GUIDE: Starting/Maintaining a Shop

Discussion in 'Player Guides, Tips and Tricks' started by kilmannan, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. So you want to start a shop

    Some helpful advice to make sure you get it right first time

    For information on the mechanics of making a Shop Sign visit the EMC Guide here:


    EMC is littered with shops.

    Some are small, specialists shops whilst others are sprawling Megastores that cater to every single item in the game.

    A vast many are poorly thought out, random shops with no direction to their stock and no plan for maintaining their stock level.

    Which one will you be?

    When you decide to start your shop, there are several things you need to achieve and one thing you need to remember. The one thing to remember is:

    Time is a commodity used by the Shopper, it is finite in supply.

    What does this mean?

    It means, simply speaking, that Shoppers are often in a rush and may not have time to phaff around in your complex, awkardly built store. The easier you make their shopping experience, the quicker they will buy and the quicker they will earn money from you.

    Failing to be successful in achieving these following points may see Shoppers leaving your store without making a purchase and often in frustration at time wasted.


    There is no point having the worlds best collection of ores, minerals, items and other niff-naff and trivia if you don't set it out in an orderly and accessible fashion.

    When you walk into any shop in Real Life©, what is the one thing that's generally in common with these shops?
    The shelves are in neat rows and follow a predictable path of product placement.

    So should yours.

    Although in Real Life© it's perishable items that are closest to the entrance (Fruit and vegetables), in MC this isn't a concern, so the most popular items should be closest to your entrance such as Logs, Cobblestone, Sand, etc. unless you intend to segment by stock type.

    All the major items in MC can be grouped by type / place of habitat (Nether) or by various other identifying, similar features (Redstone items, potions, Dyes, etc)

    Where possible an identifying block must be sat by the Chest to clearly indicate from a distance, what that chest stocks. Having to individually read forty signs whilst running around a store does not a happy atmosphere make.

    If you can give a flow to your store, Shoppers will do exactly that - Flow through it, spending money all the way.


    You have the Order aspect achieved. Your store flows. The products are neatly organised and well advertised.

    All this can be undone in a moment if your pricing is ridiculously high.

    A good Shopkeeper checks the local market and ascertains the single most important part of any business - Supply & Demand.

    The higher the Demand (The more Shoppers that want a particular item) then the more you can charge for an item as long as the Supply is low.


    You sell Glowstone.

    The Nether has been emptied of Glowstone around the Spawn areas making it harder and more dangerous to get. You notice a lot of other stores are out of stock on Glowstone. You increase your price on yours as the Supply is low and you effectively control the market share of the product.

    A new server opens, everyone hits the Glowstone near the Spawn areas. Supply has gone up and so the price comes tumbling down as the competition increases.

    A basic law of economics.

    You can also employ a common tactic in the Real Life© which is to have low prices on everyday commodties such as Logs and Sand but have slightly increased prices on other items. Shoppers are more likely to buy higher priced items if they feel they've already made a saving in the store.

    Be careful it isn't too obvious though.


    You've got the Order, you've set the Price right, people are flocking to your store but suddenly, you're out of stock on everything.

    Would you continue to go back to your Real Life© local store if it didn't have what you wanted to buy? No, you would not. What's the point?

    You must keep the Supply up at all times unless you are intending to artificially increase the price on an item by lowering the Supply. This would only work if you had other Shopkeepers in on it though and is known as 'Price Fixing'.

    Some of the slightly more expensive shops on EMC work because they are always in stock.

    This can be achieved by allowing Shoppers to Sell back to you at a lower price.

    A lot of Shopkeepers consider this a risky tactic but if you set the prices right and control it correctly then you should never go out of stock and in fact, the Shoppers are doing your work for yo.


    To specialise or not to specialise? What's best? A big Megastore which stocks a bit of everything or a small, specialist store which always stocks lots of only a small handful of items?

