February 2022 Web User Group summary: Marketplace

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes cover the key points from the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022.

These meetings are generally held on the first Wednesday of the month, with dates and venue details available via the SL public calendar. A video of the meeting, courtesy of Pantera, can be found embedded at the end of this article (my thanks to her as always!). Again, the following is a summary of key topics / discussions, not a full transcript of everything mentioned.

January Work Summary

[Video: 2:00-6:15]

  • Destination Guide:
    • A face-lift for the look of the Destination Guide.
    • Back-end infrastructure work on the DG to make it “easier and more effective” for the Lab to maintain, and to lay the foundations to build now functionality going forward (e.g. improved support for TPVs); restructuring of widgets; improvements to place rankings.
    • These updates should be deployed during February.
  • Marketplace variants (e.g. different colour variants for an item in a single listing):
    • Infrastructure work is now in progress.
    • Work has also started on designs for how listings will work.
    • No date / time-frame for when this will be delivered – but possibly Q2 2022.
  • Part of January’s work has been focused on OS and code updates to keep everything up-to-date.

Search Improvements Project Update

  • The third-party team who will be supporting the work to overhaul Search is now on-board with the Lab.
  • This means the project to overhaul Search has now started, and is liable to run for the next 6 months or so.
  • As previously noted, the aim of the work is to make Search functionality / results more meaningful / relevant.

Marketplace Q&A

[Video: 7:27-20:49]

  • The idea for this is to have an Amazon-style Q&A section on Marketplace listings similar to that seen on Amazon, where questions on a product can be asked and answered either by the creator (or their store managers) or by those who have actually purchased the item.
  • Views against this included:
    • Some Content creators have external social media groups or in-world groups to address questions, etc., so a Q&A section just adds to these channels.
    • Some creators feel they are dealing with enough “spam” and “crap” (words used), and a Q&A section just adds to it.
    • Some creators use alt accounts for different brands they run, and don’t keep their alts active beyond creating listings, so they “are not going to see Q&As”.
  • A suggested alternative was to have amore of a “live chat” feature or a link to contact the creator so that people can talk directly to a creator / store manager.
    • This would appear to suffer many of the “cons” noted above: what about stores run by alts that are not logged-in? A “live chat” capability forms yet another channel of communication; it requires always being logged-in to the MP, etc.
    • It could also potentially be an abuse vector.
    • It misses the potential for a Q&A section to double as a form of FAQ – common questions asked are right their in front of customer’s eyes (if they choose to read them).
  • One creator at the meeting did point out it could be very helpful to newer users, in allowing them to ask questions without the need to try and find whatever alternative channel  – in-world group, Discord channel, etc. – that might be available for questions.
  • It was pointed out that the facility could be made optional: if a creator doesn’t want to have a Q&A section included in a listing (or even an entire store) they could opt to do so.
  • Given the number of unfavourable responses voiced at the meeting, the idea is being taken “back to the drawing board”.

Marketplace Sub-Brands

[Video: 21:03-40:52]

  • Rather than having to use alts to manage listings for their different brands, allowing creators on the Marketplace to have additional stores linked to a “primary” brand name, allowing them to manage all their brands from one account.
  • This would be a much larger project to implement, requiring some substantial infrastructure changes (e.g. the MP is built on the assumption there is one one store per MP account). As such, requests for such a capability have previously been turned down.
  • There was some confusion in the meeting as to what the difference would be between “store” and “sub-brand” and how they might be used.
  • There were also what amounted to two different use-cases:
    • Some would like the capability to run multiple individual stores from just the one account, rather than having to run different store through alt accounts (e.g. a store for their horse-related goods, a store for their motorcycle products, etc), with the option to link between stores if they wanted, and with ease-of-access to the stores from one Marketplace account dashboard.
    • Others expressed more of a “department store” style approach with a “flagship” brand, and then sub-brands for products below it (equating to the different departments in a store), allowing them to “break up” their existing store without the risk of losing existing reviews and feedback.
    • A further suggestion what to provide a means for creators to link their alt store accounts to a “main” account, if they so wish – although this does not solve for those wishing to split their existing stores..
  • Both of these approaches were seen as valid, but left the question on how best to approach them. As such, Reed Linden requested time to take the ideas back to the Lab for internal brainstorming + further discussions at future WUG meetings.

In Brief

  • [41:36-42:35] LL are targeting 2022 Q2 (April-June) for the deployment of Premium Plus. Content, cost, etc., will be announced at the time of launch.
  • [48:02-48:50] Despite fees on Event listings, there are still what amounts to adverts appearing within the events listing. Currently, Events are not subject to any work, and so this is still something to be dealt with. However, events are due to be overhauled “in the near future”.
  • It was re-iterated that LL have largely stopped supporting the SL wiki, other than core pages of information relating to things like LSL functions, policy, etc., and there are no plans to move it to HTTPS.

2 thoughts on “February 2022 Web User Group summary: Marketplace

  1. I’ve always hoped I could separate my MP shop into departments. Until that happens I built my own Website https://enyoshop.com that lets me organize everything into collections and have any kind of links or info I want.
    Within MP, a grungy workaround has been to try to make every item a different price. A savvy shopper will notice that, sort in that order, and all versions of each item come up together.
    Having said all that, isn’t it better to drive people to shop inworld? We’ve got MILES of empty storefronts because of MP. Same impact that Amazon has on RL Main Streets.

    Liked by 1 person

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