Second Life Marketplace Direct Delivery FAQ
What is Direct Delivery?
Direct Delivery is the new, more convenient system for delivering Second Life Marketplace products to recipients as well as helping sellers more efficiently list and manage items on the Marketplace. It is currently in development and will launch in early 2012.
What impact will Direct Delivery have on Marketplace buyers and sellers?
Specific benefits of Direct Delivery include:
- Delivery will be faster and more reliable than the current Magic Box delivery system. (And will not be impacted by sim instability or restarts.)
- Recipients will no longer need to explicitly accept delivery in order to successfully receive it. This will happen automatically.
- Recipients will not need to rez boxed items in world to use them. One exception: merchants may still choose to box items for sale with Direct Delivery, but will not be required to.
- Item listing and management experience has been improved.
How will Direct Delivery work for Merchants?
As a Merchant, you will send folders to your Marketplace inventory that you plan to list for sale. You will do this by placing items in a system folder called the Merchant Outbox and sending the contents to your Marketplace inventory. Each top level folder in the Merchant Outbox represents one sellable item in the Marketplace. Once all folders are successfully sent to the Marketplace, they will disappear from the Merchant Outbox.
Once those items have appeared in your Marketplace inventory, for each item you will be able to create a new listing or associate it with an existing listing. When one of your items is sold, the Marketplace will deliver the item (as a folder) to the customer's Received Items folder.
Will folders in the Merchant Outbox need to be sent to the Marketplace or will Marketplace automatically detect new folders in the Outbox and grab them?
In the Second Life Viewer, the Merchant must click a button to move folders from the Merchant Outbox to the Merchant’s Marketplace inventory. Third-party viewers have access to the API call required to do this, so those viewers will be able to provide the same functionality as the Second Life Viewer.
What exactly is the Marketplace inventory? Are items in this inventory possible for others to access?
The Marketplace inventory is composed of all the folders and objects intended for sale through a merchant’s Marketplace account. The only ways that these inventory items may be accessed are:
- A customer may access an item after a purchase has been completed and the item has been delivered to the customer’s inventory. (In other words, customers may only access items once the item exists in their personal inventories.)
- Merchants may access inventory items through the Merchant Admin to view those items, return them to their inworld inventory, or try a test purchase.
Will buyers be notified of the delivery method?
Instructions will be provided after purchase to help customers locate and use their products, based upon the delivery method. Merchants may choose to tell consumers which delivery method will be used by adding that information to the item listing.
Will Direct Delivery affect a merchant’s personal inventory in the SL Viewer?
Direct Delivery will access only two folders in the merchant’s personal inventory, Received Items and Merchant Outbox.
- Received Items: Items delivered to the recipient will appear as folders, instead of boxes, in a system folder called Received Items. Some Merchants may choose to box certain items, which will appear in Received Items as well. The Received Items folder will be created for a user the first time an item is delivered.
- Merchant Outbox: This folder is used to stage items a merchant would like to list for sale on the Marketplace. The Merchant Outbox will be created when a Marketplace user creates a store. If the user is already a merchant when Direct Delivery is launched, this folder will be created as part of the release.
When an item is delivered, it will be delivered from the merchant’s Marketplace inventory. Inworld inventory will not be affected.
Will unboxed items inflate inventory size?
For products listed on the Marketplace using direct delivery, the number of objects per folder and number of folders will be limited. This will require merchants selling large numbers of objects in the same listing to box objects within their folder hierarchy. See the next question and answer for more details on these limits.
What are the capacity limits of the Merchant Outbox?
Only the first 100 folders in the Merchant Outbox will be pushed to the Marketplace at a time. For example, the 1st through 100th folders would all be pushed, but the 101st and remaining would not be pushed until the next attempt.
Example: For EACH folder in the Merchant Outbox (and anything delivered to the Received Items folder), there can be up to 200 objects in total (regardless of whether there are sub-folders). For example, attempts to transfer these “Furry Cats” and “Furry Dogs” folders would both fail:
- Furry Cats
- Cat 1
- Cat 2
- Cat 204
- Furry Dogs
- Large Dogs
- Large Dog 1
- Large Dog 50
- Small Dogs
- Small Dog 1
- Small Dog 151
- Large Dogs
For EACH folder in the Merchant Outbox, there can be up to 20 folders in total. These folders may be up to 4 folder levels deep in total, including the folder just under the Merchant Outbox. For example, “Furry Dogs\Large Dogs\Large Brown Dogs\Large Brown Short Haired Dogs” is an allowed folder depth. But “Furry Dogs\Large Dogs\Large Brown Dogs\Large Brown Short Haired Dogs\Large Brown Short Haired Blue Eyed Dogs” would be rejected. Each folder at ANY level in the hierarchy will be counted as a folder, including the top level “Furry Dogs” folder.
