On Saturday May 11th 2013, Kitely announced they are opening their new Market to merchants so that the latter can start to build their stores.
The move comes five months after Kitely first announced they would be developing the Market (see my report from January 2013), and marks a further significant step forward in Kitely’s plans to establish a web-based marketplace which will initially allow merchants to sell products to other Kitely users, but which it is hoped will eventual be available to users across multiple grids.
The Market will combine features familiar to those used to using the SL Marketplace or markets such as the (now defunct) Apez and Metaverse Exchange: items can be browsed on-line, then purchased (using Kitely Credits (KCs) or US dollars), prior to being delivered directly to the purchaser’s in-world inventory in a similar manner to SL’s Direct Delivery mechanism. Additionally, the Market will function more like e-commerce sites such as Amazon, where items can be searched for using attributes as well as a category hierarchy, making the search process and drill-down easier and more flexible for both merchants and consumers.
The Market is accessed via a new shopping cart button which appears on the main toolbar which is displayed when users are logged-in to Kitely. Once the Market is fully open, the button will allow users to start browsing stores and goods. However, until then, the button will display an introductory message which explains that access to the Market is currently limited to merchants wishing to create a store.
The blog post provides detailed instructions to merchants on creating their store, using the store home page, and managing, editing and modifying products and listings. Additionally, Kitely are also providing on-line documentation for the Market, which provides information on important aspects of the Market such as product pricing options and listing guidelines.
The Market also enables merchants to include multiple variations of a product within a single listing. So rather than having 5 individual listings for an outfit which is available in 5 different colours, a merchant will be able to create a single listing for the outfit, which includes the 5 different colours. The merchant will also be able to define individual prices, permissions and search attributes against each variation, if required.
One item which merchants will not initially be able to sell through the Market is OAR files.
“You can’t sell OAR files directly,” Ilan Tochner, Kitely’s CEO said, “but you’ll eventually be able to sell entire Virtual Worlds so instead of just having the two virtual world templates we offer you now when you create a new world, you’ll be able to find and buy the perfect virtual world for the activity you have in mind. Once you buy that world a new world will be automatically created inside the My Worlds page in your account, at which point you’ll be able to export it to an OAR file.”
An important element within the Market is Kitely’s new “Export” permissions flag, which is separate to the familiar modify / copy / transfer permissions associated with a product, and allows a merchant to specify whether or not a purchased item can leave the grid. This means, for example, that if a user buys an OAR file for a Kitely world and attempts to save it to their hard drive, only those elements of the OAR file which have the Export flag set will actually be saved – anything which does not have the flag set will be ignored.
Currency Options and Fees
Products in the Market can be sold using either Kitely Credits (KCs), Kitely’s own non-exchangeable virtual currency, or using US dollars (USD), where payments are handled directly via PayPal.