Merchant Resource: Preparing your products for sale. Permissions... and more
Welcome! This post is part of the "Merchant Resource" series. You can check all the posts in this series by clicking on the Merchant Help page tab of this website.
We have a store name and logo, we have prepared all the basic information in one handy place, we have our store build set in a parcel we rented, and now want to fill it with products. In this post, we're answering to the question How do we prepare our products for sale?
There are several aspects to consider:
- How should I name the items I sell?
- Which permissions will you be applying on your items? How?
- Additional information that you should include and recommended permissions
- Information to include on your product ads
- Are you delivering folders, or boxed items? If boxed items, will you be using an unpacking script, or people should rez the item and then unpack themselves?
- What is recommended to deliver when it's a demo product?
How should I name the items I sell?
You should always name the items you sell the following way:
If you sell your items already unpacked in a folder, this folder should have the same structure. You may use separators if you wish around the brand name, for example, for a folder name:
[Black Tulip] Poses - Action! #1
(I sell different kinds of assets, which is why I'm separating Poses, the kind of item inside the folder, and Action! #1, the particular pose set name.)
The items inside this folder would be named like:
Black Tulip - Poses'n'Props
[Black Tulip] Poses - Action! #1 (2:1 ad)
[Black Tulip] Action! #1
[Black Tulip] Action! #1 - Mirror
(Rest of poses named similarly)
The first listed item is the landmark to the store; we study what to include in this section. The second listed item is the product ad: I always indicate which item is the product ad. Also, if it's not a square picture by default, I also like to indicate the correct aspect ratio so my customers know which one to select from the viewer's options when opening it (in those viewers that offer the option). The rest of items are the poses themselves included in that particular folder. I write the landmark name without the [ and ] separators so when sorted alphabetically, it's not in the middle of the rest of items, but separated of them instead.
You want your store name attached to any item you sell so people associate in their minds your items with your store. You want that when they wear something, rez something... they know, all the time, from where was it from. Also, this makes easier for your customers to search for your items by typing your brand name on the filter bar of the inventory window. You can make an exception with the documentation notecards: ! READ ME ! might pop clearer inside a folder full of items.
About separator characters to separate store name and item name, particularly in the main folder: I wouldn't recommend more than one around the store name because it makes more difficult to see the store name. For example, ..::~~Black Tulip~~::.., while cute/cool (not so much), it obscures the store name. It also leaves you less characters to type the product/item names. The maximum length of an item name (and folders) is 63 characters. The more characters you spend in cute/cool (not so much), the less characters you have left for your product/item names.
Also: Be consistent! Once you decide on one separator (or not) and if you'll write the full store name or just the first letters of it, use always the same naming convention. Why? Imagine the confusion I would cause to my customers if they had purchased several items from me, and the folder names were like this:
[Black Tulip] Poses - Action! #1
Black Tulip - Poses - Action! #2
[BT] Poses - The Dress #1
.BT. Poses - The Dress #2
.Black Tulip. Poses - The Dress #3
If my customers are going to look for the purchases they've done from me, maybe they could miss some of them in their inventories.
You might think: my customer has bought the item now anyway, why should I care if they can't find it later in their inventory? On the subject of naming conventions, marketing consultant Canary Beck offers some advice to merchants about the negative implications of ambiguous product descriptions that might impact word of mouth marketing:
Many merchants like to be creative with their product descriptions - especially around features like colours. Consider the following examples for how hair colour might be described: "carnation", "bee", and "plutonium". Without a visual guide, many of us might not be able to easily decipher what these descriptions mean.
When merchants describe their items with obscure colours names like "carnation", where they could have said red, "bee" what what they mean is yellow, and "plutonium" for what we can only guess means green, it makes it harder for customers to find those items in their inventories. This is especially true when customers assemble outfits by coordinating colours, which many customers do. Native English speakers might find these colour descriptions challenging to interpret, I'd hate to imagine how difficult it must be for those who don't speak English as their first language.
Clear naming also applies to naming objects, she says, If the object is a skirt, then why not put that word in the name. If it's a pair of trousers, add that to the name. Often, when customers will search for an article of clothing in inventory or on the marketplace, they'll type in the first thing that comes to our mind that most simply describes what we're looking for (e.g. skirt, pants, shoes, dress, shirt). Not having this word in your product label will severely limit the findability of that object at a later date.
If we can't find the objects through searches, we simply won't wear them as much. When that happens we are also less likely to talk about them with our friends. Merchants help themselves when they communicate clearly; they should focus their creativity in their products, not their product descriptions.
