During the TPV Developer meeting on Friday October 10th, the Lab announced that there will be changes coming in 2015 to how merchants interact with the SL Marketplace.
These changes are in part the result of the Lab working to resolve outstanding issues around Direct Delivery, including the fact that not all use cases for Marketplace sales could be solved through Direct Delivery, but still require the use of Magic Boxes.
Brooke Linden was on-hand at the meeting to provide and overview of the forthcoming changes – which are unlikely to be implemented in full until the end of the first quarter of 2015, although broader testing with them is set to commence towards the end of October or in early November 2014.
The new functionality is discussed in detail in the October 10th meeting video. The following notes are intended to provide a general overview of what is planned, and includes audio of key statements from Brooke for reference.
The major aspects of these changes will be:
- The changes are being referred to as “viewer-managed marketplace”, or VMM
- Items for sale on the Marketplace will not longer be stored on the Marketplace servers – they will remain in the merchant’s inventory (so there will not longer be any need to upload stock to the Marketplace)
- There will be a new panel (as yet apparently unnamed) within the viewer. This will replace the Merchant Outbox and provide merchants with more information on their stock (e.g. information on whether or not an item is listed, stock levels on No Copy items, etc), and allow them to carry out the following Marketplace tasks from within the viewer:
- Create new listings with stock
- Associating inventory to an existing listing
- Remove items from a listing
- Unlist goods entirely.
- (Note that other Marketplace activities will still require logging-in to the SL Marketplace web interface as is the case today.)
Brooke Linden provides an overview of the upcoming changes to the Viewer and the SL Marketplace
As a part of these changes, there will be a migration process, which the Lab hopes to make as smooth as possible. This will involve updating current Marketplace listings so that they correctly point to the inventory servers (rather than the inventory store on the Marketplace servers), and which will return items to the merchant, where they will be visible in the new Marketplace panel.
The plan is to make the migration process as automated as possible, with migration times scheduled with larger merchants as stores and listings will be temporarily unavailable during the migration process. However, for those who prefer, their will also be a manual migration process.
Brooke Linden on the migration process once the new functionality starts rolling-out in 2015
As noted above, the Lab is looking to deploy the new functionality around the end of the first quarter of 2015. In the meantime, a project viewer with the new panel will be deployed, most likely before the end of October, and it will be possible to under take testing on the new capabilities on Aditi (the Beta grid) starting wither towards the end of October or in early November.
Testing will initially involve those merchants who have been involved in providing input into the development of this new functionality, together with TPV developers. However, the plan is to then broaden it out and invite other merchants into the testing to generate broader feedback and input. Following the Aditi testing and feedback, there will be a beta phase using the production Marketplace prior to a full migration / switch-over.
Full updates on the changes will be forthcoming through future meetings as well as, hopefully, via a Lab blog post at some point in the future.