I believe that it is safe to say that every Neopian with the amount of brain power greater than that generated by a potato has marveled at the immense size of another Neopian’s shop at least once in their time playing this game. “How awesome it must be to have a shop like that,” some think, while others ponder the reason and usefulness of this outrageously large shop, and begin to ask themselves “What in the world are they ever going to do with all of that shop space?”
Some Neopians think that upgrading your shop higher than level 5 is a complete and utter waste of time. Little do you know, though, that with the correct combination of competitive pricing, eye-catching advertising, and variety of items, the owner of a Neopian Mall can easily make upwards of 500,000 NP in one single day. To some of you that may be an outlandishly large amount of NP, and to others it may be chump change, but all-in-all, investing in a Neopian Mall has the potential of being one of the most profitable decisions you will ever make in your Neopian career. “How might one go about creating a successful Neopian Mall?” one might ask. Well, that’s what I’m here for.
Stage One: Planning
Every great idea or major decision requires quite a bit of thought process and planning. It is very hard to maintain a full-scale Neopian Mall all by yourself, which is why most Neopians contributing to a Mall form partner with quite a few others to ensure the overall success and even distribution of responsibilities of the mall.
1. Upgrading your Shop: Most successful, big-name Neopian Malls require their members to have shop sizes in excess of 450. (Primarily having a “Main Market Shop”, which at the moment is around size 440, and means that your shop description, along with username, are displayed in the top Neopian shop listings, based on the size of your shop.)
Upgrading your shop is a major part of the planning stage of developing your mall. By having a Main Market Shop, you show Mall Recruiters and members that you are capable of serving as a successful and determined store owner in their Neopian Mall, which means a lot in the world of Neo-Malls.
“How do I know what shop size is right for me, and how much I need to spend?” you may be asking yourself. Well, that’s exactly the reason I created a fantastically detailed list of shop sizes, with a small description for efficient use, and approximate cost, which reads:
Size 450 – 500
You’re a beginning Neo-Maller, and are determined to succeed, but only after you get yourself settled in with the whole “Neo-Malling” situation.
Approximate upgrade cost from size 0: 20,205,150-24,950,150 NP.
You’re experienced and determined to own a high-profit, successful Neo-Mall. You strive for perfection in every aspect of your Neo-Mall management, and you won’t let any setback, big or small, stand in the way of your overall success.
Approximate upgrade cost from size 0: 25,050,150-48,930,150 NP.
You know exactly what you’re doing, and are ready to take down any pitifully sized mall that stands in the way of you making your daily profit. You’re prepared to be refilling your shop after every day of sale, and are willing to complete this process to ensure customer satisfaction and your personal finance.
Approximate upgrade cost from size 0: 49,070,150-99,900,150 NP.
Size 1,001 and Above
You make so much money off of your mall on a daily basis that you don’t know what to do with it all! The most logical investment for your Neopoints seems to be in the overall size of your shop, and that’s exactly where you spend it. You put yourself ahead of the majority by leaps and bounds, and increase your Neo-Mall’s traffic count every step of the way.
Approximate upgrade cost from size 0: 100,100,150 NP and above!
* Note: the largest Neo-Mall as of June 16, 2006 is approximately size 3,500. In case you are wondering, at the current upgrade price of shops, you would have to invest 1,225,350,150 NP in your Neo-Mall, just to get one size ahead of 3,500. Now that’s a lot of NP.
2. Finding the right mall for you: There are always a large number of popular Neo-Mall chains being advertised needing new members. Two great places to find advertisements recruiting new Neo-Mall members would be in the Battledome Chat and Shops Chat in the Neoboards section of Neopets.
In order to decide which mall being advertised is right for you, take these two major factors into consideration:
What are the shop sizes of the other members of the mall? The larger the shops of your fellow mall members, the better. This increases the overall traffic flow to your mall, which in-turn increases the potential for users to buy from your shop.
What shop categories are available for me to fill? Most all Neo-Malls divide their different stores into categories such as Training, Faerie Quests, Food, Paint Brushes, Battle, Scratch Cards, Neggs, Maps, etc. It’s always great when a mall has a lot of their categories available for taking, but either way you need to plan ahead. What items are you willing to invest in for your mall? If you are looking to buy cheap items and sell them for much more than you bought them for, Food would be your best mall category, but I personally believe that the most popular Neo-Mall categories are Training (includes codestones, Bottled Faeries, dubloons, etc.) and Maps (Secret Laboratory Maps, Treasure Maps, etc.). Pick the category/categories that best appeal to you, then let the mall leader know that you want to fill that/those positions, and start stocking!
Stage Two: Implementing
Now that you’ve upgraded your shop, found the right mall for your needs, and started stocking your shop full-up with the items of your specific category, you’re on the way to making millions in no time! Just keep these things in mind:
1. Competitive Pricing: Remember how real-life malls are so overpriced as compared to local stores? The same goes for Neo-Malls. Because your shop is so large, you receive more traffic to your store. The more traffic your store gets, the higher the chance that visitors will become your loyal patrons. However, if you want to make any money, you need to price your items correctly. Let’s say that you picked the category “Training” and you have to manage the codestones, Bottled Faeries, dubloons, and etcetera of your Neo-Mall. No biggie. Here’s a quick breakdown of good, profit-yielding and yet competitive pricing:
When you buy your items, keep a relative record of how much you spent on each item. If you spent an average of 4,500 NP per codestone, and you stocked 500 codestones (50 of each) then you spent about 2,250,000 NP on codestones alone. Not bad, for a beginner.