The moment you add an object to your inventory, it becomes a record in a database you will want to find later. An inventory is not like a closet in real life, so you can't just do a visual scan. Inventories must be queried differently. For this reason, objects that are obscurely named become hidden to us, especially as our inventories swell larger and larger.
Also, if you sell different kind of items, like for example, nail appliers, poses and mesh clothes, it's a good idea if you name your vendors like this:
Your Store Name - Nails - Product Name
Your Store Name - Poses - Product Name
Your Store Name - Clothing - Product Name
This will help you a great deal when you start analysing your sales data (for example, if you want to know not only which is your best selling product, but which is the kind of items you sell the most and how many).
Which permissions will you be applying on your items? How?
Setting permissions for next owner correctly is one of the most delicate and important tasks to perform when you prepare your products (I will just say permissions from now on, to refer to permissions for next owner). A mistake here could prevent your customers from using your product to altering it or making backups. Mistakes in this field could also cause that your own items, or its contents (scripts, animations, etc. included in them) could be sent to others as full permissions or copy/transfer.
We don't want that our customers have problems because of how we've set permissions, and we don't want to deliver things that could be re-sent as full permissions or copy/transfer, so let's talk here about which permissions to apply, and how, depending on the case. (The only exception to copy/transfer would be when including items that should be temp-attachments, or copy/transfer items in object givers. Licenses should allow for this kind of use. If you're unclear about what do we mean with license, don't worry: we'll talk about this in a future post.)
Before we continue: If you've never read a thing about permissions, or feel insecure about them, click on this link for the (long) tutorial that I wrote about the basics on the permissions system. I recommend reading this anyway, because it's possible that you will learn something you don't know about permissions, what can be done and what not.
Now we can continue :-)
The first important rule is this:
What permissions for next owner should we apply to our items?
I've recently conducted a small survey asking this and other questions related to permissions. The sample size is 65, and a 93.8% of people answered Copy and Modify. The rest preferred Modify and Transfer. It's interesting to know that all people selected on a choice including modify.
This means that the majority of people prefer copy and modify items. There are many good reasons for this: You can make copies, you can keep a backup in case SL decides to eat items rezzed on land, you can keep an original in case you want to modify the item.
In the survey I also asked, if you want the item being modify, but the item is not modify, would you buy it?
A 21.5% of people said that they would not buy it, a 40% of people said that they would only if they really liked it, and a 29.2% answered that only if the item could break by being modify. Only a 9.2% of people said that they would buy it anyway. This means that if you offer copy but no modify, some people are going to think twice if they really want your item: the impulse buy factor might be lost.
I've experienced this myself. "I like this! Oh, it's no modify. Hmmm... Well, I think I can live without it". I've also stopped purchasing items from home and garden creators when I realized their items were no modify (often, permissions weren't clear on the product ad; we cover this point in this post).
Cutting to the chase: Unless you're setting up your items for a gacha, you want to make your items copy and modify, even if they're going to be altered by a HUD. For example, if you're creating hair or clothes, even if textures are changed by a HUD, make them modify, because people want the ability of tinting over the texture choices, unlink, and many other creative uses that you may have not foreseen.
You have an example of one of these creative uses in the following pictures from Dutchie's Flickr stream. Thanks to the dress being modify, she could unlink and dress only one part, also resize one part to simulate a skirt that had fallen, creating thus a sequence that allowed her to paint the story behind one of her products for her advertising:
- Click to see Interrogation in Dutchie's Flickr stream
- Click to see Undress in Dutchie's Flickr stream
- Click to see Spread in Dutchie's Flickr stream (NSFW)
- Click to see Bound in Dutchie's Flickr stream (NSFW)
This being said, we're studying now several examples of changing permissions under the copy and modify goal.
Exception: HUDs. HUDs themselves should be no modify because in many cases they rely in the scripts not being reset, ever. The only way to assure this is by making the HUD no modify. But the items altered by a HUD? Modify. Mesh body parts could be subjected to this exception too, because they're very complex items that could be broken if modified by your customers. By mesh body parts we understand here: hands, feet, bodies, heads, avatars...
Changing Permissions of an outfit that is composed of clothing layers only
I'm assuming at this point that you know how to change permissions in inventory of assets that aren't objects. I'm assuming it because now we're going to cheat and use the fast way of changing permissions :-)
I'm showing a product folder named as we've learned before, with all relevant assets in it except the landmark: Remember that we're keeping our landmark in our Basic Information folder, so when it's time to add the landmark, we'll add it from there.
