So You Want to Be In a Mall
Have you ever saw these awesomely large shops with amazing graphics and loads of items? Have you ever dreamt of having such a wonderful shop by yourself? Well, then, this guide is for you!
Step 1: Do I Really Want to be in a Mall?
First of all, you must clearly understand what malling is and what you need to run a successful profitable shop which is a part of the mall. Let’s clarify this.
So, a mall is generally a group of shops (usually about ten of them) which are interlinked. Each shop takes one category – for example, one person stocks food, another one stocks furniture, etc. Then they make a banner where each button leads to the corresponding category and put it into all their shops. Thus, when a visitor comes to one of their shops, he/she can click the button and go to another shop, which increases hits and, as a result, brings more sales. Everything seems great, but you must remember the following things:
- You’ll need to invest a lot of money. Yes, A LOT.
- Malling requires everyday work: you need to restock your shop, add new items, watch the supply and demand for your items, and so on.
It doesn’t scare you, does it? If you’re not afraid of working really hard, then read further!
Step 2: How to Start
To start malling, you need... yes, right, a shop. And, I must say, a big one. There are two reasons for that. First, the larger the shop, the more items it can contain. Secondly, if the shop is large enough to be in a marketplace, it will get much more visitors. What are marketplaces? They are places where the biggest shops of Neopia are grouped by tens. There are three marketplaces in total: Main Marketplace, Island Marketplace and Spooky Marketplace. The Main Marketplace requires a very large shop, but it’s the most profitable. To start malling, you need to be at least in the Spooky Marketplace. The current lowest shop size you need for that is about 225. Okay, but how much NP do you need to upgrade your shop to that size? Use the following formula (assuming that you already have a shop, otherwise add 150 NP):
Xn = ((n-1)*200*n)/2
(where Xn is the amount of NP you need to spend, n is the desired shop size)
Let’s look at the example. Say, we want a size 225 shop. Then we’ll need 224*200*225/2=5,040,000 NP. Now we see that you’ll need about 5 mil NP to start malling, plus some more NP to stock the shop (let’s say, one more million). But that’s so much, you may say, - how am I supposed to earn this? Well, there are plenty of ways to make NP: games, restocking, wiz sniping, auction sniping... I won’t tell you about them, because there are lots of NP making guides around. Even if you only play games, you can earn about 50K a day, so it will take you 120 days (4 months) to reach 6 mil. Not too much, I think.
Step 3: I have a Shop, now what?
Okay, so you’ve finally earned enough NP and upgraded your shop. Now you have to find a good mall for yourself. The easiest method is to make a topic on Neoboards, something like “Size *** shop looking for a mall!” (good boards for this are “Battledome” and “Trading/Auctions”). Mall managers will see the board and contact you. But, of course, it may take several days of making boards from time to time (just don’t spam!). Also look for topics like “Mall recruiting members” or “*** spot open in a mall!” – these are usually made by mall managers.
So, you found a mall. Don’t rush to join – first examine it carefully to decide whether it’s a good mall or not. How to understand whether it’s good?
- It has a nice banner (ugly banners don’t attract visitors)
- All the shops (or at least most of them) are in marketplaces (or you won’t get any visitors from them)
- All the shops are stocked well enough (there are plenty of items in each shop, and they belong to corresponding categories).
Of course, even if the mall has it all, there’s no guarantee that it’s successful, but the only way to understand it is to join and get your own experience. Well, let’s pretend that you like the mall, so now...
Step 4: Choose a Category
There are many possible mall categories: food, books, petpets, furniture, battle items, training items, quest items of al kinds... Some of them are more profitable than others. The best way to understand whether the category is profitable is to ask yourself a simple question: why would people want to buy these items, and how much of them would they need? For example, quest items are always in a great demand (because all people get faerie quests every now and then), but people usually buy just one item (the one they need for a quest) and leave. And as for the furniture, people usually buy several items, but many people consider having a beautiful Neohome to be an unnecessary luxury. So it’s up to you what to choose! And, of course, don’t forget about your personal preferences – if you always wanted to run a food store, go for it! Book store? Wonderful! Furniture galore? Brilliant! Choose whatever you want, because dealing with items you don’t like will kill all the pleasure you’ll get from your profits. We’re here to make fun, don’t forget!
Step 5: Stocking your Shop
So now you know what category do you have. But how to make a list of items which you need to stock? The easiest way is to find several malls, open the shops which have the same category as you have, look and their items and buy some of these, depending on your stocking budget (but not from these shops! I’ll explain later why). After some time you’ll understand that you can remove some items which aren’t being sold well, and add some new items. You’ll notice soon that some items are in a greater demand, so you may want to stock more of them. The more different items you have in your shop, the better, but keep in mind that if you keep only one of each popular items, you’re losing profit because they’ll get sold quickly, and if you don’t replace them soon, a visitor willing to buy these popular items may come and leave unsatisfied. So keep a close eye on what you sell! A good idea is to track your sales, so you may see how many items of each kind you’ve sold.
Step 6: Pricing
Of course, pricing is very important, because that’s where your profits come from. There are two ways of pricing your items: shop wizard pricing and overpricing. Let’s examine them.
Advantage of shop wizard pricing: Items sell pretty quickly, because people find them with the help of the Shop Wizard.
Disadvantage of shop wizard pricing: you need to buy the items from main shops, which is difficult, because you have to be very fast and lucky, and you most likely won’t be able to buy more than a dozen of items per hour.
Advantage of overpricing: you just buy items from the Shop Wizard, so you don’t need to hurry.
Disadvantage of overpricing: people won’t find your items through the shop wizard, so your fellow mallers and your shop position is the only (and quite unstable) way of getting visitors.
Choose whatever suits you best. You may try both methods and compare your profits. The only thing to keep in mind if you decide to overprice your items is “Don’t be greedy”. If you overprice too much, nobody will buy your items.
Step 7: Promoting your Shop
After stocking and pricing your shop, everything is ready for your buyers. You may now just sit and wait, but you won’t get much that way. You need to advertise your shop, or people won’t come to it. What can you do to promote your shop and boost your sales?
- Make or find a banner advertising your own category and put it into your shop description along with the mall banner. Your banner must be bright, eye-catching and helpful: people must understand how to use the items you sell, what they can gain from using these items, etc.
- Advertise your shop at the Shop Ads Neoboard. But don’t spam!
- If you have some extra NP to invest, take part in Noticeboard ads. Don’t be afraid to pay 300K a week – it pays off if you’re in a good mall and your manager knows what to do.
- Upgrade when you can – the larger your shop, the more profit it brings!
That’s all! The last thing I want to say is: don’t despair if things don’t go as well as you wanted! Instead, try to examine the reasons and improve the situation. Profits rise along with your malling experience, trust me. Good luck, and go make these millions!