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ooc: The Unofficial Guide to Creating a Storefront

A meeting place where national storefronts can tout their wares and discuss trade. [In character]
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United Gordonopia
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ooc: The Unofficial Guide to Creating a Storefront

Postby United Gordonopia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:58 pm

The Unofficial Guide to Creating a Storefront
By: The Republic of United Gordonopia



As a fairly well known, and I hope well respected, NationStates Businessman, I believe that I am qualified to write a guide to this forum. I'll cover several topics, from types of storefronts to what not to do. Please don't go around bashing everything I say, because remember, this is not official. Also, I hope to improve this over time, so feel free to comment, or even criticize.


Table of Contents


1. Overview of the Global Economics and Trade Forum
2. Getting Started
3. Types of Storefronts
4. What Not to Do
5. Customer Service
6. Expanding Your Storefronts
7. Finance and Pricing
8. Storefront Layout
9. Conclusion

Also, if you are interested in creating an Automotive Storefront, check out VL's Guide to Auto Storefronts
Last edited by United Gordonopia on Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:52 am, edited 10 times in total.

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Postby United Gordonopia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:58 pm

1. Overview of the Global Economics and Trade Forum


So you've recently joined NationStates, and you've just finished with your first issue. You look on the sidebar to see what there is to do, and you see the forum button. You decide to click on it and a big list of categories pops up. You look at them, and you see 'Global Economics and Trade'. "Hmm... I like money, let's check it out," you think to yourself. You click, and bam, a giant list of threads appears, with names containing things from weapons to cars to even television stations. Welcome to the world of NS Economics.

Global Economics and Trade is the NationStates forum where everything related to buying and selling products, ranging from weapons to oil, takes place. If you aren't experienced, some of the more detailed storefronts, (a storefront is a thread created by someone that acts as the store for a fictional company), seem confusing, having so many little details that it makes your head spin. These storefronts are often well known for being very high quality. You click on some others, and see that they contain pictures with a couple of sentences each. You may be thinking that that's better, but unfortunately, it's not. These kind of storefronts are often slapped together by new people who want to get into the game. Although it has good intentions, the delivery is just not up to many player's standards.

On this forum, as I said earlier, all of NationState's business takes place. This means that any product created for the game is sold here. You'll also notice that many stores sell things in USD's. This stands for Universal Standard Dollar, the basic unit of currency on NationStates. It's value tends to be tied to the real life United States Dollar, although that doesn't have to be the case.
The other most common currency is the NSD, or NationStates Dollar. It functions the same way as the USD does. Both currencies tend to be "reserve" currencies. This means that they aren't most nation's main currency, but they are used for something by that nation. In this case it's international trade. When you're on this forum, any kind of product you can think of can most likely be found.

Many nations use economy calculators to find out how much money they have. Common calculators include NSEconomy, Sunset, and NS Dossier. But be careful when using calculators. Many nations, both very old, and new, ignore them. Calculators base their data on civil rights, economic, and political freedoms ratings. Of course, a large number of nations keep their actual NS nation separate from the one they role play with.

Now that you know what this forum is, it might be time to find your niche. But before you start your own storefront, read the next chapter of this guide.
Last edited by United Gordonopia on Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:16 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby United Gordonopia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:59 pm

2. Getting Started

So you know what Global Economics is, and you have an idea of what people sell. Now you think "hey, I'm going to start my own business". Hold it right there. Making a storefront takes work, and to create a good one takes a little time. Most "noob" storefronts are little more then pictures with a couple of sentences. These storefronts tend to be looked down upon by the majority of the NS community. The next step up, tends to be little more then a list of products, and few sentences for each. Most new stores tend to be one of those two types. Hopefully yours can be the exception.

After these two styles of storefront, we have the first that isn't frowned upon. It's the kind of storefront that has products, about a paragraph of background info, and a list of specifications like dimensions. These are commonly found, and as long as they are realistic, will attract a fair amount of business.

After that, we get into the really good storefronts. These have multiple paragraphs, and large lists of specifications and customizable features. Storefronts like these are rare, as they take hours to create.

Most people should shoot for the third type of storefront, as it isn't likely to attract a ton of criticism, but it doesn't take to much time to make. Now, before you start though, you should check out the NS Draftroom, an offsite forum where designers share their designs for others to critique.