Edit your vendor box/package and click on the Content tab. First, drop your store landmark in contents:
(Make sure that the face on your vendor box that shows the ad, is set to full bright. You want that people see your vendors even if there's a night setting on their viewer.)
If you're going to use an unpacker script, drop it inside the vendor box. Check the documentation of the one you're using. If you're using none but would like to, then keep reading: in the Are you delivering folders, or boxed items? If boxed items, will you be using an unpacking script, or people should rez the item and then unpack themselves? section of this post, I have a free offer for you :-)
Now drop all the items in your product folder (notice that the ad is included!), inside your vendor box:
Once Contents have reloaded, and not before, click on the (big) Permissions button. This opens a little window next to the Edit window:
Make sure that, as on the picture above, you have ticked only the box to the left of the little shirt icon. If you move the mouse over it, you'll see a little label show saying Clothing. That affects all kind of clothing layers: alpha layers, undershirt, tattoo...
Tick the copy permissions, untick the transfer permissions, then click the Apply button, wait for the confirmation message... And permissions have been changed!
If you want, you can right click on any of the Clothing assets, select Properties, and verify:
As we'll see on the Additional information that you should include and recommended permissions section, make sure that the product vendor picture is set to full permissions.
Yes, we're setting clothing layers as copy only. Clothing layers is an example of something that could be easily broken (over the original item), by replacing the texture of the clothing layer. If you want to give the ability of tinting the clothing layer, like for example tattoos, then also tick the Modify checkbox under the Permissions window that we've studied, but remember to tell your customers in the documentation to make a copy before modifying anything.
Set permissions for next owner of your vendor box to Copy:
Your vendor box is ready: Now you can check permissions with the help of an alt. You do this simply by sending your vendor box with all contents to an alt, and verifying on the alt side that everything has permissions as expected.
(You may have noticed that I've written a number on the description of the vendor box: I have as an habit to type in there the full price of an item. It's just a reminder to me. You can give the description field any other use you may want for it.)
Changing Permissions of an outfit with unscripted mesh pieces, alpha layers, and maybe other clothing layers
Let's suppose now that we have the following folder in inventory:
We already know that we have to drop the landmark to our store and the full permissions product vendor picture in our vendor box. We also know now how to change permissions to all clothing assets, at once. There are two things that make this example different than the previous:
- The inclusion of an alpha layer and its textures
- The mesh dress, which is an object
Alpha layers should be copy at least. If you include the alpha textures so your customers can modify the alpha layer to fit it to their particular shape, keep in mind this important requisite that not many merchants seem to be aware of:
The textures to create the alpha layer should be full permissions.
Because otherwise, your customers cannot save them into their hard drives, and hence they cannot customize the textures to create their own alpha layer. Given the nature of alpha layer textures, blank space with transparent holes, there's no reason why giving those textures any other than full permissions. So if you include the alpha textures for your customers to customize the alpha layer, you will provide them always in full permissions format.
Now let's study how to set permissions of the mesh outfit.
As we've mentioned, the mesh outfit is an object, and when it comes to objects and permissions, this is our golden rule:
So we rez the outfit inworld, right click on it to edit, and set permissions under the General tab of the Edit window:
Once this is done, now we can take it back to inventory (notice that it will show up above all the other items):
delete the previous one before we set permissions (to avoid including an item with wrong permissions):
and set permissions of the vendor box itself as we've done in the previous example. Once all is ready, send it to an alt to check permissions on the alt side (which is the customer side).
Changing Permissions of a scripted object
We'll be using this in the examples that follow, so let's learn the common element of them: how to change permissions of a scripted object.
A scripted object is an object that may contain one or several scripts. We'll be showing example snapshots with a plywood box, but the procedure is the same no matter how complicated your mesh is, or which scripts you need to use.
First, we edit the object and drop the scripts and configuration notecards that we could need inside the Content tab:
Now, similarly to the way we changed permissions at once for all clothing layers, we're doing for scripts. Since scripts we purchase will often be copy/transfer, we have to untick the transfer box, leaving them as copy only. In the event the script we purchase is full permissions, then we would untick the modify permission. With rare exceptions (that are noted in the script's license), scripts should not be left as modify.
Finally, we change permissions of our scripted object to copy and modify:
take it back to inventory, and it's ready to be added into our vendor box, then sent to our alt to check that permissions were set correctly.
