11 though.
    As a consumer, it annoys me that when I walk into certain stores, I’m ‘attacked’ with a group invite to the store’s group.
    Sometimes I have to come to just to look, and I don’t want to join your group.
    If I want to join your group, place a panel somewhere where I can join.
    Just don’t attack me when I walk into the store door.

    And also, I don’t know if I’m weird or something but store greeters (that are bots or a program/script) creep me out. I’m not a fan of those at all, and they don’t make me feel welcome in the least bit.

    Those two things above discourage me from going back to a store.

    • We have a greeter at the entrance of RFyre but it simply says the quickest pertinent stuff like “wait for rez, sale in back, here’s the hint for the hunt.” One line of green spam. We did have a group joiner (which actually is pretty damn effective) but it was so off-putting to our regular customers we canned it. If something presents me with 4 blue screens when I walk in the store, I am really turned off.

  7. One of the best posts I’ve ead in a while! Very effective.

    One thing I’d like clarified since I’m kind of a dunce… what does this mean:
    “5. Prepackaged sets in the folder”. Sets of what? Prepackaged outfits? or… what?

    • It means that if the outfit is copy/no trans, the creator could ALSO include the entire outfit already packaged so it can be put in storage immediately without someone having to package it up.

      And thanks! :)

  8. If a store insists on using a Hippo vendor, please tell us what layers are available on an item…sheesh!

    I no longer use a pose stand, thanks to the cool freebie pose HUD from Chaos Lotus.

  9. Harper, I love this post and I will be sending a link to the shopkeepers on Adelebsen Isle.

    On point #3 … did you perhaps mean something like “Name each object with a noun” (not great but … that’s why you’re writing.) I am forever asking the shopkeepers to name the objects as “skirt, red dress, blue shirt, sweater, etc” in addition to their brand name (point 4).

    • A noun is a good idea. It’s a shame we don’t have some standard for naming people can follow like color–item type or something. Consistency is most important because the database we use can not distinguish the subtleties of “dress” and “frock.”

      And thanks for your compliment :)

  10. Excellent article!

    I do have one comment – on the request for full perm copies of the ads: We used to do that but have moved to copy and trans only because I actually had people using my images to “make” crests or logos. They literally took my ad, uploaded to image processing program and then used it to make something for their group. *sighs* With a copy and trans version people can still hand out a copy to a friend if they want to take a quick look. Ideas?

    • Ugh. Well no trans works too I guess. For me I like them so I can put them on the closet boxes. But then you want no copy trans so people can share with friends. Anyone else have ideas?

  11. I used to make jewelry and sold trans and copy versions (2 versions of each piece) sold through the same vendor… I also did most of the things you suggest, in fact some are just plain good business sense.

    On the other hand… I’m not a scripter, nor am I ever likely to buy a script… just so you can unpack boxes easier in your hand… And 2… I hate xstreet, I can never find anything even when I know what I’m looking for. To much crap to search through and often far worse images then inside SL. I used to use OnRez, but I stopped selling my stuff after a time, just far to hard to get noticed and actually sell enough to make owning a storefront worth it. I lost ~$120 before I finally decided it wasn’t worth it… xD

  12. One more item I want to add: Designers, don’t use Emerald as a means to find more attachment points. We don’t all use it and if it’s on “chest 2,” it means it will float out in space for those of us who are not using Emerald.

  13. Thank you, thank you, thank you. There is not one item in you list or in the discussion following that hasn’t crossed my mind at least 100 times since I started in SL.

    Is there a way to promote these ideas with other merchants? The first thought would be a group for those who pledge to follow these suggestions. Alternatively, perhaps the pledge of practices could be incorporated into one of the existing merchant groups. I know that I, for one, would probably shop exclusively in stores who follow these consumer-friendly practices.

  14. Fantastic post Harper! This is a must read for creators and consumers alike! I especially thank you for this one –

    “Do not assume a non-answer is bad service. Sometimes SL acts up, sometimes RL really messes up people’s schedules. If you write a notecard, you have a record of contact (in your transactions as well). Resend in 24 hours if you have no answer.”

  15. Pingback: Designers asked to think of the consumer « No where Now here

  16. Of course this list is fashion centric but I would like to see it extended a little. As in the case of household goods like furniture etc I would like to see full descriptions of the product such as the number of prims in an object and if it has poses etc You would be surprised how many shops do not have this information clearly displayed on their vendors. Lack of information must lead to lost sales too.