Before you post on the Draftroom, it's good to actually make your product. To start, come up with a concept. A concept is a title of your product, along with around a paragraph of info. Unfortunately, many storefronts are made up of only concepts. Now take it one step further. You know what you want to make, now make it. Create a price, and a couple of paragraphs of info, adding on to your concept. Then create specifications. For a weapon, this would be a list of things like range,dimensions, and speed of shot. For a restaurant, this would be a menu. Once you've got that, your product is ready for the draftroom. After you've made the necessary changes, then it's ready to sell.
Last edited by United Gordonopia on Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby United Gordonopia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:59 pm

3. Types of Storefronts


There are many possible products to sell. But when you look at almost any store, it's easy to categorize it into one of four categories; military, commercial transportation, resources, and special. In this section, I'll explain these four categories.

Military Storefronts are any kind of storefront relating to weapons, ammunition, or war vehicles. This is possibly the most common type of storefront, and the one that most people make at some point or another. Military Storefronts have a very high potential for greatness, but so often fall short. Military storefronts most commonly fall victim to things like picture spam, and the copying of real life products. Of course, there are many good weapons storefronts. Here are some excellent examples: Lyran Arms, Sequoia Land Dynamics Systems, and Groupe AIR

Commercial Transportation storefronts range from cars (the most common), to commercial airliners), to civilian naval vessels, to even trains. This is another quite common storefront type, and like military storefronts, it often falls victim to picture spam. Some stores in this category are excellent however, and have been around for years. Excellent examples: VLT Automotive Group. N.V., Motor Horse Agriculture. Also, here's a more specific guide focused on automobiles.

Resources storefronts are any storefront that relates to natural and artificial resources. Be it oil (the most common), bulk agriculture, minerals, anything in that category. Resource storefronts are common, although rarely are they given much detail. One of the best examples, however, is Energizia Inc.

Special Storefronts are well, anything else. It can be restaurants, mercenary corporations, banks, hotels, drinks, or conglomerates. There are many kinds of storefronts in this category, and since the new forum, they have been picking up popularity. There are some good storefronts in this category, but this is the most common type of poorly made storefront. Excellent Examples: Gordonopian Enterprises, Freidlicher Bankgesellschaft

Those are the basic types of storefronts. Of course, each type of storefront can be an any of the tech levels. The most common tech levels are Modern Tech, which is accepted to be between now, and 10-15 years from now, Post-Modern Tech, which is typically 50-100 years in the future, and Future Tech, which is basically anything where you travel to multiple planets. Additionally, there are Past Tech and Fantasy Tech. Any storefront can cater to any, or multiple, of the tech levels. Examples of technology from these levels can be found in the Draftroom.
Last edited by United Gordonopia on Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:20 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby United Gordonopia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:00 pm

4. What Not to Do


Before you begin making a storefront, it's important to learn one thing, what not to do. There are so many mistakes that people make, that this part of the guide may be one of the most important. This will be a list of things that you should not do when creating a storefront.

#1, One Liners: There are so many storefronts that have something in the title that say "Nukes for Sale", and the entire opening post says "$5,000 each." Things like that make a lot of people mad, and will lose you a lot of respect.

#2, Take No Criticism: When you're making your storefront, it'll probably be criticized. In that situation, it's a bad idea to say "Screw you, this is my product. Stop spamming my thread." If your product is really that bad, then it will likely be viewed as spam itself by many players.

#3, Plagiarize: Plagiarizing is a terrible thing to do, both in NationStates, and in real life. If someone has spent time creating a product, it's extremely rude to just steal their idea. This applies to real life to, which leads us to...

#4, Sell Real Life Products: In NationStates, it is a widely accepted rule that any nation can make anything that exists in real life. That means that serious players will not take people seriously if you sell things like AK-47's, or Porsche Boxsters. This applies to any product, and it also applies if you just change the name.

#5, Slap it Together Without Research: If you don't do any research, you'll end up building a piece of junk. Take real life examples of what your making, so that you can get a feel of what to do.

#6, Picture Spam: This isn't much better then a one liner. All it usually is is a bunch of illustrated one liners. You may get a couple of customers, but it will never last.