Changing Permissions of an applier HUD
This case is very similar to the previous: an applier HUD is a scripted object in the end. We'll show how to make sure that our applier HUD will be copy for next owner (our customers) even when we need to drop a no copy configuration notecard in them.
First, we rez our HUD and then we drop the script(s) and configuration notecard as usual:
Then we change permissions of the script(s) to copy/no modify/no transfer:
and the permissions of the notecard to no copy/no modify/transfer:
Then we change permissions of the object to copy:
Now we take it back into inventory. Right click on the HUD in inventory, select Properties and observe:
The copy permission for next owner has been unticked because of the no copy notecard. But we can now tick the box again:
The notecard continues to be no copy, but at least our customers (the next owner) will receive a copy HUD, which means they can do back ups, etc. Drop this adjusted HUD into your vendor box and send it to an alt, to check permissions.
Changing Permissions of an outfit with scripted mesh pieces, alpha layers, HUDs (texture change and appliers), and maybe other clothing layers
After all we've studied, we can see that this is a mix of the cases studied before:
- Changing Permissions of an outfit that is composed of clothing layers only
- Changing Permissions of an outfit with unscripted mesh pieces, alpha layers, and maybe other clothing layers
- Changing Permissions of a scripted object
- Changing Permissions of an applier HUD
Once you're done: Check permissions with an alt.
Changing Permissions of a scripted object with animations
This case is simply an extension of: Changing Permissions of a scripted object. We rez the object, drop the needed script(s) and animations, and use the bulk-change-permissions feature that we learned in the Changing Permissions of an outfit that is composed of clothing layers only case, applied to scripts in the first place, then to animations. We must change permissions for all animations as specified in the animations' license of use.
And yes: Once you're done, check permissions with an alt.
As we can see, having an alt is extremely valuable to check that permissions have been set correctly: send the item to your alt, and check the permissions of everything received in the alt account.
TIP: Setting Default Upload Permissions
If you didn't know about this, it's a good moment to mention because it might be useful: You can decide the default upload permissions of the assets you bring to SL. This means that those permissions for next owner will be applied without interaction on your side, so you can use it to the permissions you use the most.
All you have to do is go to the Me/Avatar menu, then select Upload: Set Default Upload Permissions and tick the permissions you want by default for next owner.
From this moment, all textures, soundclips, animations and mesh that you upload, will have those permissions applied by default.
Important for Gacha Merchants
Gachas, by its own nature, mean that permissions should be set to no copy. You may want to send blogger/review copies of these gacha items. Do you send them as no copy too? If you do that, then you should be aware that bloggers could sell the items before the event opens, whether they blog them or not. Not all of them will do, but the possibility is there. You should set permissions of the review packs to copy/no transfer, and remember: This means that you have to change permissions of contents too!
Additional information that you should include and recommended permissions
There are two assets that you should include always with your products:
- Landmark to your main store. If you have satellite stores, you don't need to include those landmarks. You want to send people to your main store.
- Full permissions texture of the product vendor (also known as product ad).
The latter might come as a surprise to you, but I can assure you that the lack of product vendor in products is one complaint that I hear often coming from people. Your customers want the ad of your vendor included because it's the quickest way for them to remember what the item is, without having to rez. They may want to change clothes without having to go through wearing fifty dresses until finding the one they were looking for, or want to know if that's the furniture piece to rez in the place they're decorating: Having the product ad makes it easy to check what the product is.
Why full permissions?
My question would be, why not?
If it's full permissions, it can be embedded on a notecard. If it's full permissions they can rename it, and they can send the product ad to friends that could be curious about.
There's not a single good reason to not include your product ads, or to include them as something other than full permissions.
I asked this question in the survey I conducted about preferred permissions: "Do you want product vendors included in your purchase?". From the 65 sample, a 78.5% of people said "Yes, please!", a 18.5% of people said "I'm fine with either" and only a 3.1% of people said "No". I also asked, if the product ad were included, which permissions would you like? A 60% of people said that they would like if the ads are full permissions. We've explained before why full permissions is a good idea. Keep in mind that you don't have to distribute all of your artistic pictures, should they exist: People want the product ad.
The majority wants ads, the second bigger group won't complain if you include them, and only a 3.1% of people don't want them. But those that don't want the ad, can delete it from their inventories. All the rest want it, or are fine with having it if you provide it. So you will provide product ads, full permissions.
