As I often say… Eventing ain’t easy.
The interesting thing about choosing Frankenstein for this first round of A Tattered Page is that much like the book, the event itself is somewhat of an experiment. It’s a format we’ve never used before and an entirely new concept. We had no idea how it would turn out. All we knew is we would give it a shot and see what worked (and what didn’t) and adjust accordingly.
Though we still have quite a while left in the event, we do have some preliminary data about some of the variables. Here’s some of what we’ve learned:
-Our bloggers are really, truly fantastic. The posts that have come out of this event thus far have been nothing short of spectacular. I want to strenuously encourage everyone to go check out blogger list and check out the posts about ATP. They’re excellent work, and definitely worth exploring.
-We have been asked many times by both shoppers and designers, to create an in-store event. People have complained that the endless cycle of location based events is exhausting (this is definitely true, by the way) and that mainstores often sit idle, cut out of a dialogue somewhere between events and marketplace. This is especially frustrating due to the cost of keeping mainstores open. Land has certainly not gotten any less expensive even as the prices of goods for sale have dropped overall.
– Speaking of Marketplace, we have also been told that if only merchants would list releases on MP at the same time as they are in events, they could potentially increase the number of shoppers by an enormous amount, since “Marketplace is the reality of SL.”
But here’s what we actually *know*, since numbers don’t lie- that last statement? about MP? It’s nonsense. It’s factually and in all other ways false. It’s simply is not true. In fact, the amount of MP sales aren’t even worth the listing time. while an event is running. The only benefit to listing on MP as an event begins is it’s one less thing you have to do later as as merchant. Other than that it’s fully a meaningless exercise. (and because I *AM* that person- I told you so.)
Also, the thing before that? About in-world events? As much as we wish it were otherwise(and we do- that would make our jobs at Org much easier), that’s mostly(but not completely) nonsense. Probably 80% nonsense. But it’s definitely nothing I could in good conscience claim to be true. It simply isn’t. Shoppers simply are unwilling to teleport from one store to another for more than a few minutes unless there’s some kind of additional reward being offered. Without a carrot on a stick (like there is in a stamp rally) there’s no incentive for shoppers to take the time to go to multiple stores, when location events offer one stop shopping of many brands at once.
Another unfortunate side effect is that impulse buying is also negatively impacted. Rather than wandering from shop to shop, picking up stuff that looks good, shoppers are surgically striking long enough to TP in, grab a single thing, and leave in most (but not all) cases. The difference in numbers between in-store and location events is drastic.
So what do we do?
Well, Org had a long (long. long. long.) meeting on Monday to discuss that very issue. What I can say is that we have unanimously decided that under no circumstances are we willing to turn this event into a stamp rally (or any other event of ours, for that matter. Stamp rallies have inherent problems we’re not willing to try and sort out.)
To spare everyone several hours of discussion, what we’re going to do is create a small(ish) permanent home for ATP as a location venue, and we will encourage designers to put their creations both in their stores and there (because the notion that in-store vendors would somehow “siphon” off attendance from an event is laughable. Again, we have the numbers to show how much of a joke that concept is.)
I’m not sure if that venue will be done before the end of this round of ATP, since I’m not on build crew (you should all know by now that’s safest for everyone), but it will definitely be ready for the next round.
The good news is that our design, blog and org teams remain firmly behind the concept of ATP. Everything else is experimentation and details.