You Made It to the Market! Now What?
You have scraped, saved, watched and worried. You have looked for bargains and kept your prices low. You’ve invested every spare neopoint into upgrading, and you’ve finally done it – you’ve built your shop up until it’s visible in the marketplace! Nice job! Now what?
Well, the rewards of having a market-sized shop are at your fingertips, but if you want to make the most of your efforts, you have a little more work to do yet. Don’t give up faith; you are at the beginning of a grand adventure! Here are a few suggestions for making sure that your efforts and hard work pay off for you:
First things first: make sure you really are in the market! Your shop preferences show which marketplace you will be visible in, and if you have the wrong one chosen nobody’s going to find you. Shops always default to Neopia Central, and since that’s where the big boys play, you’re probably going to want to change that to the Haunted Woods marketplace.
Upgrade like mad! Yes, you have upgraded the heck out of your shop already, but lots of other Neopians are also trying very hard to stay visible in the market. Being at the bottom of these top shops is very competitive, so don’t stop upgrading yet! I stopped upgrading about six months ago and the hut my shop was in now has shops twenty sizes larger – if I had been in the bottom hut I never would have had a chance! Don’t take a break until you have a cushion.
Specialize! General, random, and bargain shop themes are great for growing your shop, but if you haven’t picked a category to specialize in by now, it’s time. Why specialize? People shop the marketplace for convenience. If you have a clear theme, you will find that the people who like it come back to shop again. Specializing also makes it easier to recognize bargains in your category and keep up with new items, which are always popular sellers.
Experiment with prices. You won’t know what your most popular items are until you try out some new prices. If you find a particular item, for example dung mote, sells out really fast, try nudging the price a little bit. You probably have found an item that people like to find easily, and won’t mind paying a little bit more for. If sales of that item drop, you can always lower it again.
Another good pricing strategy is to have a sale on some items. Drop the price on a few different items so that they’re really low, to bring in new customers. While they’re in your shop, as long as it’s a friendly place (see below), they may stick around a bit longer and buy a few more things from you!
Be friendly to shoppers. You may pride yourself on your amazing shop layout, cool tunes, and snazzy cursor. But if you’re serious about running a successful shop, take a few minutes to look at your shop front and imagine what it’s like for someone that just wants to buy stuff from you. Does your layout make it easy to read the item names and prices, or are the text and background colors too close? Do you have background images that are too busy to see what’s going on? How about music? A lot of shoppers don’t like music, because it can be too loud, or not their taste, or it may be distracting if they are already listening to their own songs. Do you have a cool cursor? Nothing wrong with that, but ask a friend to try out your shop – some cursors make it tricky to figure out where the pointer is, and that can be frustrating.
Remember, the reason you upgraded your shop so much is to make neopoints – anything you have in there that keeps shoppers from buying is a bad idea. Galleries, petpages, and lookups are much better places to show off than shops.
Sales History is your friend! It might be lots of fun to fill up your shop with a thousand Piles of Sludge, but the items that are priced over a thousand neopoints are better for your sanity. This is because the Sales History will let you know who’s buying what, and for how much. It’s a lot easier to replace popular items when you don’t have to go through your entire shop trying to figure out which three items are missing!
Advertise. Yes, your shop is visible in the market, but if you’re serious about making neopoints, you’re going to have to be willing to spend some, or at least spend some time! The notice board has fifty pages, and you can advertise your shop for any price up to four million neopoints for a whole week! Of course you probably aren’t going to spend quite that much, but as long as you spend enough to be shown on the last page you will get some business. Be careful that your ad doesn’t drop off the bottom of page 50 because you didn’t pay enough, though! The Shop Ads neoboard is another great way to get the word out, and it’s free! However, never forget that the boards have rules that must be followed, and spamming is never allowed.
Join a mall! This is another reason why specializing is a good idea – malls are groups of shops that each sell a particular category of items, such as battle, food, or clothing. If someone comes into a shop and doesn’t find what they are looking for, they will probably try other shops in that mall before moving on. This usually increases business for all the shops in that mall. Malls have rules, though, so make sure you respect the rules of your mall if you join one!
Being in the market adds a whole new dimension of excitement to owning a shop in Neopia. Follow these tips and you can expand your profits and your fun!