Repeating, to keep focused, these are the two assets that, from now on, you will always include with your products:
- Landmark to your main store
- Full permissions texture of the product vendor
Apart than this, what else to include?
Any notecard with information about how to use your product and information about your store. I know that writing documentation might be tedious, but if you don't provide with documentation when documentation is required, you will have your customers asking you how to use the product. Save yourself that time by writing documentation whenever this is needed.
You don't know how to start writing this documentation?
Okay, let's help here with some examples, depending on the kind of item you sell :-)
Sample Documentation: Rigged Shoes for Brand X, Y or Z
The [your shoe name here] has been designed to fit with the following feet brands:
Brand X, size X1. You can purchase these feet here: [Landmark, SL URL or both; recommended at least the Landmark, for it's easier to open and doesn't invade others' local chat as the SL URL does when copied/pasted]
Brand Y, size Y1. You can purchase these feet here: [Landmark, SL URL or both]
Brand Z, size Z1. You can purchase these feet here: [Landmark, SL URL or both]
[As many brands and particular feet size as you cover; For example, if you sell shoes rigged to the Slink feet, always say to which size! Not everybody has the three of them. It's your responsibility letting them know which size your shoes fit: Flat, Medium or High]
Mesh feet are not included.
If you have any questions about these shoes, please contact [your name here, or the name of your CSR - Customer Service Representative]. If you have questions about the feet/body themselves, then you should direct them to their creators.
Brand X: Avatar name
Brand Y: Avatar name
Brand Z: Avatar name
[As many brands as you cover: Quote always the name of the CSR those creators list on their profiles. Do not use display names.]
[If your shoes are modify, which is desirable to allow things like tinting, you can add:]
These shoe are modify. You can tint them, delete scripts... (Make always a copy first!), but because they are rigged items, you cannot change their position nor their size while attached.
[Good-bye formula, if you like]
[Your avatar name]
Sample Documentation: Rigged Avatars/Mesh body parts
This [rigged avatar/mesh body part]:
- is/is not applier based [If it's applier based, you should provide a developers kit. Creating your avatar/mesh body parts conforming the SL UVs is always a good idea if you're planning on making it applier based; in that case, you may want to consider the Omega system.]
- is/is not rigged mesh [If it's rigged mesh, add that it's neither resizable nor repositionable while attached]
- allows for some adjustment via sliders [If it's a body and it's fitted mesh, clarify this, for mesh fitted bodies allow for adjustments enough; if it's a head, mention that adjustment is quite limited via sliders and face features won't conform your own face shape sliders]
- works with the default SL avatar
- works with Brand X/Y/Z of mesh bodies/hands/feet/heads/other
What's included with your purchase?
- The mesh body part
- Corresponding alpha layer(s)
- HUD with options (makeups, facial expressions, nails, animations... anything that your HUD controls)
- Other HUDs, if any
- Extra auxiliary items: what are they, for what they should be used
[If special sizing guides are needed, for example to the standard mesh sizes, add which particular adjustments could be needed for the item you sell. If there are also directions to fit with other mesh bodies/hands/feet/heads/ears/other, don't forget to include them.]
[If there are additional kits, appliers, makeups, and other add-ons at your store, mention that.]
[Explain how to use the HUD(s) and extra items, if included.]
[Good-bye formula, if you like]
[Your avatar name]
Sample Documentation: Rigged Clothes/Accessories
This dress/shirt/accessory/pants/etc. is rigged mesh. Included you will find it in several sizes that correspond to standard sizing/fitted mesh/both. Remember that rigged mesh cannot be resized nor repositioned while wearing it.
[Good-bye formula, if you like]
[Your avatar name]
Sample Documentation: Unrigged Shoes/Accessories
The [your shoe/accesory name here] is unrigged mesh. This means that it doesn't bend with your avatar as rigged mesh does/fit the XYZ brand of shoes/other mesh attachment. It's modify, so you can resize and reposition it, and so adapt it to your own shape. [This is, assuming that you will make it modify.]
[Good-bye formula, if you like]
[Your avatar name]
Sample Documentation: Scripted Decoration/Interactive Items
This sample documentation is for an item that could have many scripted features: doors, lamps, fireplaces, animations, music. The purpose is to show documentation with some warnings that come from SL limitations that you should always write, so your customers don't accuse you of creating a defective item.
