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Guide to Competitive Pricing and a Profitable Shop


by fruitychiagirl

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NEOPIA CENTRAL - You’ve learned how to hit the Neopian shop restocks, how to find bargain items in other people’s shops, and have spent a lot of time and NP making your shop a spacious and pleasant place for other Neopians to shop.

Now what?

It sounds like a simple thing to put things in your shop, price them and wait for the money to come into your till. But there are just a few smart things you can do to make sure you get the most out of your stocked items, and a way to keep the Neopian marketplace a thriving source of commerce for everyone.

The first thing you need to remember is this: Have patience. Be judicious about pricing your items, and watch the marketplace carefully for fluctuations in prices. Don’t expect things to sell overnight. Sometimes they will, and sometimes they won’t.

How your shop items sell depends on several things.

1. Demand for the item. Are you trying to sell clovers when it’s not St. Patrick’s Day? Are you stocking Christmas items in February? Or did you carefully store your Lost Desert items in your safe deposit box once you knew the plot was on its way, and then bring them out to sell once the plot was underway and everyone was hooked? Know what’s hot and what’s not. If your shop items make people yawn, put them away in your SDB and wait until there’s a run on them again. Find something else that people are clamoring for, and look for those items to stock up on.

2. Item rarity. You won’t have much luck selling jellies and omelettes for lots of NP when every Neopian gets a free one every day, or selling advent calendar items the day they were released. But if you get a more unusual omelette, such as a Tomato and Pepper Omelette rather than a Green Pepper Omelette, you can make more NP from it.

3. Current economic trends. Race to Riches scratchcards went for 700 NP in people’s shops a while back. Now, they’re barely over 600. What happened? It’s just been a gradual shift in how people have been pricing them over time. They’ll probably go back up again over the next several months.

4. Type of item. You can’t sell battledome items to people who don’t fight, nor furniture to people who don’t have neohomes. There are all kinds of collectors and hobbyists in Neopia. Find a niche that serves your chosen demographic, learn those items that sell well, and make sure you have plenty of them to make your shop a favorite among that particular group. For instance, if you think you can cater to the crowd that collects cakes, make it your business to know what the newest cakes are when they get released, and what all the others sell for.

All of these things reinforce that first need to BE PATIENT. Watch to see what other shop owners are selling their items for, sit on things that aren’t going to sell high now but may do better later, and don’t EVER price anything without checking the Shop Wizard first! If you put that Tomato and Pepper Omelette in your shop for 10 NP right next to your other omelettes because you didn’t check the prices, you would have lost a good deal of money. It pays to do your homework!

Let’s say you have an item in your shop, and you check the Shop Wizard. Do at least three refreshes to get three different views of shop owners’ prices to get a good overview of what other folks are asking for it. And let’s say you see that most people are selling it for about 600 NP. Some people have it for 575 or so, but only a few.

Don’t just price it at 550 to undercut the cheapest one. Go ahead and price it for just over 600, to see if someone will buy it for that much; if they do, you just made a few extra NP. If not, no harm done; you can change it later.

That brings us to the next point. Just because you put a price on your items, that doesn’t mean you’re done here. No, you still have to work on maintaining them and making sure you’re still on the cutting edge of the marketplace.

So your item didn’t sell for 625 NP. It’s clear that you need to make an adjustment. (I typically will reduce the price by 5-20 NP at a time if it’s under 1,000 NP to start with, and 20-50 NP at a time if it’s between 1,000 and 5,000 NP.) So you put it down to 610 NP. Then to 600, then 595, and so on, until the item sells or until you feel comfortable leaving it at a price for a while longer than usual.

Speaking of which, what’s the usual time frame for leaving an item up in your shop before pricing it down? Well, it depends on what day of the week it is. Consider that Neopians have different playing habits on weekdays and weekends. Some folks squeeze in a little time each day, and run off with their friends on the weekends. Some of us don’t have time to play much during the week, and camp out in front of the computer during the weekend. This is why you NEVER CHANGE PRICES ON A WEEKEND. There’s a lot of activity going on for some, and lots of users who aren’t on at all. If you price it down during the weekend, you might miss a buyer who would have taken the stuff at your higher prices.

During the week, check your items every 2-3 days and see what’s not selling, and then take it down a little bit. I like to wait until Tuesday to get all the non-weekenders time to settle back in and do their shopping. Then I re-price again on Fridays and see if the weekenders find my shop when they do theirs.

Now, a word about big-ticket items. Currently, we can sell things in our shops for up to 99,999 NP. That’s going to change soon when the Powers That Be make it so we can sell for even higher prices. Whenever a big change like this comes to the economy, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to remember to be patient. It’s going to take everyone a little time to get used to the new prices and get into a rhythm with it. So don’t drag out your unbuyables from your SDB right away. Keep them there. Watch to see what other people are doing. See if the prices go up and down, and wait until they settle down to jump in there. (If they go WAY down, do jump in there, but with your pocketbook! Buy a few things at bargain-basement prices if you can, and then stash them away until the prices rise again so you can make a profit.)

Another thing about big-ticket items is that you don’t want to price them down as often as other, more everyday items in your shop. I had a Kau Sundae in my shop at the same price for probably 3 weeks before it finally sold. And I had one of the lowest prices on the Shop Wizard! I kept checking the Wizard to see if the prices were going down, and if that was why mine wasn’t selling. They weren’t; mine was still one of the cheapest ones out there. It was just an expensive food, so people won’t buy those as often. People buy bread at the grocery store more often than they go buy a new car. It’s just a natural aspect of commerce. So I kept the Kau Sundae at a price that I was comfortable with, and I waited patiently. Eventually, it did sell. Don’t cut your own profits just because you want to “get rich quick.”

Now that I’ve armed you with some common-sense advice, and if you are ready to take on the research and patience required to make your shop nicely profitable, take another look at what’s in your shop right this minute, and look at the Shop Wizard to see if you’re staying competitive. Have fun with it most of all, and I’ll see you out there…I’ll be the one with the big shopping bag and a big sign in the shop of my window!

 
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