Customer feedback?

As designers, we are all, nearly without exception, committed to providing the best experience we can for our customers. We listen to their comments, complaints, praise, and suggestions, and work them in as best we can. We build our stores with the thoughts in mind: If I teleported into this place looking for X, would I be able to easily find it? Is the store ugly? Is it too laggy? among many other questions. We try to be available, answer every IM and notecard, and greet customers as time allows. Some of us even have customer service staff – something I am now contemplating myself.  Some designers spend so many hours helping customers that they begin to feel as though they don’t have enough time to work on new releases.

This is all great, of course. But I feel like I go a long time with nothing but crickets chirping in the feedback department, even when I ask for it. Sometimes I will send out a request for feedback about a new product, some people bite, and I don’t hear back from them. Sometimes I’ll send out the product to the group in general and ask what they think of it – and again, hear nothing. I’ve had my new main location up for a year and haven’t heard a single peep about it, good or bad.  It’ s driving me a little batty, especially the lack of reponse when I offer a product to someone who said they’d tell me what they think (and I don’t mean bloggers, but for example, if I ask the store group or a social group or even a friend) and they either simply say “looks good” or the dreaded nothing at all. Then I’m sitting there thinking, eek, is it so bad they don’t want to lie and say it’s good but they can’t begin to tell me how much they hate it?  Was it simply not their thing?

Without standing in the store being annoying and asking customers random questions sounding like I’m taking surveys, how can I grab people’s attention and find out what they think and where I can improve? Has anyone had any luck in this department?


  1. Posted April 19, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m yawning and heading to my RL bed as I write this but wanted you to know that someone at least READ your post on the feed (wink).

    I don’t think many customers think much about store design. Product design? Yes. So if you are selling things, then you are obviously doing OK. And you don’t have to be selling tons either. There is so much out there to buy (and for free) that we are surrounded by great stuff everywhere. And we all measure success in different ways.

    My only comment from the photos on your blog (I didn’t see the SLURL to your shop anywhere but again I am fading here) is that while it seems good for display in that it is simple which I like, it might like some “character” added — so far as going along with your product theme. Again, I don’t know how many prims you have for decorating ( I have almost none so there is no issue – LOL), but it seems like some touches of “magical” and “fanciful” might be good if that is an option. Then again the picture I am looking out might be your house (wink).

    Best of luck and success to you :D. Remember, YOU are the final authority!


  2. Posted April 19, 2009 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for your thoughts. ^_^ Indeed, I think the pictures you may have seen were my house (was it a Japanese-looking place in the background?) I tried to really play up the cuteness in the decor at my store to the best of my abilities at the time, but am feeling that restless urge for a redesign, or at least some changes, but I have all these fears of changing things and people get upset because they can’t find things or they have trouble with the new layout or any number of things; I know some people who come to me complaining every time one of their favorite stores does a redesign. We’re creatures of habit, for sure!

    Thanks for the well wishes! We can all use a bit more luck and success, I think. ^_^

  3. Maya Southmoor
    Posted April 19, 2009 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    As Chic says many shoppers in SL do not really notice the store design unless its the 1st time they have been there.

    Saying that the store is yours and you can do with it what you will if your getting the urge to redesign.

    In terms of products if there selling then thats good and you have a loyal customer base personally I smiled at the Takuto/Meroko and Haruhi products as I actually know where there from :)

    I’ll echo Chic again in wishing you good luck with the store and everything else. ^^

  4. Posted April 20, 2009 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    Hi, I love your post because I often wondered the same thing about my store. I have a few people who help critique my work before I put it out. I just wish I could get more feedback. How about we swap reviews? I come to your store and answer your questions and concerns honestly and unbiased. In return you come to my store and tell me what you think as well. I can give you samples of my work if you want to look at quality and design. Interested?
    Hannah Yakan ~L&S~ Medieval Gowns

  5. ThomasD Felisimo
    Posted April 20, 2009 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    I think your Haruhi merch is way cute, and I have friends who are fans who have all of it :D