Also, it may happen that you'll use scripts from others. In that case, this is something very important you must remember: You are not the customer service/technical assistance person of the scripter that made the script you're using. You may (and should) give some guidelines about how to use the scripts with your item, but if they want to modify the configuration notecards, etc. ... Your responsibility ends there, same way as opening your computer voids the warranty. In that case, they should read the documentation you provide them (a link to the script documentation, copy the documentation from the notecard you have), and understand that they're on they're own. You are responsible of your product working as advertised. If your customers feel adventurous and start modifying the object, it is not your responsibility nor you should know the hidden tricks of the scripts to explain to them. That's why there are numerous help groups in SL where users of a tool help other users of a tool.
We'll see more of this when we talk about customer service, but it's a good thing that you have clear that you're responsible for your product working as advertised, giving as many warnings as you can about SL limits when those would affect the functioning of your product under your specifications... And that's it.
This item has scripted doors/scripted lights. Below you'll find directions on their use, as well as things to be careful about if you plan on modifying it.
HOW TO USE THE DOORS
The doors open/close on click. But, beware:
If you change the size of the build, the doors will stop working correctly.
[Depending on the door script you use - like my own doors script - the user could re-set the doors themselves. If this is the case, let them now and tell them where to find the documentation for that.]
HOW TO USE THE LAMPS/LIGHTS
Click on the [part of the item that makes it work]. This will bring up a menu that allows you to change [explain options here]. (Shameless plug: This is my lamps controller script.)
HOW TO CHANGE ANIMATIONS
Some objects use AVsitter/other choice to offer you a menu to change animations when you sit. Simply browse the menu and select the desired animation. Some animations will require that you accept a temporary attachment: the menu might show under the animations menu. If you want to change the position of your avatar, click the [ADJUST] button of the menu, and then [POSE]. That will show you a menu where you select how much moving/rotating your avatar.
HOW TO USE THE FIREPLACE
Click on the [item that activates the menu]. [Explain the options your script offers] (Shameless plug: This is my fireplaces script.)
[In case the fireplace uses particles] If you don't see particles, make sure that particles are visible (Advanced menu, Rendering Types: Particles; if you have no advanced menu, click CTRL ALT D, or CTRL ALT SHIFT D, to have it). If particles are visible, then make sure in your Graphics preferences that there's a positive amount of them. If particles are set to 0 in there, they will not show.
HOW TO SELECT A SONG
Click on the [item that activates the menu]. [Explain the options your script offers] (Shameless plug: This is my music box script.)
NOTE: Since music is played from sound clips, in some occasions lag could make the song to be delayed. If that's the case, the second time it won't fail since the samples will already be in your cache. There's nothing that can be done here, all musical instruments in SL are subject to this problem.
*** IMPORTANT ***
This item is MESH. This means that scaling UP the object could make for the LI to raise. Also, if you unlink the item into separate parts, keep in mind that the LI could raise (at times it may go the other way).
Make sure you have enough LI available before attempting to resize up/unlink.
[If your mesh has custom physics, which is expectable in houses for example, you must warn of the following too]
This item also uses custom physics. If you unlink it, then link it again, you may find that, for example, avatars are unable to cross the door/hall/[specify all the problems they could find]. This is because when unlinking, the physics of the items that had it set to none, are reset, and so when linking back, those items act like invisible walls.
In this build, this is the correct physics type per prim:
[List the prims and the correct Physics Type setting when linked]
*** ADVANCED USE ***
If you are going to modify the item, remember to keep always an ORIGINAL in your inventory!
This build is copy. Modify as you will, keeping an original, in case you make a mistake: You will always have the original to rez a fresh copy and start again.
If you want to change the door configuration, the documentation is here: [link or copy/paste from the documentation notecard; if you have a link, this is preferred]
If you would like to modify the lamps configuration, the documentation is here: [link or copy/paste from the documentation notecard; if you have a link, this is preferred]
For advanced use of AVsitter, please, visit their website: http://avsitter.com/
It uses the version 1 of AVsitter for it's less resources demanding than AVistter 2, in the case of one avatar.
Specific AVsitter 1 documentation can be found here: http://v1.avsitter.com/
[If you use another sitter system, link the documentation of said system, or copy/paste from the documentation notecard]
If you would like to modify the fireplace configuration, the documentation is here: [link or copy/paste from the documentation notecard; if you have a link, this is preferred]
You will see that, in inventory, the item shows as copy/no modify/no transfer. But if you rez it, you will see that the prims are copy/modify/no transfer. The reason why you see something different in your inventory, is because of the scripts and other assets contained, which are all copy/no modify/no transfer. This does not affect at all your ability to modify the prims: resize, tint, add more scripts, rename them (inworld)... It's just how permissions work in SL.