    I hope the merchants group develops. As a consumer I would definitely be more inclined to spend my Linden in a business that supported these things.

  17. As a merchant myself I thank you, there are a couple of tips that I hadnt thought of but will implement immediately. As a customer I can say that soooo many furniture stores have lost my custom due to the prim count not being displayed, I include the info not only on the advertising/selling box but also in the line under description in edit so that when someone runs the mouse over the object they can read relevant info, EG “5 prims – copy only – scripted pose”. Thank you for a great blog, I shall watch with interest for future info :o)

    • I definitely did a very fashion-oriented blog and it was kind of a list I compiled and then released on my third rez day in a sort of what-the-heck spirit. I *would* like to keep the discussion going, however, for both consumers AND designers. I think it bears repeating over and over that designers are real life humans doing real life work who deserve compensation.

  18. I have enough inventory issues as it more crap packaging..totally agree with you..

    But another..
    It’s a Hat, or a jacket, or part of a it so! I look up hat under seacrh in inventory, I probably won’t find Vict1823v.20 . Some of the names out there make them hard to relocate when needed at a later date.

    • I TOTALLY agree with that. I can understand some non-native speaking designers doing that.. but man, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar ;)

  19. Would please add:
    Consumers: SLX:
    DO NOT, PLEASE, do not leave a poor rating with your ‘request’ you never otherwise sent. A one star rating for an outfit “because it didn’t come with boots, but if it did I would have given five stars” will not get me to help you. TALK to me. I WANT to help. Ratings on SLX can’t be changed or deleted.

    • I agree with that. You should really try to resolve problems with the creator before leaving a negative rating, especially when the rating makes you look silly. (Which it often does.) Unfortunately the star average doesn’t help the creator. Almost every creator wants to do their best job and make their customers happy. Give them the opportunity. Thanks for the comment, Seph.

  20. Wonderful article! Having been designing since 2005, I’ve pretty much got all of the things mentioned covered.

    As for getting the word out, I’ll definitely pass this along to my fellow designer pals, and also, I would like to emphasize your point on actually speaking to the content creator.

    We (for the most part) love to get feedback, want to know what our customers want, and are happy to do what we can to ease everyone’s shopping experience. Its a win-win situation and like a commenter mentioned: a total no brainer.

    As a consumer, I’ve met up with lovely creators who DO customer service, and I’ve met up with (thankfully few) very rude ones. Don’t let the bad apples discourage you from developing relationships with your favorite designers :)

    And yes please please PLEASE let us know if we’ve goofed up on something! Put the wrong skin in the box, missing an item inside or mixed up the colors – anything! You will get what you paid for, and it also helps those coming along behind you if we can get to the problem asap and fix it.

    Again, great article and thank you for writing it!

  21. Verry good list, thanks. What i like to know when i walk into a shop is what parts are MOD. Best is when all parts are MOD. Not only the prim parts, no ALL please. That store can make me “join group” And for footware: same, please dont let me walk on grass with the sound of stone. maybe volume edjust too?

    • I would like shoes on default off personally. But you’re tight about wanting to know what is mod and what is not. Also what is transfer or copy when you can’t look inside the vendor. Thanks!

  22. Ambergris said “Don’t let the bad apples discourage you from developing relationships with your favorite designers ” Actually I have not met a designer that does not care about their customers.
    Every time I have contacted a designer I have felt more than satisfied with the way I was treated. What I have noticed however is that often the start of the conversation is hesitant and I sense they get far more irrational angry complaints than is warranted.
    Also I am a hunt addict and I am totally amazed at some extremely ungrateful things I have overheard from fellow hunters. I have sat at my keyboard in stunned silence and disbelief at some things that have been said by rude hunters.
    In fact I have over heard so much rudeness I am amazed we have such good designers. Even thought I taught Photoshop and Illustrator for nearly 10 years, and am a web designer there is no way I would design for fun in SL there are way too many ill informed critics to ruin your day.
    I hope designers take some of this wish list on board but Harpers reminder is worth keeping in mind Designers are people and as a result of their creations we have had lots of fun and many special moments in world.

    • Thank you for that generous and thoughtful comment. I fully agree with you. I have heard and handled more than my share of thoughtless residents. Almost every designer I have met has been gracious and generous and even more importantly, very engaged. They are the most engaged “players” in SL (even when they are in “seclusion”). Be nice to a designer. They make your SL beautiful and fun.

