Local retail store Tangs becomes the first retailer in Asia to set up a store in a virtual world Second Life, to be launched in March ’09. This is amazing! A 76 year old retailer embracing Web 2.0 means that they are plugged into the changes in consumer habits.
In Tangs virtual store visitor will be buying clothes, hairdos and different looks for their avatars. As Straits Times reported:
Shoppers can expect to see items from Tangs’ ‘signature lines … but with a tinge of fantasy’, in line with players’ desire for a ‘larger than life’ appearance for their online personas. They can pay for their purchases in Linden dollars, the game’s currency, or via a virtual credit card. Credit card bills are paid monthly in Linden dollars, which can be traded for real money. More floors, ‘stocked with usable and desirable items by well-known Second Life designers’, will be added over time, said First Meta co-founder Aileen Sim.
I am sure many small business owners and retailers are not even aware of the power of using Second Life to reach out to their consumers. Before you say you are just too busy running your shop, note the statistics:
- There are 16 million registered users from all over the world in Second Life
- There are many shops in Second Life set up by individuals
- It has amassed a gross domestic product of US$402 million.
You might be saying to yourself that it is too much of a hassle. Here are three reasons why you should seriously consider it:
Do it for brand recognition
With people buying stuff from virtual Tangs for their characters it becomes a brand people will recognise and grow to trust. Tangs is a local retailer and has been for a long long time. But with Second Life, people from all over the world will get to know the brand. Should they visit Singapore, they will go “Aha! I know this store.” They are more likely to step into the store. Should Tangs want to expand overseas, the brand recognition gotten in Second Life would definitely be beneficial.
Abacus, a Singapore based travel agent, already has a virtual store. I doubt they are a big company.
Do it for brand loyalty
If you want your retail brand to achieve a cult status, with strong consumer following, you can’t achieve it in a few months. With more and more people getting an avatar in Second Life you can expect their virtual experience to affect their buying decisions in real life.
Do it to get another cash register
Buying and selling on Second Life is done using their local currency, Linden dollars, which is really pegged to the real dollar value. Your virtual store might be another revenue generating machine too. Who knows?
If you are a B2C kind of business, don’t think too much. Get your toes wet in Second Life. Get yourself an avatar. Play around a little. Once you are comfortable, start working on your virtual store. It will take a while, but who is keeping score…..Of course, you can always hire a techy undergrad to do it all for you.
Till then, hope we bump into each other in Second Life!
Or maybe you are just happy being an old school mom & pop store like this below. Discovered along River Valley road.
(the pic is rotated to the left) It’s no surprise that I found the old lady sleeping in the middle of they day…you can see her leg sticking out