Windlight Marketing Coordinator, Jessi, is back with another article for SL Etiquette 101! This time she discusses how to deal with competitors and competition in Second Life.
Welcome to another helping of SL Etiquette 101! This time I will discuss how to deal with competitors and overall competition in Second Life.
In real life competition is a way of life and in Second Life, expect the same thing. Competition in Second Life can be fierce and ugly “wars” can persist as everyone fights for a bit of the Second Life population to purchase or use their business products and services.
So how can you handle competition in a way that does not give you stress or headaches? I will tell you how!
Avoid smear campaigns: First if you have new competitors or established ones, do not get upset and start a smear campaign. Do not go on social media or send out massive notices about a competitors business products or services. Behaving this way will appear that you are jealous over any new and established competitors. You will be accused of having a huge taste of “sour grapes.”
Do not play the price game: Prices can easily fluctuate in Second Life and you should not instantly lower your prices to undercut a competitor. Remember once you lower prices and your customer base gets used to new lowered pricing, it will be harder to get your customers to buy again at your normal pricing rates.
Do not focus on the competitors: You should not focus on your competitors. This does not mean you should not be aware of them or know what they are up to, but focusing 99% on your competitors means that your own business will suffer in Second Life. Your attention should be on customer service and providing quality products and services in Second Life. Chances are your competitors are not focusing on you, they are focusing on growing their brand name and you should do the same.
Do not contact competitors or their managers: This is a huge no in business. While you may want to reach out to your competitors and flat out accuse them of copying your ideas or business style, this is a huge no. This will only make you seem weak in your competitor’s eyes and remember in Second Life, people gossip and your competitors will love nothing more than to inform their friends that you contacted them. News of such behavior could reach your customers who may think you are a bit “daft.”
So now that we have focused on the don’ts of handling competitors, lets focus on what you can do to handle new and increased competition in Second Life.
Do focus on quality: Emphasis quality with your products and services in Second Life. If you are an original mesh creator, advertise that your meshes are original or how long you have been in business in Second Life, to show staying power and stability.
Do beef up customer service: Thank your customers for using your products and services. This can be in the form of a notecard or an im. If you have many sales, then you can put your managers and other staff to work to help you with this task. You may not be able to reach all of your customers, but try to reach as many as you can.
Do see what your competitors are doing: This does not mean panicking and doing a full on scale FBI type of investigation. It means looking at their products and services. Are they offering something that you do not currently offer? Check out their location in Second Life. Is it more inviting and accessible to customers than your main location? You can also look at their business policies. Are their business polices much friendlier than yours?
Do monitor sales: It is normal that sales may decline if you have a major competitor that introduces similar and complementary products and services as yours. You should monitor your sales but do not take drastic action initially. Sales could and may rebound after customers have gotten over any new competitors. Remember that customers will always want to check out new businesses in both real life and Second Life, but usually they will rebound back to their favorites if they are loyal customers.
Remember that Second Life has almost no barriers to entry for starting a business, so competitors will exist and new ones will always enter the market. The key is stability, quality, and an emphasis on customer service to keep your loyal customers happy and to win over new ones.
In my next dish of SL Etiquette 101, I will discuss why you should RSVP in Second Life to events.
Until next time!