  23. Actually, I had vendors back in 07 that sold no copy/copy versions but after 2 weeks and answering 1000000000 IMs about how to use them (despite the instructions- which were click the vendor, choose which kind you want, then pay- prominently displayed all over my store) I tossed them and made sure to make it very clear in my store policy and profile that if you preferred a different type of permissions you can contact me and I will swap it. Since I use a web-based delivery device to deliver no matter where I am at (it works on the blackberry, it’s awesome) so you can get almost instantaneous service.

    Is that acceptable?

    Also, I take my jewelry pictures of the item unworn. I offer demos. I think demos, for clothing or jewelry, are very important in selling an item. I know demos are a bitch- they are for me when I did them for clothing- but I may move back to that. If someone offers a demo 9 times out of 10 they get a sale from me. So demos I think are important. Especially since my avatar has a shape that sometimes no matter how well designed the prim object is it won’t fit me correctly.

    Great post. I am repackaging my stuff for a rebranding and I think I will dump everything (landmark, license, etc) in the 1 notecard instead of having them separate like I’ve been doing and change how I name my items too to comply with some of your wishes. :)

    Lots of good tips for creators!

    • Thanks for the positive response. And yes, those vendors are too hard for some people. The web-based system sounds great. Sounds like you take an IM and can get the name and send it right out. Excellent!

      Also demos.. thank you for mentioning that. That IS a big wish sometimes. Or rather, it’s just good business. It helps ME see what I want to purchase. I simply won’t buy hair or skin now without one. But to remind the rest of the world, a demo prim is an extra prim, is extra uploading, is extra creation all over–there is a good reason why some opt not to do it.

      Thanks, kesseret!

  24. I’m so glad this conversation is on-going! I’ve thought a lot about doing clothing demos, but I have no clue on actually how to do that, since I haven’t actually come across any. Naturally for my hair and skins I have demos. I did see how Shiny Things does demos for shoes: pretty cool!

    The majority of my stuff is Modify and Transferable. Last Summer I tried out having no transfer (there was a lot of content theft going on then, and I admit to getting a tad paranoid), but my customers were used to being able to give gifts and whatnot, so I ended up ditching that idea.

    Like Kesseret *blowkiss!* I am always open to doing alternative permissions if a customer needs them. An example would be models who prefer having copiable items (to make runway/photoshoot outfit folders) and not that concerned about transfer.

    I suppose I could give a gentle shout out to consumers to do please take a few moments to read the policies posted in the stores and on the creator’s profiles. A gold mine of helpful information lies therein!

    • RFyre has customers who are accustomed to transfer as well and occasionally we get complaints, but most people get it. That way RP players can transfer to their alts! And gifts ARE so easy to give ;)

      I need to do another blog on this. Like list policies, etc. We have so many great ideas here!

  25. “8. Giving styling notes. Saves the designer from being contacted about “where is that hair from”?”
    I came to a point to put them everywhere…doesn’t works.
    Where is that hair from is “the curse”.

    From consumer perspective I prefer boxed items I can rezz and not wear, simply because I might have a weapon or else equipped in My hands, but I see the utility. Anything else agree completely.
    And i have that thing I buy just mod items, outfits or furniture, but that’s Me. Always wish to be able to customize and insert elements the best I can in an environment, be it to add just that little bit of grayscale. Another pain though is the business pack reseller.
    From merchant perspective, some of those solutions are creativity killing, as packaging might in itself be a creative form, so sometimes not handy, less practical but a bit more spectacular. Now efficiency I do agree, and try My best. I just found very useful adding textures as preview of skin makeups so people can look at them with names, rather than have to rezz and wear each one to recall which was the makeup, am trying to backup with it also older series.

    About demos: more demos, more sales and fair sales, less mistakes.

    Another thing I would like to add is the new layers updates curse. Newer residents are born with tattoo and alpha layers and find it pretty horrible if they are missing, I managed to update My tattoo lines, but am sure many still didn’t had the time to, so some understanding over revolutions could be welcome.

    The basic curse here anyway remains that how easy you try to do things, the ones who wants to find things, do find them, the ones that do not put a penny of effort and do not read anything, even if written in cubital letters, will never read anyway. Sad to say, but true. I still am amazed on how some people is unable to join a group without a group joiner or invite.

    Anyway am late night muttering here, I guess I just get overly passionate over customer care and organisation thematics.
    Great work on that list, shall be printed by SL Gutenberg.

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