    The answer depends on what you are Shopping for, but a Trade Builder in Real Life© doesn't go to their local Megastore for forty packs of nails, even though they may sell forty packs of nails; they will go to a Building Supply company who specialises in such items.


    A small specialist store has the ability to arrange Supply Contracts with Shoppers, it has the ability to offer discounts or other associated deals and more importantly, it has the ability to supply in Bulk.

    For example:

    You sell Obsidian and only Obsidian.

    Someone wants to build an Obsidan Pyramid.

    Because that is all you stock, you have ten chests full of it and can meet their entire demand or have the means to meet the Supply via a Contract.

    Think about what you want to sell but more importantly, think about how you intend to keep that item in stock. If you can't think of a way and you're not allowing the Shoppers to Sell back, then perhaps you shouldn't stock it. It's just another dissapointment for the Shopper when they get that message saying 'Out of Stock'

    So Megastore or Specialisation - It's your call but think it through carefully.


    You've got everything achieved, you've picked your route for your business, it's well laid out, it looks good, prices are reasonable, but you're not making a single penny.

    You must advertise.

    Some Players offer the ability to advertise on their boards.

    This is often a waste of money unless you are the only advert there, as Shoppers as mentioned at the start, may not have time to waste reading signs.

    The best way to advertise your business is to pay attention to the chat. Whenever someone asks:
    "Who sells xxxxx?"
    You shout back: "Selling xxxxx at 1111 - 10r for 5!"

    They will be waiting for just that reply.

    The fact you've managed to add the price to your Shout shows how dedicated you are to your Shop and increases customer confidence in you. It also saves people a wasted journey if they decide it's too high but that's okay, your price will be just right, wont it?

    Once they are in the door, as long as you've met the above criteria of achievements, you've potentially got a customer for life.

    If you can achieve these points and remember the most important aspect of a Shopper, then you will find yourself at the head of a profitable, well-known and competitive business.

    Good luck!
  2. Just a small change imo.

    You shout back: "Selling XXXX at 1111 for 10r each"
    That will make your shop stand out from all the other people spamming the chat with "BUY HERE I AM VERRRYY CHEAP!"
  3. Noted and changed. :)
  4. Thanks, this guide was helpful.

    I will be starting my shop soon. If anyone want to check our what I have atm, visit my name in server 3.
  5. This is great! I, personally, detest most large shops (with the exception of d1223m's) because they are so difficult to navigate. Can't ever find what you are looking for, and then if you finally do, it's usually out of stock. Hopefully people will read this and take notes :D
    jaqiefox and SpaceShuttleFan like this.
  6. That was the main goal of my new epic shop. Try to organize and make everything easy to find. I found tho most people dont read signs....even when put right in fron of them lol

    Great write up!!
    TigerstarMC likes this.
  7. Great thread.

    I disagree on ad signs being a waste though. I can't tell you the number of times i've been looking for a particular item, lets say black wool, and have gone through the list of stores I normally use; I use leowaste's store quite a bit :) and they may be out or I may buy them out of what limited stock is available.

    Brief tangent - I typically come up with an idea and use huge amounts of resources all at once, so I don't expect any shop to have 90 stacks of glass or 40 stacks of black wool in stock.

    Anyway, once I've run through my general list, I use the signs quite a bit, going through other stores. I've found quite a few shops that I frequent now simply because I know they restock item X every so often. For 100r or whatever these places charge for signs, I would say the shops i've been to have gotten that investment back out of me.
    CoopDawger likes this.
  8. I wandered around your store for half an hour the other day looking for slimeballs, I think -- Whatever it was, I couldn't find them anywhere, because I wasn't sure what category they fit into... down the tunnels, up the stairs -- it was crazy! Nice diamond exchange, tho!
  9. Lol i put them under "mob drops" on yellow floor.

    Any suggestions to make easier to find?
  10. Mob drops! That makes perfect sense, actually. I think I was hung up on thinking of it as building/utility because I was wanting to make sticky pistons.
  11. Thanks guys.