As a Neo-Mall owner, your main goal is to yield great amounts of profit, in a short period of time. With the amount of traffic you’re receiving, as long as you keep your mall stocked, that’s not a problem at all. The problem is getting people to want to buy your item. If it’s overpriced, people won’t touch it, and if it’s under priced, you lose NP. You should always price your items between 100 and 2,000 NP above the Shop Wizard, depending on the age and popularity of your Neo-Mall. Let’s say that you priced your codestones at 750 NP above the Shop Wizard. Sure, that might not sound like a lot of profit, but when you sell items by bulk, it ends up yielding a good amount of profit. By pricing your codestones at 750 NP above the Shop Wizard, you are pricing them at approximately 5,250 per codestone, which is quite inexpensive in Neo-Mall standards. At this price, if you sold all 500 of your codestones, you would have 2,625,000 NP in your Shop Till just from the sale of your codestones, which is actually a whopping 375,000 NP profit on codestones alone! Awesome how that works, isn’t it?
As your mall gets older and more popular (you can observe your Neo-Mall popularity based on the rate and frequency of sales in your mall) you can gradually increase your price. If you do it in small increments, over a longer period of time (say, once a week), your patrons tend not to notice so much, and continue to purchase from your Neo-Mall. Don’t get too greedy, though. If they see that you’re charging 10,000 NP per codestone, chances are that they’ll go somewhere else. The maximum amount I recommend charging for a single codestone is 6,750 NP.
2. Advertising: Just because you have a huge shop and are a member of a great mall doesn’t mean everything. If your mall never advertises, chances are that your overall traffic count will gradually decrease. In order to counter this tragic reality, it is a good idea to utilize the Neopets Notice Board and purchase slots for advertisements for your mall. You can also advertise your mall in the Shops Chat in the Neoboards, (remember to stay on topic!) and on your user lookup. Any and all forms of advertising are a beneficial and crucial aspect to your success as a Neo-Maller.
Stage 3: Maintenance
Sure, you’re the proud owner of an awesome Neo-Mall, but that doesn’t mean that you will continue to reap the benefits of Neo-Malling forever. If you want to do this, you’ll need to perform regular maintenance on your mall. No, I don’t mean changing the aisle lights or mopping the floors. What are these different types of maintenance that you need to perform? Well, if you’re nice, I’ll tell you ;).
1. Restocking: Whenever you begin to run low on an item, go buy more and put them in your mall. NEVER completely run out of an item if you can help it. If an item is extremely popular, buy more of that item than any others, and price it higher than you would an average-selling item. When you run out of an item, you show your patrons that your mall is insufficient and unable to help them meet their personal needs and wants. Always carry everything possible regarding the category/categories you are involved in, and always maintain a full stock of items.
2. Increase Shop Size: As time goes on, the minimum size for a shop to be featured in the Main Market group increases. If you’re right on the border of Main Market/Regular, I suggest you spend 50-75% of the money you make with your mall on your shop size, to ensure your continued presence in the Main Neopian Market. If you fall outside of the Main Market, your shop will lose traffic drastically. Alternatively, if you increase your shop in large amounts on a frequent basis, you can easily double or triple your overall traffic count in a little over a week!
3. Update your Shop Stock: If a new item that belongs in your specific Neo-Mall category/categories is released, buy it. By selling every possible item in your designated category/categories in your Neo-Mall, you show your patrons that you are a dedicated, useful Neo-Mall owner that they can trust to satisfy their consumer needs, thus increasing your daily profit yield!
That’s it, you’re done! If you have followed all of the steps in creating a profitable Neo-Mall, you should be able to call yourself “Neo-Rich” in no time! ;). If you have any further questions regarding Neo-Malling, feel free to neomail me anytime!
Random questions you may be asking yourself for no apparent reason:
“Boy, you sure talked about the traffic count your Neo-Mall gets in relation to the amount of profit you get. How in the world am I supposed to know how many people visit my shop on a daily basis?” .
Well that’s easy, just Google a Neo-Help Site and look for one that features Shop/User Lookup counters and place one in your shop description. Keep track of your traffic count, and when hits go down, upgrade your shop size!
“How in the world am I supposed to make enough money to even think about STARTING my Neo-Mall? You talk about 20,000,000 NP being required to start a Mall? ARE YOU CRAZY!?!”
Actually, I’m not that crazy. Many Neopians have that much, if not more neopoints. However, if you aren’t one of those few, there are a few suggestions I have for you about building your assets.
Games: Always play games. Set your goals high, and send your score on high neopoint yielding games, 3 times a day. If you play games often, you will soon become better at them, and then will be able to make an excess of 20,000 neopoints daily, assuming that you’re playing your daily games.
Restocking: An extremely high profit yielding money-making scheme is restocking. When the Neopets Shops (non-user shops) restock, they more often than not have a few rare items in stock. It is your job, as the shopper, to look for these items and buy them as quickly as you can when you see them. With experience, you’ll soon become a great restocker, and may not even want or need a mall in order to fulfill your deranged craving for neopoints.
Remember, all Neopets shops now restock on a completely and utterly random basis. You can no longer tell when a shop will stock, and they follow no apparent pattern. Find a shop that fits you needs, and stick to it (that is, until you get restock banned).
Reselling: ALWAYS be on the lookout for great deals in the Shop Wizard, Trading Post and Auction House. Sometimes, as mean as this sounds, you can make a profit off of a user’s mistakes. If someone misprices an item in their auctions, say a Sword of Skardsen (approximately valued at 10,500,000 – 11,000,00 NP) for, let’s say 1,000,000 NP (because they forgot a digit (how sad), if you can manage to buy that item for 9 mill or less, you can make a great profit from it. Always be on the lookout, kids! – Khunabah