So you want to start a shopSome helpful advice to make sure you get it right first timeFor information on the mechanics of making a Shop Sign visit the EMC Guide here:http://empireminecraft.com/guide/rupeesINTRODUCTIONEMC 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.OrderThere 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.PriceYou 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.Example: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.SupplyYou'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.SpecialisationTo 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.Why?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.AdvertisingYou'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!