[Good-bye formula, if you like]
[Your avatar name]
Feel free to use these samples as-is (of course, changing brand names when required), or to add more things.
For long documentation, I recommend that you post it in your store blog and provide the link to the documentation in the notecard included with your product. This way, you can update it in your store blog when needed, and your customers have always access to the most up-to-date documentation, without having to send again notecards/update notecards in your vendors/MP. You can also include images more easily in a blog post. Since uploading to the store blog doesn't carry the L$10 cost per image, you can be as generous as you feel like about including as many images as needed to help your customers.
Information to include on your product ads
Your product ad is the first, and at times, only thing that your customers will read. If you sell shoes and your customers see on your ad the logo indicating that they're rigged for X, Y or Z brand, that is giving them relevant information. If you sell hair, clothes or accessories, indicating if it's unrigged/rigged/fitted mesh, is giving them relevant information too. But there are other things that you should indicate in your product ads, particularly if the items you sell are boxed, so your customers can make an informed purchase.
This information should be always on your product ads:
- Clothes: Rigged/Unrigged, Standard Sizing?, Fitted mesh?, Fitted to specific mesh bodies? (List which ones)
- Shoes: Rigged/Unrigged, Rigged to specific mesh feet? (List which ones)
- Accessories: Rigged/Unrigged
- Hair: Rigged/Unrigged
- Heads: Rigged/Unrigged, Applier based? (If they allow skin creators to create faces for them)
- Appliers: Which bodies and generic systems (like Omega) are supported. If system layers are not included, then say this clearly on the ad! Not everybody uses mesh body parts, and they expect clothing layers plus the body parts you say, because this is how it's been for a long time.
- 100 % Mesh? Partial Mesh? Original Mesh?
- Materials Enabled, if it is
- Extra features: texture HUD if hair/shoes/clothing/accessories, makeup HUD if mesh head, animations if furniture (single, couple, groups, how many of each)
- If it's to be rezzed: Land Impact (LI)
- If it's a build: Foot print
- If contents of your item have different permissions than the item: Clarify that
If you're making an artistic product vendor, you may not want to include all that information because it would hide the picture. In that case, make sure that you're adding a sign next to your item with all the required information. If your item is being sold through Marketplace, make sure of adding all that information on the product description. If you're selling furniture sets, list the LI of each piece. Use the Marketplace description for this as well.
As I've said previously, my speciality is not marketing or advertising, and I won't be going into creative vendor design in this post. However, I've asked Canary Beck to share her views on what might work in advertising design for creative product vendors (given everything I've suggested should be included in the ad), and she'll be sharing her advice on that in another chapter.
Try to be as specific as you can, because your customers will hold you to the items you list.
For example: If you say that your item is modify and the script is no modify, they may ask you for a modify script. They may not know how the permissions system works, or they may be asking this knowingly, for a copy/modify script is in practical terms, a full permissions script (and yes, I've had a case on the latter for which I redid ads; the person knew very well what they were demanding to me). The more details you give, the less problems you will have with the occasional customer that looks for holes to demand you more than what you planned to sell.
Also, if you sell mesh items that are rigged for certain brands, or appliers, be always careful of including exactly the brands you've made your item for. If you say that your shoes are rigged for brand A and B, because you're copy/pasting from your ad template, and then you only include shoes rigged for brand A (forgetting to remove brand B from the ad), when a customer complains, they're on the right. You can explain that it was your mistake, but the customer bought the item thinking that those shoes were rigged for brand A and B: You should compensate your customer when your mistake made them purchase something that otherwise they wouldn't have, particularly if your item is boxed (there's no way for the customer to check contents to make sure that everything that is advertised, is included). And of course, fix that mistake as soon as you can!
We'll talk more about customer service in another post, but I needed to bring some examples to make you see clear how important is that you provide exact information on your ads, signs next to your ads, and Marketplace descriptions. Your customers will hold you to the information on your ads and texts.
Are you delivering folders, or boxed items? If boxed items, will you be using an unpacking script, or people should rez the item and then unpack themselves?
If you aren't using a vendor system, you can use a box as a vendor, textured with your ad, drop all the items in it with permissions set correctly (remember to include landmark and product ad), and set the CONTENTS of the box for sale. You can use this chance to also upload the folder to MP, with the same contents.