#7, The List: Many storefronts with good products end up like this. They end up looking like one, giant list that you have to scroll through. To avoid this, put things in spoilers, and create links to each product at the top of the page, so they don't have to go through five posts to find what they want.

#8, Spam: This has been done quite a few times. You have 3 or four products, so you make a new thread for all of them. If you have multiple products in the same category, put them in one storefront, it just makes everyone happier.

#9, Promise to give "more info upon purchase": Things like this, and "the rest of the information is classified, so only customers get it" are seen as laziness. If you don't have all of the info you need, why did you post the product? And if you really do have the info, post it. Otherwise you'll lose business to the people who do put all of the necessary info on the page.

#10, Create an Impossible Product: This happens to many times to count. Someone makes a new fighter that "goes 6,000 MPH, and has 50 guns on it, and... and... it's MT". No it's not. Create products that are feasible for the tech level you are selling to. If you want to make a bomb more powerful then a nuke, make it PMT, or FT. If you want a fighter that can go backwards, well, it isn't MT. Products that just wouldn't work don't sell.

#11, Make the Customer Add Up the Bill: Many storefronts state that you "need to do the math". If Wal-Mart had you add up your total in real life, it would be a disaster. It complicates it for the customer, and the store, and if the customer does it wrong, then the store may end up blaming them.

#12, use 'I' and "My": This applies to both the customer, and the seller. It makes it seem like you are posting Out of Character. A more appropriate post would be: "To: Example Armaments, The Republic of Examplistan would like to purchase 100 of your AR-1 Assault Rifles for use by our secret service".
Last edited by United Gordonopia on Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby United Gordonopia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:01 pm

5. Customer Service


So you've opened your storefront. You've got a bunch of great products, they're on the thread, and you're ready to sell. You see that there's a new post, so you go to the first unread post. You experience delight as you read "The Republic of Customerland would like to buy 100 AR-1 Assault Rifles". You post a reply, with the order quoted. And then you think, 'what should I reply with?'. Stop right there. This is where the management part of owning a storefront comes in. Sure you've got products, but what will you do when people buy them?

Many people don't like "order received. Product will be shipped upon confirmation". It just sounds to mechanical. A better choice would be to make it more personal. Add a 'to' and 'from' to the top. Write a paragraph, and say something like 'Sincerely, Joe Owner' at the end.

Packages are a great way to give customers, especially new nations, a ready made package of supplies. Usually, a packet will be for one type of force, like a carrier group, an infantry division, or an armored division. That way, nations can buy packages of the type of force they need, and then all they'll need is the men.

Another good idea is to make a customer loyalty program. Create a system where if people buy from you multiple times, they get a discount. That way, if your product is good, customers will have all the more reason to come back for more.
Next, allow for some customization. Maybe, make multiple levels of a product. Have a base model, and then more expensive models with more features. Also, add some features that they can get for a little extra money. That way, the customer gets what the closest product to what they want.

Other discounts are common as well. Many storefronts will give discounts for things like having less then 100 million population, being allied with the storefront's nation, or buying large amounts of things. It's often good to give discounts when you think they are a good idea. Maybe the nation doesn't have any of the things needed t get a discount, but they're getting crushed by Griffincrest. That would be a time to give a discount.

Finally, answer questions. In all likeliness, someone will have a question about your product. "Does it work if I do this to it?", "How fast does it go in these conditions?". You need to be able to answer them. If you can do that, then you'll make your customers much more happy.
Last edited by United Gordonopia on Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby United Gordonopia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:01 pm

6. Expanding Your Storefront


So you've done everything right, and you now have a steady flow of customers. But you keep thinking to yourself, "I need to make this better". Now it's time for expansion.

The first thing to do when you make a storefront is to create extra posts that say -reserved for future expansion-. That way, if you
someday create a new product, or type of product, you have room. All you need to do is edit the post, and replace it with the new products. Otherwise, your store will be a mess.
Next, you need to always think about improving existing products. If you're making cars, create new model years. If it's weapons, upgrade them. If you make the storefront, and don't ever touch the already made products, then you may end up falling behind others, and even your own newer products.

