18 June 2013

You get the customers you deserve

I'm friends with several designers of clothing and jewelry and suchlike in SL. I'm considering joining their ranks, if I can learn to get what I want out of Photoshop; I've recently learned how to make latex clothing, and it seems there's always room for another designer. But that's not what's inspired me to write.

It seems like themed discount malls are the new hotness. I hadn't heard of this kind of thing before, and certainly hadn't gone shopping at one. Apparently, for a nominal fee, a vendor gets a small number of prims for a couple of weeks to sell stuff that fits whatever the designated theme is. Run well, this supposedly makes money. Fair enough.

However, it's imperative, in any business, to remember who your customers are. In this case, the mall's customer is the vendor; their product is the mall and the buyers who come to it to suck up the cheap bargains. That means the mall needs to treat the vendors well if they expect to actually get them at all, much less for more than one period.

I'm told that there are good ones out there. Genre was the example cited.

And then there's the one that we've been discussing tonight: Total Anarchy. I'm not on their radar. I doubt they care about a small BDSM furniture vendor. Friends gave me a copy of their solicitation notecard.

Merciful $DEITY. The whole thing comes across as "we're small, we're new, nobody's ever heard of us, but we're so awesome that we can treat you like shit and you'll still beg us to let you in!"

Uhm. No. Just no.

They start off with a disclaimer:
First off we are COMPLETELY non politically correct here.  This discount room is not for the faint of heart, nor those who get easily butt hurt. There are no refunds for fees for any reason without reasonable notice - and by notice we mean minimum 48 hours - Got it? MINIMUM 48 hours. Once you commit and submit your info, suck it up and get your shit done. We're not your whores and will not ride your ass. If we were your whores, you'd still have to pay us. Get your shit done and on time.
This comes before the description of what the hell they're even selling!

The whole notecard follows that same approach. They seem to think that their customers are lazy shits who won't get things done on time and within prim limits and in accordance with the rules. If you don't do things exactly right, then they keep your money and give your slot to someone else.

This would be annoying as hell if the amounts involved weren't so utterly trivial: Their store fee is L$50 for two weeks! Fifty Lindens!

Oh, and they're running a contest for pictures, and the winner gets L$175. Tip to the winner: Don't spend it all in one place.

Here, let me explain a bit of business 101. You get the customers you deserve. Treat your customers well, you get good ones who stick around. Treat them like shit, you get shit for customers.

These folks start out by treating their customers like shit. Guess what they'll get? Hint: Not the good ones who won't cause drama. No, they'll get the assholes who'll quibble over fifty Lindens and come in late and then raise hell because they won't get exceptions in the rules made for them.

And that L$50 fee? That just screams "I'm small potatoes!". Reality check here: That's about US$0.20. Twenty cents. I could dig up six months' fees if I'd just pull the front seat out of my car and do the cleanup I keep wanting to. The couch change could buy their entire mall.

Here's some free advice for these idiots: Price your product like it's worth something. That L$50 had me thinking "No. Just no." before I even read the notecard. If you walk into a new car showroom and the sticker price is $10K, that instantly sets your expectations: don't expect Mercedes, or even Chevrolet, quality. Your money will, if you're lucky, get you the quality of a 1989 Hyundai Excel.

The same goes here. Even if they weren't being outright assholes to their potential customer base, that price would have me thinking "Not worth messing with".

Anyone want to speculate on the over/under for how long this thing lasts? They claim to have sold out one round and into the second, two weeks each. Personally, I don't think they'll sell a third, any at all.

They're expecting problems. They'll get what they expect, and more, and it'll largely be their own fault.

1 comment:

  1. At 50L$ per slot, it's not that great of a claim to have sold out a first round. Secondly, I wholly agree with the customer service/treatment aspect. If you treat people like crap you're going to chase away the good customers and attract the assholes and drama.

    Maybe the Law of Attraction at work here...?