If you are using a vendor system, unless the vendors and the server part of them (the one storing all your items) are on the same sim, you will need to box your items and deliver the packed box. The reason is that a script cannot deliver folders across different sims, only one item at a time. This is why boxed items are preferred for vendors in different locations (for example, vendors at events).
I would not say that there's a right/wrong choice here.
Personally, I prefer to set a box for sale and sell the contents of it, but when I purchase something and I receive a boxed item, I keep that box as a backup.
If you ask people, you'll find that they prefer quite of a variety of options. Some people want to receive folders. Some people want to rez and unpack. Some people want to rez and have the ad visible on the box, so they know what they're going to unpack. Some people want to rez, touch and unpack. Some people want to wear, touch and unpack. Some people want to wear a HUD that includes extra information about the store, but also unpacks on touch.
As you can see, it's going to be impossible for you to choose a perfect unpacking method in case you decide delivering boxes rather than folders.
But this doesn't mean that you should incur in one of the following mistakes/issues that I've observed in some unpackers:
- Script animation errors when the box is rezzed instead of worn
- Scripts that delete the box you've rezzed after sending you the folder. This is particularly dangerous if the unpacking box is no copy, and the avatar happens to crash before having time of accepting the folder.
- Scripts that don't stop the animation correctly on detach, excluding lag as the cause.
- Scripts that request for permission to animate if the box is rezzed instead of worn.
Also: Keep in mind that people may rez your unpack boxes, even if they're designed to be attached. Do not make your unpacking boxes having a Land Impact bigger than 2. Some people live in small parcels, and if your package has an LI (Land Impact) of 30, 40, or even 78, that could cause problems to them (Yes, I've seen unpacking boxes with those huge values for the LI.)
If you decide that you will deliver boxed items, you will also have to set permissions to the box itself. Remember the rule: Rez the box/package, drop all contents inside, and set permissions for next owner inworld. Then you can take the box back into your inventory.
IMPORTANT: If your items are copy, make your vendor box copy as well. Your customers can always keep an original in their inventory without the risk of being eaten by SL. If you're boxing a gacha item, then that box has to be transfer. But if it's not a gacha item: The packing box has to be copy, same as the items inside.
IMPORTANT: Unpacker scripts are meant for COPY assets. If you include even one no copy asset, do not use an unpacker script. Why? Because the no copy items will not be delivered in the same folder than the copy items. This is a scripting limit and cannot be overcome. The no copy items are sent independently, one at a time, and your customer ends up with a mess in their inventory that they have to sort. Well, you shouldn't make your customer have to rearrange a folder because of your choice of permissions. We've seen that copy is the preferred choice, but if you still decide selling no copy, then do not use unpacker scripts. It will only piss off your customers.
If, after reading all this, you still want to deliver boxes with an unpacker script, the next you will wonder is and which script should I use, that doesn't have the problems you've mentioned?
Answering to that, I've developed a set of free unpacker scripts for several tastes:
- One script to unpack on touch
- One script to unpack with an animation/pose of your choice while the box is being worn
- One simple HUD with information buttons, a spot for your product ad, and unpack on click
These scripts will check permissions for next owner and will not include no copy assets, so it's on you to make sure that your customers will receive all items in their folders.
Get your free copy from here (Marketplace) or at Black Tulip's main store (Scripts section). Please read the documentation and try the scripts until you're sure of how to work with them, for I do not provide assistance for free scripts and tools. (I'm saying this on purpose to illustrate a relevant point that we'll talk about in the next chapter: Store policies. Which ones? How to decide? How to enforce them?)
What is recommended to deliver when it's a demo product?
This could be the only point where everybody agrees (okay: everybody I've read, but the reasons to generalize in this case are safe).
People want that demos are delivered in a folder with contents already unpacked. Why? In some cases, because they may try the demos at the shopping place, to immediately decide if they purchase the item or not. If you deliver a boxed item, you take the risk of losing the impulse buy effect, because your customer has to go to a place where they can rez, and then go back to the place where the demo was if they liked the item. You might be losing sales in that case.
Although it belongs to this section too, we will talk in a separate chapter about vendor systems.
At this point, is important if you've already set up your store blog: the sooner you begin, the easier it will be for you to catch up with your releases. If you feel completely clueless about this, don't worry, we'll soon talk about it.
Now you have your products ready for sale. But there's something more you have to consider: Your store policies and preferred ways for your customers to contact you. We will talk about this in the next post of this series.