    My advice may or may not be any good, but it was written out of sheer frustration after a particularly bad shopping experience. The owner shall remain nameless. :mad:

    Feel free to keep comments or suggestions coming and I'll update it.
  12. Thank you for the very helpful advise. I will be sure to try to incorporate as much as I can in to my new shop.
  13. Wow, better get to work on my own shop :D
  14. Hmmm... I'll have to start arranging by aisles then, because I use aisles in my store instead of having everything on the walls with one little island in the middle. Or I could totally rearrange the place, that could work too.
  15. Fantastic write-up, kilmannan; way way cool.

    I feel like I might re-do my shop now. Maybe.

    We'll see what happens. :confused:

    Thanks for the tips! :D

  16. I wanted to comment about a recent realization I had....

    Im working on my shop, and Im currently at the pricing/stocking phase. Ive heard (and read on the forums) more than one person complain about a particular store owner having prices that are WAY too high. Someone even posted in a forum that only newbie's that dont know any better shop there. At first I remembering thinking, I DONT want ppl saying that about MY store.


    Now I have my OWN store, and I am faced with a problem.... keeping it stocked. Logically I have no chance of personally harvesting material to stock my store if I start to get a large amount of customers, which of course is what I want... so how do I restock then? Obviously, I have to pay somone to collect materials to restock. Then it occured to me: that store (that will remain un-named) might have been more expensive than other stores, but they ALWAYS were stocked AND the bought items back from their customers. And then something else occured to me: I can't have really super-low prices if I have plan on paying someone to supply me! They are going to want as much as they can get for the materials... or they'll sell to someone else, or open their own shop. Example.... Say I sell obsidian really cheap.. 64 for 6r or something (im saying 6r because I dont want someone saying "thats not cheap", so im being dramatic.), well who's going to SELL me 64 obsidian @ below 6r? NO ONE. So my shelves stay empty, and my store fails.

    That stores prices started making A LOT of sense all of a sudden.. their prices were high because they have to pay their SUPPLIERS to keep their shelves stocked.... and ppl, myself included, will pay a little more if it means they dont have to spend all day searching shops for the items they need.....I get it now.

    the funny thing is even though ppl actted like this store was the evil galactic empire, they still shopped there because it was always stocked and they couldnt find what they wanted else where.... that episode of South Park when Walmart came to town and they couldnt stop going there....
  17. These are some good points for those new players that are starting up a shop.Good Job! :)
  18. I made my shop easily navigate-able , come check it out.Click my signature. :D
  19. Wall of text, geez ^^'

    So, In response to this. Yes, you want to have low prices, But as it said before. You have to find a balance. And this is the bane of GIANT stores, the ones we see Oh too many of on SMP6. You can't possibly have the lowest prices on ALL of your items, But instead you have to have modest prices on all your stores. Just like in real life, Specialty stores are going to spank you in certain items, But you can't possibly be the best in everything.

    Lets take walmart for example. They have pretty much the lowest prices on, well, pretty much everything. But the quality of the store and the products are way down low. So if someone can find somewhere else to buy the same product in a much better environment, Most people do!

    So that's what you must do in order to be successful. I'm not saying specialize, or even reduce the size of your store (trust me, I think it's amazing! :D ) I'm saying, Use moderation on your pricing. Break it down like this.

    >Cost of employees
    >cost of staying IN STOCK
    >Gathering costs
    >Rupees generally earned in a typical day
    >Daily Rupees generation

    You need that number to be POSITIVE in order to stay afloat. In order to do that, Feel free to stay out of stock on certain items as you increase your threshold on other items. See whats the most popular, Get ALOT of those items first. Prove to your customers that you will always be in stock, and you also have modest prices, Then expand from there. Then hire people when its not possible to continue on your own, And go from there.

    Its like dominoes! Good luck to you, And I'll always support you Dejaja, As well as anyone else who might need help!
  20. Thanks for responding Tofu... sigh, pricing pricing pricing... Im pulling my hair out trying to get this right before I open....