The long-awaited Direct Delivery system was launched today in what amounts to a very low-key announcement that hasn’t been promoted to the Featured News section of the blogs and people’s dashboard. In development for around a year or so, the system has been subject to a range of issues, technical and otherwise and – at time – a dearth of information coming out of the Lab, something which itself has caused no small amount of concern from merchants.
What is Direct Delivery?
For those not in the know – and there are some going on the number of “What’s that?” I’ve received when asking if people are ready for its introduction – Direct Delivery is, in a nutshell:
- A means by which content creators and merchants can manage the goods they sell through the SL Marketplace without the need to use Magic Boxes to store inventory in-world. Everything can be handled directly from within their inventory / within their Viewer
- A new means by which anyone buying from the SL Marketplace will receive items they buy / received gifts other have brought for them via the Marketplace, using a new section of the inventory panel / a new folder called Received Items.
The system uses two new elements in the Viewer: the Merchant’s Outbox panel / folder and the Received Items panel / folder. Whether a panel or folder is used is the choice of the Viewer developer.
Torley is back (Go, Torley!) with a video overview of Direct Delivery:
Essential Information for Merchants
As a part of the launch, LL have announced the following for the overall migration from Magic Boxes to Direct Delivery:
- April 2 through 13, 2012: In-world Q&A sessions on using and migrating to Direct Delivery
- April 18, 2012: All listings priced L$10 and lower must use Direct Delivery
- May 16, 2012: Magic Boxes no longer allowed for any Marketplace listing
- ANS is currently NOT supported with Direct Delivery – it will be “turned on in the next couple of weeks”.
Receiving Goods via Direct Delivery
Until the launch of Direct Delivery, items from the Marketplace would require that you manually accept them (via an in-world pop-up) before they would be delivered to the OBJECTS folder in your inventory.
With the launch of Direct Delivery, this now changes:
- Any items you purchase from the Marketplace – or which are bought for you as a gift – will automatically be received; there is no need for you to be on-line when they arrive
- Items will be received into a new panel, called RECEIVED ITEMS, which is either a panel that will become visible at the bottom of your inventory floater when you have received one or more items from the Marketplace (most V3-based Viewers), or which will appear as a folder in your inventory (V1-style Viewers – see image above).
You can then drag and drop folders from the Received Items area into your inventory, from where you can rez items in-world as usual.
- If you don’t see Received Items ether as a panel in your Inventory floater or as a folder, then try following this link and obtaining your Direct Delivery Linden Bear (limited time offer from LL) – note you may have to log-in to SLM to get to the page. This will trigger a delivery to your Received Items panel / floater.
- Until the 16th May, merchants can continue to use Magic Boxes if they wish, and some may opt to do so while Direct Delivery “beds in”. Where this is the case, please note that items purchased from the Marketplace will continue to arrive in the OBJECTS folder of your inventory.
Converting Magic Box Contents to Folders for Direct Delivery
Note that boxed items can still be delivered via Direct Delivery, if required – boxes will be delivered within their own folder.
You can convert your current Magic Box items ready for Direct Delivery as follows:
- OPEN the magic box and COPY TO INVENTORY. This will create a folder of all the items in your magic box – including the Magic Box’s own scripts
- Delete the Magic Box scripts, as they are not required
- Drag the first item from the Magic Box folder in your inventory to the ground and:
- EDIT it
- Copy the name of the item from the General tab (highlight & CTRL-C)
- Create a new folder in the Magic Box folder in your inventory and re-name it the same as your item (CTRL-V)
- Open the Contents tab of the item in EDIT, and select / drag the contents from the item into the newly created folder in your Magic Box folder.
- Make any required adjustments to the contents of the folder itself (i.e. if you have additional boxed items, these can be placed in suitably named sub-folders and the additional boxes themselves deleted)
- Delete the original item from in-world and your Magic Box folder
- Repeat for the next item.
This process is summarised in the diagram below.
- In order for your items to be automatically linked with your existing Magic Box listings, it is important that the folder is given the same name as the original item (hence the advised use of copy/paste above when creating the folder).
