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Friday, May 22, 2009

Gridwide hunts: Good for business or bad?

So, the SL Discovery hunt was the topic of the poll I ran last week, and the results were pretty much as I had expected. It was evenly divided as to the hunt being “great”, “ok”, and “not so great”.

Of those who answered, an overwhelming number believed, as I did, that there were just too many stores involved, but the majority responding believed that the gifts they received were pretty good. Thank goodness, considering the time investment!

Significantly, and potential hunt organizers should take note, out of 35 people responding, 90% said that they weren’t sure they’d ever want to do a hunt that large again.

Most of the respondents said that their freebie hunting had decreased and, more alarmingly, purchases have decreased.

As a vendor in the hunt, I’ve seen the number of people coming through slow down significantly this week. I assume this means the majority of the people are through with the hunt.

Of more concern to me is the “decreased purchases”, and I’ve seen the decrease in my own businesses this week – my assumption is that people are busy opening the nearly 600 packages they collected, and will be back later. But how long will it take for people to sort through the boxes and really, will they need to shop when they’re done?

We have to assume that “decreased shopping” is gridwide, so how many businesses who did not participate in the hunt are feeling the pinch, and how deep is that pinch? Will there be businesses closing because of the lack of sales?

I want it understood that I’m not picking on the SLD hunt organizers in the least. I became friendly with them through the first couple of weeks of the hunt and I think they did an absolutely amazing job, considering there are something like 579 stores involved, and several of them have moved, and then the endless “Can I get a hint?” chats from hunters. Certainly, their intentions are admirable – to give coverage to the smaller stores that normally don’t get a second look (or even a first). But by not limiting the size of the hunt, I think it has ended up being more of a disservice to those very same businesses.

I’d like to see future hunt organizers take these results for what they’re worth. Granted, the sampling was small, but I think the statistics would be the same had more people responded.

I do believe hunts will continue to have a place on the grid, for both hunters and the businesses, but I truly believe that all these gridwide hunts are causing more harm than they are good. If it takes hunters 6-8 weeks to get through the hunt to your business (despite the fact people can pick any starting location, many choose to start at #1), will your business survive long enough for them to get there, and will they spend anything once they do?

My feeling is that the sim and mall owners should continue organizing their own small hunts, and the huge holiday hunts could certainly continue, but they need to be capped as to participants. I’m still finding Peace on Earth Hunt and Kiss hunt gifts that I haven’t opened and haven’t even started opening the Bunny Hop gifts because the sheer number of them was overwhelming! But interestingly, because the Keys to the VIP hunt was only 50 vendors – all of those packages got opened, filed away, and - pay attention - I’ve already been back to some of the stores to shop.

Just some thoughts, and I welcome your comments! ;)



Savvy_D said...

I have to say, that I lost interest in the hunt after a while, there just didn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.

Like you, I still have former hunt boxes unopened, and can probably go back as far as Halloween! (I know, I am a procrastinator!).

The positive side of the hunt is that a small group of people were able to pull together such an extravaganza. That alone is impressive!

In my hunting, I have met and friend-ed some awesome people. We help each other along the way, and its a great time.

I will agree that the hunts seem to be doing more harm, especially with all the coverage they receive.

For Blog watchers, sooner or later we, (bloggers) post our found treasures, and LMs to the store where they can be obtained.

You don't have to start at the beginning, you can be selective in the gifts you hunt based on the stores that are participating. This is ideal if you are short on time, but tends to void the purpose of hunt itself in my opinion.

New hunts are starting every week, and don't get as excited as I used to. To be honest, I can't really keep track any more and they are losing their appeal to me.

I absolutely love & appreciate that each & every Designer & Creator have donated their time to offer freebie gifts for such occasions, but enough is enough already. We're on Hunt over-load.

Viviane Hobble said...

It's also my opinion that there are to much to big hunts with to much participating stores.

I took part with my store (Viviane Fashion) at the SIITAH and discovery hunt and was astonished about the more I sold within this time. People said to me, that I have lovely and great fashion and that they never heard about my store before. So that's the positive side of the hunts, as they make certainly smaller shops more familiar.

But there is also another side. I tried to take part at several other hunts before, and I have received a refusal with the reason that there are already enough participant stores (or without any reason or even response for my application!). That might be a good idea to constrain the hunts for not becoming to big. But when only big and long-time established shops get the opportunity to take part, the smaller shops who perhaps have high-quality fashion oder items won't get any chance to get a bit more familiar. Thats the negative side of the constrained hunts.

I for myself have decided to participate in the next few weeks or even months not at any grid-wide hunts, as there are to much and they seem to confuse the people more as they lead them back to your store). I'll organize my own hunts with my Creative-Seller-Group (that's a growing group of many high-quality German shops) or to take part at other events, like e. g. fairs or treasure-hunts.

(Excuse my errors, but I'm German and not so familiar with the English language)

Honey said...

I understood your english just fine Viviane :)


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