Another type of expansion is buying out. Once your company gets large, you may want to think about buying competitors. You may notice that there are large companies that go around to each new storefront in their industry and offer to buy them out. If you grow large enough, that may be you some day. That way, you can be safe knowing that the competition is yours.

Joint Ventures are a way to expand a store without buying someone out. Many successful storefronts, like Universal Defense, are the product of two or more designers working together. The benefits of a joint venture are more designs in the storefront, more management so the storefront can run even when one of you isn't around, and the possibility of less work on each members part. Of course, a joint venture will mean that you wont have as much power as you will if you have if you go it alone, but in many cases, the benefits outweigh the shortcomings.
Last edited by United Gordonopia on Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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United Gordonopia
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Postby United Gordonopia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:02 pm

7. Finance and Pricing


Finance and Pricing is one thing that is messed up a lot. The biggest problem is problems with pricing. To many times, a new storefront will be selling assault rifles for $100. A real life assault rifle costs in the thousands of dollars. You need to do research, find real life equivalents to your product, and find out how much they cost. Price them similarly. That way, people won't talk about how you're selling something for to much, or to little money, and clog up your storefront with Out of Character posts.

Undercutting the competition is common business practice, but can you really afford to do it? There are some giant companies out there, who can afford to make things more cheaply then you. In the oil market, companies like the 13 corporation, multinational, coalition oil sell their oil for $28 per barrel. How would you undercut them? Slave labor? Ok, but you still have to house, feed, cloth, and take care of the slaves. Undercutting may be possible for a short time, but it isn't sustainable.

Domestic Production Rights are something that people are often confused on. A DPR is something a storefront sells that allows customers to make the product. This is a good thing if that nation plans on getting a lot of the product they are buying the DPR for. This does not mean that they can sell that product. You can also sell the rights for that. Pricing for a DPR should usually be the price of 1,000,000 of the product for small arms, 10,000 for vehicles, 1,000 for aircraft, and 100 for naval vessels.

Your storefronts finances are important. Of course, in almost every storefront, finances are underplayed. How is an upstart company from a 5 million person nation able to make thousands of tanks, when the total cost of those tanks is more then their entire nation's GDP. A company can only be so large in a capitalist economy. Even a government owned company can only devote so much of its resources to a certain industry. Realistically, a company can only make up a couple percent of your nations GDP, and that would be a huge company. Even if its a government owned super-company that controls your entire economy, can it really devote all of its resources to making weapons? Your people will still need food, shelter, and other necessities, and possibly luxuries as well.
Last edited by United Gordonopia on Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby United Gordonopia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:02 pm

8. Storefront Layout


This section of the guide deals with how to create a layout for your storefront. It will cover basic layout strategies.

To begin with, it’s always a good idea to have your company’s title or a logo at the top. It helps to give the storefront a professional feel, and allows people to know your company’s full name (especially if you can’t fit it in the thread title). After that, you’ll want to put things like corporate history and information. Following an info section, create some sort of table of contents, allowing for easy navigation. It’s also a good idea to put a customer list in the first post.

After the first post, you’ll want to start making posts for products. Figure out how many products you want, and add a couple for expansion. Create that many posts ahead of time. Once you have the posts created, put in the product information. Each type of product should have it’s own post (i.e. aircraft in a weapons store should be in the same post).

For things like longs specification forms, it’s always a good idea to use spoilers. In fact, whenever you have a long list in your storefront, consider spoilers as a way to reduce the eyesore.

Once you have your product posts created, it’s time to complete your table of contents. For each post, make an entry in the table of contents. Link each entry to it’s respective post. This will allow customers to go to items they want, without scrolling through the whole store.

Images are always a good idea. When making a product, it’s often a good idea to center the images. Unless a product has multiple images, it’s also a good idea to put the product image at the top or bottom of the product’s info. Also, if you want the posts to be shorter, you can even put the images in their own spoilers.
Last edited by United Gordonopia on Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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United Gordonopia
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Postby United Gordonopia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:07 pm

9. Conclusion



Well, you've done it. Your storefront is a success. Now its time for you to be the teacher. Take the knowledge that you've learned, and apply it to helping others. Next time you see a new storefront that just isn't up to par, don't criticize them on every thing, help them. You were like them once. Give them tips on how to improve, heck, even refer them to this guide if you think it'll help. If everyone does things like this, Global Economics will become a much better place.
Last edited by United Gordonopia on Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Seculartopia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:08 pm

[OOC: Sorry if im posting too soon, just TG me and i will delete this post ;)]

I think it looks good. And no matter what, save your complaints until after the person says clearly "OPEN" or "POST NOW", not when its reserved. Its bad netiquette, or forum etiquette appropriately.

