Niche Knowledge by Manu (Ptitmanu Beaumont)
Choosing a focus is hard for many creatives. Manu cornered a specialty in a very competitive vehicle market. It may seem odd to drive or ride around when avatars fly and teleport. But wheels contribute to a basic wanderlust—virtual as reflective of real.
2007 was magic in Second Life® as many of today’s successful entrepreneurs rezzed then. I first heard about it when the French presidential candidate had presence in SL. I came to see that.
First a visitor, I then started to build furniture and houses. Also, I like cars. So I became the first dealer for Zsym and Lusch Motors.
Soon, the furniture business became bad because of concurrence. Going more with the vehicles, I built my first motorhome. No one had caravans. I still am the major designer of these vehicles inworld.
Every kind of person buys vehicles SL, even caravans. Customers often buy a new one every year.
About half my sales come from Marketplace. The other half want to visit the store before buying. Marketplace is not so good for business in SL. If there is no shop inworld, then there’s no lindens for sims. I used to rent almost half of a sim. Yet inworld business only pays for the land fees. The sales on MP give me a higher margin.
In real life, I am an accountant. In SL, I use my creativity. It is a good balance. And, I have a base under- standing of marketing as a graduate of business school. Business rules are quite the same in the virtual world: good product, different from others, good presentation and advertising, and good price, of course—except ban the credit. To start a business, search for what no one else is doing.
It is simpler to run a business in SL because you can sell when you’re not here. Online, about two hours a day, I assist customers who IM me for more item information.
It helped business when my store became a SL Destination. To attract sales, I have a group and Facebook. But it is hard to know where customers come from. They don’t tell me after they buy. Hopefully, they see my name in more than one place. Getting the word out and marketing the location is part of the challenge of change.
On this sim, I’ve created a french village for tourists, which brings a lot of traffic. Some become customers. The village is a sort of advertising.
Right now, I focus on my next design. Even though mesh is so realistic, especially for vehicles, I still sell some motorhomes in classic prim. My main business is specialized on caravans; I concentrate all on this sim, though in 2008, I had a lot of land.
Since, many car sellers have appeared, so now that business is almost dead. My business is slowed down to one-third what it was when I was a car dealer. Now, people have shifted to buy cars on MP. Three years ago, I made enough money to take out for real life. Not any more.
In SL, I learn about building and design. My reward for being here is always my next creation. Continually new things evolve the builds—first sculpts and now mesh. I learn everything on my own, with advice from many friends. When designing, I modify existing scripts as a base to save time.
I like realistic presentations. Some stores use rezzers to save prims. Then, the customer chooses which product to see. But I want full functionality in mine—so customers can open doors, sit on the sofa. A cube with item won’t look as a trailer park. Also, if I don’t have this setting, I would not be chosen by Linden as a Destination.
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Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of virtual to real commerce and culture.
Eleanor Medier (avatar of Liane Sebastian)
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Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of second to first life. © 2014 by Eleanor Medier, Sim Street Journal. Articles cannot be reprinted without permission.