- If a folder is named differently to the original item, it can still be linked to an existing listing, but this must be done manually.
- Once you have converted your Magic Box items and uploaded them to the Marketplace (see below), there is no need to keep the Magic Box folder - you can upload to the Marketplace from anywhere in your inventory.
Direct Delivery – Uploading Merchandise via the Merchant’s Outbox
- If your Merchant Outbox fails to recognise you have a store, try the following: log out of SL; log out of the Marketplace; log back into the Marketplace, log back into SL. Your Merchant Outbox should now be active, although it may take time to initialise (with thanks to Sera Lok).
- Viewers that present the Merchant’s Outbox as a folder may not currently work and require a code port.
- This section currently refers only to V3-based Viewers.
Under Direct Delivery, goods are promoted to the SL Marketplace via the Merchant’s Outbox. Depending on your Viewer, this can either be a folder within Inventory, or exist as a separately accessible floater panel.
The Merchant’s Outbox can be found as a folder within the INVENTORY floater, or under ME / AVATAR (V3-based Viewers). If your current Viewer does not display it the Viewer may need updating – although it might be worth checking through your menus just in case it has been moved elsewhere.
When you are ready to upload goods to the Marketplace, you will need to drag-and-drop folders from your inventory to the Merchant’s Outbox in your Viewer. You can do this on a per folder basis, or via SHIFT-select. People using V3-based Viewers may also be able to right-click on individual folders and COPY TO MERCHANT OUTBOX.
Those of a cautious disposition may want to try one or two folders first to test both the upload process and the automatic association of listings with folders.
When you are ready to go, click the SEND TO MARKETPLACE button.
Points to Note When Using the Merchant’s Outbox
There are some important points to note when using Direct Delivery and the Merchant’s Outbox. For full details, it is best to refer to the official Direct Delivery FAQ. Key points are:
- The Merchant Outbox will only handle uploading the first 100 folders it contains.
- Individual folders can contain up to 200 items and 20 sub-folders 3 levels deep.
- If you update the contents of a folder subsequent to an initial upload, you will have to manually re-associate it with your SLM Listing, even if the folder name remains unchanged.
Associating Folders and Listings
Folders that have the same name as the original item should, when uploaded via the Merchant Outbox, be automatically associated with the existing Marketplace listing. However, there may be exceptions.
To confirm the success of automatic association, log-in to the Marketplace and:
- Choose MY MARKETPLACE > MERCHANT HOME from the top menu
- Click INVENTORY on the left side of your Merchant Home page
- Check the DELIVERY column under the MANAGE LISTINGS section of the Inventory page; all successfully associated listings should read “Direct”, and the ACTIVE tick should be green
- If any listings still read “Magic Box”, or the ACTIVE tick is greyed-out, you may manually associate them with a new Direct Delivery item by using the manual association method below.
Manually Associating Folders and Listings
If you have any items you’ve renamed or otherwise altered, and which haven’t been associated with any listing, They will be displayed in the UNASSOCIATED INVENTORY ITEMS panel of your Inventory page (see below).
To associate an item with an existing listing:
- Click on ACTIONS->EDIT for the active listing (i.e. the one still associated with the Magic Box)
- Click the EDIT ASSOCIATED ITEM button on the Edit Item Listing page
- A pop-up is displayed, listing your unassociated items
- Select the item you wish to associate with the listing by clicking on the relevant CHOOSE button
- Update any other information in the listing which may require changing
- Click on UPDATE at the bottom of the page
- The item will have been updated.
Repeat this process for each of your unassociated items which need to be linked to an existing listing.
The original Magic Box item will now be listed as unassociated, and can be deleted (or retained in case you have to re-link Magic Box items for any reason prior to Magic Boxes being discontinued on the 16th May).
Once items have been automatically / manually associated, you can test delivery through your store.
Torley has also produced a video on both converting items and uploading / associating them with listings.
- Blog post announcing the launch
- DD Launch Questions
- Marketplace Direct Delivery Migration Guide – SL Knowledge Base
- Torley’s video TuTORial on Direct Delivery
- Direct Delivery FAQ
- In this blog: