Last year, in late 2022, I got an exciting project to make a virtual market in Gather Town. It’s hosted by a platform called MetaMarket. They are from United State, and have been making a couple of virtual market previously. At first, they don’t call it a virtual market, they called it “farmer market in the metaverse”. They asked me that they are looking for a design partner to work on an ongoing basis and be their go-to Gather designer. By looking to their website, I kind of interested to work with them. It’s cool and something new to me to make a real commercial market in Gather Town.
In this article, I will share to you about how I make the virtual market, and I will share to you some tips and trick on how making a virtual market like this can affect positively to your brand and even bring some profit yo your company. I have no disclosure agreement with MetaMarket to share their space concept and layout. They even welcomed happily that I would write an article about their program. Maybe somehow you could be their next vendor, or maybe you, on the other part of the globe, could make another success story making your own virtual market.
The Basic Concept
For the last virtual market, they have 2 important point that they brief me. The first one is the number of booth needed for each vendor, the second one is the theme of the market. In this time, they have 20 vendors and they choose Snow & Christmas as the theme. Each vendor’s booth will have a different design style. They have total 20 booths — 17 for vendors and 3 for partners. They provided me the brief of each booth style on Google Docs. By having this 3 information, it was enough for me to start developing the map. This space need to be big enough for around 50-100 participants. It will have some leisure area for anyone who want to communicate outside each booth. On each side, we will place some big banner from the host, and also one extra booth for the host.
Directly, I started to make the background theme first, and the document for each booths come later on the go. It was not a hard things for me to design the background with snow and Christmas theme since I already have some on my asset pool. I chose to made a symmetrical layout so the audience can easily know where to go. The spawn area was in the middle of the map.
The Map Background
After a while, the map background was complete. This is the preview for the map background.
I placed several wood pallets to mark the area of each booth. Each booth was 15×11 tiles wide, but for the partners’ booth, it came bigger than the vendors’ booth. As you can see above, there are 3 hangout areas, 2 on the bottom, and 1 on the right. The one that have a tosca MetaMarket sign is the spawn area. On the left and right side you will see the big banner from MetaMarket. For the booth position, I asked them do they have any preference on where each booth will be located, but they don’t have any. So I placed the brand randomly without any preference. Actually on the business side, the position can be a big bargain for you as the host to be offers to the vendor. I will explain more about this on the last part, so hang in there.
The overall project spent effectively around 7 days or less, the one that make it longer is the preparation of the each vendor’s brief. Since it need more time to communicate with many brand representatives, and not all the representative knows better about Gather Town as the platform itself. For some brand that already know better about Gather Town, the brief will be more comprehensive and realistic to do.
Here you can see I did a space tour video for the MetaMarket Winter-themed Space.
What Can Be Improved
In my opinion, if you are decided to make a virtual market as your monthly activity, you need to make a standard manual for your vendors. At least for them to know about how they will run their booth, and what kind of interaction they can add in their booth on Gather Town. I believe that MetaMarket already do this for their vendor, and I believe its challenging to manage this many vendors.
The second one, this space need more interaction outside the booth. For example, having some more go-kart station and maybe a go-kart arena outside the booth. Moreover we can add a big stage to the center of the map for having something like a mini concert from some of local bands. It will bring more engagement and also awareness for the audience. Having some game in the middle of the event can be great as well. We can give some discount voucher for buying from our vendors for anyone who win the game. The game can be as easy as playing Kahoot, using questions that can also give a product knowledge from our vendors. That will be good and seamless as the overall virtual market event on Gather Town.
Speaking About the Business Side
In this part, I will speak as my point of view. It doesn’t have any relation to what the MetaMarket did. Lately, Gather changed their free tier program for 25 participants, reduce to be 10 participants only. Of course it will change a lot, it reduced for more than 50%. But we need to think more than that. For the business side, to have something like virtual market you need a long term commitment as the host. Because for sure you won’t targeting only 25 visitors to join your market, right? It should be more than that. At least 50 – 100 visitors, so for sure you need a premium subscription to Gather Town.
For daily use, Gather offers $3 per participant per day. For monthly use, Gather offers $7 per participant per month. By looking at this, having a monthly subscription will have better ROI than the daily one, if you do the event more than twice a month. Let say you targeting up to 50 visitors for each market, so you will need $350 for the initial capital, outside the space. For the space design, my gigs will start from $250 – $1000 based on how big and how complicated the brief, and it’s only one term payment. So you can use the space anytime around the years. This will looks big for initial concept, but we can make some breakdown for it, and it will be make sense.
Let say you will have a program concept like this :
1. You will do the market 4 times a month, it will be open on each Friday – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be close for maintenance.
2. Your partnership will not only with the brands, but also with local bands, community, and media. If possible, you could invite venture capital or local bank as well.
3. You will do the Friday & Saturday for concert and community event, and then Sunday – Tuesday purely for market and business event/networking.
4. Each week have a different tenant that fill the booth and the concert. Let say you have 20 tenants each week, so you need around 80 tenants for the whole month. And you need more than 8 local bands and community to do the concert and community event.
5. You are not paying anything to your partners, your partners need to pay instead for the booth. Let say you take the standard price for the space design, say it $350. You will need $700 for initial capital. If you divide $700 for around 80 tenants, it should be under $10 for each booth. And I believe its cheap enough for a business to get some awareness. You don’t need to pay the local band and community, just ask them that they can call for donation in the middle of the concert, using any payment methods.
6. Make a small team in charge, 2 or 3 persons will be enough as the official. The tenant doesn’t need to be on the space, so the space can be purely for the visitors, officials, entertainers, and guest. If the tenant would like to join to the meeting, ask them for more $7 charge per representative, simple.
7. The interaction inside the tenant booth will be going to their website, or if necessary, to the tenant Gather Space, so it’s an other space that prepared by the tenant to collect the leads. It won’t consume your capacity since its counted as a different space than yours.
8. You can ask for referral code to your tenant for any sales that happen along the event, so you could get some little percentage of the sales.
9. You can give some compliments like giving a media coverage on your market website for each tenant. It’s cheap and good for you as a content, and good for them as an awareness.
10. You can collect ticketing from the visitors, maybe as cheap as $5 for weekly visit. You could get around 50 x 4 x $5 or $1000 from ticketing. Ask the tenant to give a special voucher for the event so it will be interesting for the visitors.
By using this program concept, I think everything start to make sense. You are not only could pay the space itself, but also getting some side income from it. If you want more, just adjust the number above based on how much the willingness to pay on your targeted are. More than that, since it’s online, it can be accessible from anywhere and anytime. So it means you can do a ticketing for more than 50 visitors, just give them schedule of when they should come. You can get double.
So that’s all my experience on designing Virtual Market on Gather Town for MetaMarket, and some simple business design concept for another virtual market-like you could start to make on your area. It could be fun, and could be profitable if you are an agency or an event organizer, since you can make it more interesting than my simple concept. I hope you could get something from this article. If you want to take a detailed look for the space demo, in case you want to show it to your team, please make a visit by click the button below.
If you still have any question related to this tutorial, just left a comment and I will be happy to answer if I can. Also if you want to work with me, I you could email me anytime here, or simply go to my Fiverr account here. Please consider to give a little appreciation by going to my Ko-fi site to give me some coffee. It will be appreciate so much for this site development. See you next time in the next article! Sampai jumpa lagi!