If it wasnt specifically reserved, you could post, but if its reserved (as this one said) then wait until you post.
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Postby United Gordonopia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:11 pm

Seculartopia wrote:[OOC: Sorry if im posting too soon, just TG me and i will delete this post ;)]

I think it looks good. And no matter what, save your complaints until after the person says clearly "OPEN" or "POST NOW", not when its reserved. Its bad netiquette, or forum etiquette appropriately.


I already asked the mods to delete it. All in the interest of keeping the guide smooth. And btw, this is an OOC thread, no need to use OOC tags.
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Postby Democratic Colonies » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:08 pm

Well done, United Gordonopia, this is a wondrously helpful document for all of us and should help improve the quality of storefronts here, particularly if it becomes a sticky.

As you do ask for criticism and comments though, I'd like to mention a pet peeve of mine that you haven't included in your guide: roleplayers using the first person term "I" when inappropriate. Examples of this would be roleplayers posting things like "I would like to buy 50,000 EX1 Example Rockets, please," or "I am very happy that you have chosen the EX1 Example Rocket," without any indication of who "I" is, if indeed "I" is an individual person. Personally, I think that the misuse of "I" is often caused by roleplayers being confused by the difference between communications posted as themselves OOCly and communications posted by national governments or corporations ICly, but in any case the cause is not really important so long as the practice stops.

Along similar lines is the use of "my" when inappropriate. For instance, the posting of things like "My EX1 Example Rocket is available in many different colours," or "Here is my proposal for the contest," without anything to suggest who "my" is in reference to.

I do not wish to single out any individuals in particular, but I believe we have all encountered this rather irritating practice.

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Postby United Gordonopia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:09 pm

Democratic Colonies wrote:Well done, United Gordonopia, this is a wondrously helpful document for all of us and should help improve the quality of storefronts here, particularly if it becomes a sticky.

As you do ask for criticism and comments though, I'd like to mention a pet peeve of mine that you haven't included in your guide: roleplayers using the first person term "I" when inappropriate. Examples of this would be roleplayers posting things like "I would like to buy 50,000 EX1 Example Rockets, please," or "I am very happy that you have chosen the EX1 Example Rocket," without any indication of who "I" is, if indeed "I" is an individual person. Personally, I think that the misuse of "I" is often caused by roleplayers being confused by the difference between communications posted as themselves OOCly and communications posted by national governments or corporations ICly, but in any case the cause is not really important so long as the practice stops.

Along similar lines is the use of "my" when inappropriate. For instance, the posting of things like "My EX1 Example Rocket is available in many different colours," or "Here is my proposal for the contest," without anything to suggest who "my" is in reference to.

I do not wish to single out any individuals in particular, but I believe we have all encountered this rather irritating practice.


Thanks for the suggestion. I'll put that in when I update this (hopefully in the next couple of weeks). I'll add it in what not to do.
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Postby Democratic Colonies » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:17 pm

Thank you. It really is a fantastic guide you've created, and I'm happy to have assisted in some small way in its improvement.

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Postby Zinaire » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:24 pm

GET certainly needs something like this and you did a pretty good job. The section on what not to do alone should be a great help if newcomers actually read it. I don't really agree with the categories of storefronts that you seem to use everywhere (particularly the fact that "special storefronts" include tons of individual categories). I would suggest that you rework the categories to be more specific and that you offer more specific advice on making a good one of each category. You could even talk to the owners of some of the best storefronts in each category.

I think that the buyouts section needs more work. A lot of the time people just say "we want to buy your company, we offer $x" and then the owner of the storefront which is being bought out either just rolls over and sells it or they say "no, we're too huge/actually the government". Corporate acquisitions, in reality, are very complicated and these kinds of interactions don't do them justice at all. Worse, when a storefront is acquired, the only change is often a line at the top saying "Owned by X".

