DX Exchange offers SL Marketplace alternative

Note: both DX Exchange and the DX Marketplace have closed.

DX Exchange, the Linden Dollar authorised reseller has launched a new on-line marketplace for  SL goods.

The new DX Marketplace is intended to offer SL users the opportunity to “shop on the internet, order your virtual goods and pay and collect them in SL at our pay-and-collect terminal”, the new marketplace has set itself some pretty big goals:

It is our ambition to create a special place for Pro designers, who make good quality goods, of their own creation to display their collection. A place for them to stand out from the crowd of products and designers in SL.

For the customers, it has to be a tidy, well organised place where they can be sure to find only goods of ‘good standing’.

The site itself is gaining interest from SL merchants – the list of stores is growing almost by the day, although content seems to be slow in appearing in some cases.

The DX Exchange home page
The DX Exchange home page

There are some important points to note about this site when compared to something like the SL Marketplace. In particular, the engine used to power DX Exchange is Magento, and the stores within it are pretty much self-contained e-commerce sites contained within the DX Marketplace “wrapper”. This is important on two counts:

  • Merchants have access to virtually the full range of Magento e-commerce tools. These include not just product listing and sales reports, but options such as customer tracking, , creating and generating custom reports, running a store newsletter and / or blog, a range of CMS functions, setting custom search terms for product finding, and so on. In fact, far too much for a review such as this to cover
  • Each store actually stands as its own e-commerce site, with its own dedicated URL (if people want to use it), its own shopping cart and its own checkout.

This latter point may be confusing for people used to the SL Marketplace. Perhaps the easiest analogy is that while a visit to the SL Marketplace is like a visit to department store, where multiple items from multiple designers can by put into your shopping cart and paid for when you reach the checkout, a visit to the DX Marketplace is like a visit to a mall containing individual shops, where goods must be paid for at each store.

A couple of incentives have been offered to those wishing to use the site:

  • For merchants, all goods can be sold at 0% commission for the time being (commission will eventually be 4%)
  • Shoppers signing-up for the DX Marketplace newsletter get L$100 of a single purchase made via the DX Marketplace.

The Merchant’s Perspective

I don’t intend to cover all of the options available for merchants – as noted above, they really are extensive (and the chances are, many may well end-up not being used). The Magento site provides comprehensive contextual help pages for those who want to delve deeper into things,  all accessible directly from the various admin pages, and I recommend yo take a look through them; I’m only going to look at the basics of creating product listing and provide a few other pointers.

To become a merchant, the first thing you need to do is submit an application form. In return for this, you should receive an introductory note card with details on how to access the admin page for your store and various other notes, an invite to the Merchant’s support group, and a copyable dropbox.

Getting products onto you store listings is a familiar – if slightly more involved – pattern of:

  • Rezzing a dropbox somewhere safe in-world (and leaving it there)
  • Dropping your prepared items for sale into the Contents tab of the edited dropbox
  • Touching the dropbox to upload the details to the website
  • Switching to the website to create your product listings.

This last part requires logging-in to your store’s Admin page and then selecting Catalog > Manage Products from the menu, which will display you list of uploaded items. Once again, it is worth looking at the other menu options that are displayed at the top of the dashboard; Magento offer a huge range of tools and options, so of which may well prove useful to you.

You items will be initially displayed in the listing page under Catalog > Manage Products. To edit an individual item's listing, click on the edit link to the right of the item's entry in the list (circled). Also note the help option to the top right of every page (also circled) - this will take you to Magneto's comprehensive contextual help
You items will be initially displayed in the listing page under Catalog > Manage Products. To edit an individual item’s listing, click on the edit link to the right of the item’s entry in the list (circled). Also note the help option to the top right of every page (also circled) – this will take you to Magneto’s comprehensive contextual help (click for full size)

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A restful hideout

Pinoy Hideout, Lions Hill; Inara Pey, May 2014, on FlickrPinoy Hideout, Lions Hill (Flickr)

Pinoy Hideout is a full region designed by Neva Crystall for Kate Gavin and the Pinoy Hideout group. Open to the public (group membership by invitation), It offers visitors something of everything: discovery, dancing, shopping, relaxing, music, romance…

Given this is a Neva Crystall design, it goes without saying that the island is immediately eye-catching. Two rocky plateaus nestle a handful of boutique shops and the Pinoy Hideout café bar between them. The tops of these plateaus are occupied by a cosy house (open to the public) and a large wooden deck respectively, the latter offering a place to dance and enjoy any entertainments which might be laid-on – although dance systems can be found throughout the island.

Pinoy Hideout, Lions Hill; Inara Pey, May 2014, on FlickrPinoy Hideout, Lions Hill (Flickr)

Below the plateaus, beaches and low-lying grassland encircle the island, offering plenty of opportunity for walking, taking photos, and simply letting feet and mind wander free. A waterfront chapel looks ready to host a wedding, while further around the coast is one of the more intriguing hideouts: the hulk of an ageing ship-of the-line or old privateer, propped up on rocks.

Offshore sit two smaller islands, one a mix of sand and rock, the other rich with foliage and marked by the ruins of an ancient stone tower, another cosy spot held with the curve of the broken walls. Elsewhere, an oriental bath house sits above a bridge leading to a small tea house, the curve of a small inlet sitting between them.

Pinoy Hideout, Lions Hill; Inara Pey, May 2014, on FlickrPinoy Hideout, Lions Hill (Flickr)

I’ve no idea if the “pinoy” is the name is a deliberate Filipino reference, but Piony Hideout offers a pleasing melding of tropical, western and oriental influences stirred and teased into a gorgeous island design which is crying out to be photographed. In fact, there is a photographic contest under way as I write this – information can be found at the teleport landing  point.

All told, a delightful addition to the Second Life landscape; I look forward to popping back again and again – as I’m sure you will as well. Just be sure to explore carefully, as there really is a lot to see – both above and under the waves!

Pinoy Hideout, Lions Hill; Inara Pey, May 2014, on FlickrPinoy Hideout, Lions Hill (Flickr)

Related Links

With thanks to Honour McMillan for the pointer.