    As for store design, actually it matters a lot to me as a customer (and I have alts who do obscene amounts of shopping!) While it’s nice to have a little character to a store, there can be too much of a good thing. There are some trendy shopping areas out there that are awesome builds, places I’d go to visit if I were in a mood to sightsee. I might even buy a few things while I’m there. But if I’m in a mood to shop? I never go to those places! They’re too primmy and confusing. If I want to drop some lindens, the ultimate store design has to be something like Blaze. Huge signs so that the product details are easy to see, wide open spaces that are easy to navigate, not a lot of vendors obscuring other vendors. So that’s how I designed my store…I tried to put a little character into it, but in general, I think a store succeeds most if it creates an atmosphere without calling too much attention to itself. After all, you’re selling the products, not the displays.

  6. Posted April 20, 2009 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Thanks for all the replies! Hannah and I are trying out a little feedback exchange with our stores which has been a lot of fun! If anyone else wants to do one too, I’d gladly be up for it! I’m sure we could all use as much feedback as possible.

    Thanks also for the warm compliments! It feels good to know people are enjoying what I make. I know I’m highly critical of everything I make, but I never hear what people think of something after it’s been bought, and it makes me fear the worst sometimes, haha :D

    On the topic of noticing how a store looks when you rez in, my thoughts are that if a store looks ugly, cheap, and fly-by-night, that definitely reflects on how I assume the quality of the products will be. If a store is out-of-this-world gorgeous, it definitely makes an impact, but doesn’t necessarily make me think higher of the products, unless their ads are equally impressive. I’ve had a few conversations with people where we’re discussing the most awesome store build we’ve ever seen in SL, and I go oh oh there was this one… it was in the Creator Stamp Rally and had a sci fi theme but I can’t remember the name or what they sold!” That’s not very helpful to the creator, right? Happy Mood made more of an overall impact on me, although it could, in all fairness, be because their items are more up my alley. Their build was so awesome I turned pea green with envy, and their items were so cute I wanted every single one. I tend not to notice the store at all if it isn’t either horrible or fantastic, at least not on my first trip, so I worry most about someone thinking my store looks horrible.

    Yes, I need to learn how to split things into paragraphs.

  7. Posted April 20, 2009 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Maegen your post really brought me back full circle to shopping at your store when I was first in SL. I have not heard a lot about it in the last couple of months but I do have some comments about the layout. I have always enjoyed shopping there because your products are cute, sweet and reasonably priced. I think a cosier design would show off your design sense better with less white. The store is big but not full so parts seem empty. I think looking at stores that have a similer type of product would help.
    Take the same design sensibility that you use in designing your clothes, skins and hair and apply it to your store. Stores that I like include; DP YumYum, Happy Mood (thats a build…wow I went there just to shoot pics),Curious Kitties is a classic which I still love though it hasn’t changed over a year,Mia Snow, Mudshake (for furnishings) and UnTone Quilt (very cosy and cute). A lot of designers are making the stores look more realistic with lifelike racks, shelving etc. Truth would be a good example. Check out the new area itutu. (DP YumYUm is there as well as Den dou and a few others, these are new stores.)I you don’t agree with any of this that’s ok, I’m not an expert and I still like your stuffs!:)

  8. Posted April 20, 2009 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for all the suggestions. :D

  9. Posted April 21, 2009 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Speaking in general, as a customer, I can be shy when addressing content creators. Combine it with the “effort” (it’s not really a huge extension of one’s self, but mentally it can be seen as a bear) to fill in a notecard and turn it in, and you may have the reason for a good chunk of the silence.

    My suggestion would be to use some of the free poll tools that are out there. The SL group one is gangly, but simply bringing up a webpage and answering a few multiple-choice questions is very doable. works well with wordpress, so you can also provide the option for more feedback in comments. When advertising the poll, do it in as many ways possible, combining a notice with the url with a notecard that also has the url and so forth. That way, people viewing things in their e-mail have the link easily available, and the notecard in world makes the link easily copy+pastable. (I can’t do that very well with just the regular notice for some reason, so I suspect others may also have this difficulty).

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