You might also want to do a section on finance and pricing and estimating how much money your company actually has to spend on research, acquisitions, etc. A guide to pricing would certainly be useful.

Formatting's a bit wonky too. You need to rework the line breaks.
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Postby Vitaphone Racing » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:39 am

just a suggestion, but you might want to do something about how you should lay out your store front, with spoilers, images, catch phrases and other of the marketing good stuff. It just seemed that marketing is a big part of moving products so I'm a little curious why its being left out.
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Van Luxemburg
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Founded: Feb 11, 2005
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Van Luxemburg » Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:09 am

Yes, this should help improve the quality of the storefronts here, I hope. Now, I have one comment to make, if you do not mind;

United Gordonopia wrote:
5. Customer Service

Next, allow for some customization. Maybe, make multiple levels of a product. Have a base model, and then more expensive models with more features. Also, add some features that they can get for a little extra money. That way, the customer gets what the closest product to what they want.


For automobiles, adding trim levels usually doesn't work here on NS. People will go on just to buy the most expensive one. I have had prior experiences with this, which is why I am not adding trim levels any more. Of course, offering various engines is a valid alternative. People actually tend to buy different engine specifications.

Oh, one thing: It is not VLT Automotive Incorporated, but VLT Automotive Group. N.V. is essentially the company form, like Incorporated is for the US (Corporation).

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Etoile Arcture
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Etoile Arcture » Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:25 am

A glaring ommission is no discussion of tech levels. That should certainly be front loaded in the types of storefront section.

When discussing currency used I would mention USD and NSD (both being interchangeable for RPing purposes). USD/NSD is effectively used like a reserve currency that all nations can purchase and use to buy and sell products on the international market.

There's also no discussion of production licenses, the types available, etc and how to RP them. Pricing is also very thorny issue, especially what constitutes realistic pricing and how certain types of nations claim they can undercut their competitors.

In the what not to do section I would suggest promoting your own products in someone else's storefront thread as being poor etiquette.

Also, going around offering to buy storefronts should be considered wrong too. Any buy out should have the consent of both parties. Going into a storefront thread offering to buy someone's hard work is simply spam.

In the storefront expansion section, I would reiterate the point about not going into others storefronts try to buy them out. The best way to do a buy out is when a owner puts their storefront up for sale (which does occassionaly happen), or create a thread offering to anyone interested expansion into their nation.

Another form of expansion may be joint ventures, which can be concluded both OOCly (among friends - there's plenty of joint storefronts out there) or ICly as a nice bit of business roleplay. I've ICly linked up with other company's that way in the past. Another possible mechanic would be purchase of shares in a company in return for rights to sell products, etc.

You should also include discounts and packages as these often feature on the bigger storefronts. Packages of course provide the convienience of ready-made units, but at the cost of taking away a players ability to organsie their own armed forces and giving that power to a storefront owner. I would also point out that IRL nations subsidize other nations arms purchases to the effect of a discount if people want to be more realistic about it.
Last edited by Etoile Arcture on Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:39 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Crookfur
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Crookfur » Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:00 am

It seems great midns do think a like toa degree, this was logn overdue.

On the what is this section you might want to expand about how everything is roleplayed and the possible use of the economy calcualtors. I.e a direct answer to "what is this where does i get my monies questions."

Pircing really needs to be addressed as Etoile Arcture said.

On cusotmer service the key is to actually act like a real company i.e. make it easy for people to buy your stuff. No RL company asks you to calcualte your own bill. As for loyality schemes and discounts I personaly find these to be a bit unproffesional looking, the use of discressionary pricing (i.e. the sales person has a certain amount of wiggle room to allow him to close a deal) and adding unexpected extras has both in Rl and on NS has tended to work a bit better in my experience (ties into the exceeding expectations mantra).

Adding choices does cut both ways soem people go for them but more tend to, as VL mentioned, buy everything or the most expensive model.