Do I need to create a folder for everything I plan to list on the Marketplace, even if I am selling fully boxed items?
Creating a folder is not necessary. If you are using the Second Life Viewer, and you drag an item into the Merchant Outbox, a folder will be created having the same name as the item. The newly created folder will contain the item. For example, an item named “Furry Cat” dragged into the Merchant Outbox will cause a folder called “Furry Cat” to be created. “Furry Cat” the item will be inside the folder.
How will folders work on the Marketplace?
Each top-level folder in the Merchant Outbox will become an inventory item on the Marketplace, named according to the scheme described above. Merchants and customers will be able to view the full folder hierarchy on the Marketplace to determine if all items and folders have been delivered.
Do we have to use folders?
No. It’s OK to keep products boxed up.
Example: A texture Merchant would like to sell a bulk package of textures.
With Magic Boxes, the Merchant would either (1) place all the textures into a box, then place that box into the Magic Box, or (2) sort the textures into folders, place the folders into a box, and then place the box into the Magic Box.
With Direct Delivery, instead of placing the items from either scenario 1 into a Magic Box, they are placed into a folder. Instead of placing the folders from scenario 2 into a box, they are placed into a folder. The folder is then copied to the Merchant Outbox for pushing to the Marketplace.
Will merchants need to keep adding one unit to no-copy item listings each time one unit sells?
No. We have simplified this process and created an optional mechanism for combining units.
Will it be communicated to purchasers whether an item will be delivered boxed or unboxed?
Yes, merchants will be able to communicate this information to purchasers.
Will a Viewer update be required to view and access contents of the Received Items and Merchant Outbox folders?
No. These folders will appear as system folders under the root inventory folder on viewers that do not treat these folders as special. In the Second Life Viewer, these folders will be shown as separate sections within the inventory. In order to push folders from the Merchant Outbox to the Marketplace, a viewer that supports this action must be used.
Will Direct Delivery be supported by third-party viewers?
Yes, all third-party viewers will automatically support delivery of Marketplace purchases to the Received Items folder. Third-party viewers may choose to support sending items to the Marketplace from the Merchant Outbox using the new Marketplace API. If they do not choose to support the Merchant Outbox, it will function as a regular system folder.
When will Direct Delivery be available?
Direct Delivery is entering Beta in the November/December time frame. The production launch will not occur until 2012.
Can I choose between Direct Delivery or Magic Box delivery when I create a listing?
After Direct Delivery is available in production, Merchants will be able to choose the delivery method until Magic Boxes are retired (over time, using a phased retirement process). More details will be provided closer to the retirement of Magic Boxes.
What’s the migration process for moving my items from Magic Boxes to Direct Delivery listings
The process is not completed yet. Once a process is working in test, we will communicate the details. We are working on a method that will not require each listing to be edited to replace the Magic Box inventory item with a Direct Delivery inventory item.
What about gifting, ANS, and so on?
Working with the beta merchants, we are reviewing and testing the way various current functionality will be addressed with Direct Delivery:
- Automated Notification System (ANS): ANS allows you to integrate Marketplace notifications with your back-end operations either via your website or scripted object in Second Life. It will be replaced with a similar functionality in Direct Delivery to address the same goals and will use the same format as is currently in use to ease migration.
- Gifting: gifting will be supported with Direct Delivery.
- Limited quantity items: sale of limited quantity items will be supported with Direct Delivery.
When will Linden Lab provide more details on Direct Delivery?
We will be opening up Direct Delivery on Aditi for Beta testing in December to all merchants, which we expect will answer a lot of users' questions regarding Direct Delivery. We do expect additional questions to come in. We will be using JIRA to track bugs and feature requests. Surveys and feedback threads on the Merchants Forum will be used for questions and comments. See the Aditi preview grid wiki page for instructions for filing Beta Marketplace JIRAs.