In Part 1 of this series I addressed hunt organization. Today we move on to store organization. Things a particular store does on a hunt can make it or break it for me. Let’s walk through it.
Landing: When I land at the store, where am I? Am I right in front of Joe’s Cool Prim Parts, or have I been dumped at a central landing point for the sim with Joe’s nowhere in sight? Simple concept here – make sure people know where the heck your store is. I rarely will search. I just move on. Secondly, is your store even there? If Joe’s has moved to a new location, there better be a sign at the old location or on the blog letting me know that!
The Hint: Ok, I’ve successfully landed and found your store. Hmm, what’s the hint given? Does it help me at all or is it so obscure that Sherlock Holmes himself couldn’t find it? Hint – “It’s near the water” is not a good hint for a sim wide store with 8 lakes and 6 waterfalls. “Look for the guy in green” is a good hint if you have a leprechaun statue in the store, but not if the gift is located by a picture of Batman.
Decoys: A MAJOR pet peeve and turn off for me. Some store owners seem to love to screw with hunters, putting dozens of “decoys” around the store – clones of the object you’re looking for, but containing no gift and often having “cute” messages associated with them, like “Nope! Not this one!” or “Cheaters suck!”. Yes.. this is quite the exciting thing – if you’re four years old. Personally it just annoys me and makes me much less likely to spend Lindens there or even come back. I skip stores with decoys, and I don’t even go the the stores that are chronic offenders anymore.
Insanely Hidden Hunt Objects: If you’re planning to hide your item to the point where it’s going to take three hours to find it, you might want to keep a couple of things in mind. First, there’s kind of an informal three minute rule among hunters. If you can’t find the object in three minutes, it’s probably not worth having. Secondly, yes you get all this cool traffic by having hunters search your place for three hours, but you also get bad PR. People leave your store with a bad taste in their mouth, particularly if they never found the gift after all that time.
Quality: This is one place a lot of designers and stores fall down. I’ve seen too many stores that have outstanding quality merchandise have a gift that was.. well.. crap. Hunt gifts and freebies should not be lower quality. In fact they should be your best work. This is called “putting the item in the customer’s hands”. If I walk away with an awesome hunt gift from a store, you can bet I’ll be back – with Lindens in my pocket. An excellent example is the gift I got from NS6, a store run by Nightshade Sixpence.
I got this avatar as a hunt gift on the Steam 4 hunt, a Steampunk themed hunt run at intervals by Perryn Peterson. The Steam hunts, by the way, are among the best on the grid, if not the best! Superbly organized and full of great gifts, they’re great fun.
Hunts can be made or broken by the merchants participating. If the gift is set out, not hidden to the point of frustration, and not clogged up by a bunch of childish decoys, then I tend to stay even after I have the gift in hand. If there’s things that interest me, I’ll wander around and look and quite possibly buy an item or three. On the other hand, if I spend an hour looking for your gift and never find it, I probably won’t be back.