On the criticism front it is very much best practice to porvide a public forum for the disscussion of your offerings. if you don't want your store front cluttered with OOC then either get it right first time , Post all your stuff on the NSD and provide links so people can bitch about it there ;) or create a seperate OOC thread for the disscusssion of your stuff. Not that haveing OOC psots in your storefront is always a bad thing, if you know your products inside out and can adequately defend and explain your design then it is free bumpage and a chance to show off.
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United Gordonopia
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Posts: 4029
Founded: Aug 04, 2008
Ex-Nation

Postby United Gordonopia » Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:39 am

Zinaire wrote:GET certainly needs something like this and you did a pretty good job. The section on what not to do alone should be a great help if newcomers actually read it. I don't really agree with the categories of storefronts that you seem to use everywhere (particularly the fact that "special storefronts" include tons of individual categories). I would suggest that you rework the categories to be more specific and that you offer more specific advice on making a good one of each category. You could even talk to the owners of some of the best storefronts in each category.

I think that the buyouts section needs more work. A lot of the time people just say "we want to buy your company, we offer $x" and then the owner of the storefront which is being bought out either just rolls over and sells it or they say "no, we're too huge/actually the government". Corporate acquisitions, in reality, are very complicated and these kinds of interactions don't do them justice at all. Worse, when a storefront is acquired, the only change is often a line at the top saying "Owned by X".

You might also want to do a section on finance and pricing and estimating how much money your company actually has to spend on research, acquisitions, etc. A guide to pricing would certainly be useful.

Formatting's a bit wonky too. You need to rework the line breaks.


For the categories, I've been having special as a category since it's separate from the other categories, but they have one thing in common, they are civilian related. Of course, in a future update, I may add more categories. Also, that's a good idea to talk with the storefront owners.
I agree about the buyout part of expansions. In a future update, I plan on giving it its own section.
The finance and pricing section idea is good as well. I'll add a section on that to.
For the line breaks, I'll fix those later. Mostly, I copied and pasted this from the word document I have each section stored in. It screwed up the formatting a bit, but it can be fixed.


Van Luxemburg wrote:Yes, this should help improve the quality of the storefronts here, I hope. Now, I have one comment to make, if you do not mind;

United Gordonopia wrote:
5. Customer Service

Next, allow for some customization. Maybe, make multiple levels of a product. Have a base model, and then more expensive models with more features. Also, add some features that they can get for a little extra money. That way, the customer gets what the closest product to what they want.


For automobiles, adding trim levels usually doesn't work here on NS. People will go on just to buy the most expensive one. I have had prior experiences with this, which is why I am not adding trim levels any more. Of course, offering various engines is a valid alternative. People actually tend to buy different engine specifications.

Oh, one thing: It is not VLT Automotive Incorporated, but VLT Automotive Group. N.V. is essentially the company form, like Incorporated is for the US (Corporation).


Thanks for your input. With the trim levels, it doesn't just have to be automobiles. In fact, it could be anything. Of course, automobiles are what more people think of when they see things like that, but your kind of right about how people order the highest level. It's true that many people do, but I've seen a lot of people restrain from ordering the best they can possibly get, and ordering a lower model.
I'll fix your name now.


Etoile Arcture wrote:A glaring ommission is no discussion of tech levels. That should certainly be front loaded in the types of storefront section.

When discussing currency used I would mention USD and NSD (both being interchangeable for RPing purposes). USD/NSD is effectively used like a reserve currency that all nations can purchase and use to buy and sell products on the international market.

There's also no discussion of production licenses, the types available, etc and how to RP them. Pricing is also very thorny issue, especially what constitutes realistic pricing and how certain types of nations claim they can undercut their competitors.

In the what not to do section I would suggest promoting your own products in someone else's storefront thread as being poor etiquette.

Also, going around offering to buy storefronts should be considered wrong too. Any buy out should have the consent of both parties. Going into a storefront thread offering to buy someone's hard work is simply spam.

In the storefront expansion section, I would reiterate the point about not going into others storefronts try to buy them out. The best way to do a buy out is when a owner puts their storefront up for sale (which does occassionaly happen), or create a thread offering to anyone interested expansion into their nation.

Another form of expansion may be joint ventures, which can be concluded both OOCly (among friends - there's plenty of joint storefronts out there) or ICly as a nice bit of business roleplay. I've ICly linked up with other company's that way in the past. Another possible mechanic would be purchase of shares in a company in return for rights to sell products, etc.

You should also include discounts and packages as these often feature on the bigger storefronts. Packages of course provide the convienience of ready-made units, but at the cost of taking away a players ability to organsie their own armed forces and giving that power to a storefront owner. I would also point out that IRL nations subsidize other nations arms purchases to the effect of a discount if people want to be more realistic about it.


I will definitely add tech levels to the types of storefronts. Of course, since I don't have to much experience outside of MT, I may need some help with that.I will try to change the thing about USD and NSD, since you make a good point.
I've already said that I'll make a pricing section, but it's a good idea to mention something about DPRs. I didn't think of that, and it will definitely go into a future update.
Joint ventures will also be added as well, seeing as there are a number of large ones, and it would be a good way to expand.
Packages and Discounts will likely be added to customer service.

Vitaphone Racing wrote:just a suggestion, but you might want to do something about how you should lay out your store front, with spoilers, images, catch phrases and other of the marketing good stuff. It just seemed that marketing is a big part of moving products so I'm a little curious why its being left out.

Thanks for that idea. I'll probably make a section for store layout.

Crookfur wrote:It seems great midns do think a like toa degree, this was logn overdue.

On the what is this section you might want to expand about how everything is roleplayed and the possible use of the economy calcualtors. I.e a direct answer to "what is this where does i get my monies questions."

Pircing really needs to be addressed as Etoile Arcture said.

On cusotmer service the key is to actually act like a real company i.e. make it easy for people to buy your stuff. No RL company asks you to calcualte your own bill. As for loyality schemes and discounts I personaly find these to be a bit unproffesional looking, the use of discressionary pricing (i.e. the sales person has a certain amount of wiggle room to allow him to close a deal) and adding unexpected extras has both in Rl and on NS has tended to work a bit better in my experience (ties into the exceeding expectations mantra).

Adding choices does cut both ways soem people go for them but more tend to, as VL mentioned, buy everything or the most expensive model.

On the criticism front it is very much best practice to porvide a public forum for the disscussion of your offerings. if you don't want your store front cluttered with OOC then either get it right first time , Post all your stuff on the NSD and provide links so people can bitch about it there ;) or create a seperate OOC thread for the disscusssion of your stuff. Not that haveing OOC psots in your storefront is always a bad thing, if you know your products inside out and can adequately defend and explain your design then it is free bumpage and a chance to show off.


I like the idea of adding economy calculators, but I'll make a note that you don't have to use them, seeing as many nations, both old and new, ignore them. I'll also address the adding of "wiggle room" and surprise bonuses like you said. Also, I'll add "making your customers add up the bill" to what not to do.
Last edited by United Gordonopia on Sat Oct 17, 2009 11:02 pm, edited 10 times in total.
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Californian Mod Haters
Diplomat
 
Posts: 676
Founded: Aug 17, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Californian Mod Haters » Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:58 am

I think United Gordonopia should be a mod/admin

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Mokastana
N&I RP Mentor
 
Posts: 1286
Founded: Feb 20, 2007
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mokastana » Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:54 am

can you critique my storefront, Montana Inc, the link is in my signature bar
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Brewdomia
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Posts: 4222
Founded: Jun 26, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Brewdomia » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:28 pm

Thanks UG, this might curb the creation of non-described Storefronts, that are clogging this forum, I suggest that you tell the mods to sticky this.

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United Gordonopia
Senator
 
Posts: 4029
Founded: Aug 04, 2008
Ex-Nation

Postby United Gordonopia » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:49 pm

Brewdomia wrote:Thanks UG, this might curb the creation of non-described Storefronts, that are clogging this forum, I suggest that you tell the mods to sticky this.


They make that choice, although I guess it might be good once i've improved it a little.

Californian Mod Haters wrote:I think United Gordonopia should be a mod/admin


That's kind of silly, but thanks for the compliment. There's a lot of people who are far more experienced then me though. The only forum that I'm pretty well respected in is this one.

Mokastana wrote:can you critique my storefront, Montana Inc, the link is in my signature bar


Sure, I'll get to that after I finish working on the update for this.
Last edited by United Gordonopia on Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
If you ever have an RPing question, please TG me about it.
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