Weatherbee's Guide to Malling
Feeling a bit clueless when it comes to malling? Want to join the mall of your dreams, but have no idea where to begin? Read on! This guide is full of information on starting up, keeping your shop looking flawless, managing your neopoints, and endless tips on how to become a noted mall member.
Let's face it. Chatspeak is one of the most annoying things in Neopia. However, there are certain words or phrases that are shortened down when malling. Most of them can be learned from a restocking guide, but there are a few that need to be included here:
Restock - This could mean a couple of things.
Restocking your shop. This is something you will do every day as a maller. Whether it be buying from users shops, the Trading Post, Auctions, or the Neopian Main shops (highly recommended), you will be restocking your shop daily.
You can also catch a restock. When the Neopian Main shops restock (randomly, of course) and you are there to buy the items the moment they poof into existence, you just caught the restock.
RSing, RS, RSer - restocking, restock, restocker
NB - Notice Board
SC - Shop Chat forum. If someone says, "Let's go to the SC and chat", they mean shop chat.
MM - Main Market
SW and SSW - Shop Wizard and Super Shop Wizard. You only have access to the Super Shop Wizard if you have Neopets Premium.
What is a Mall?
Have you seen those large banners that people have in their shops? It has a title, small buttons with names like Food and Drinks, Books, and Wearables, and a few faeries on it? This is a mall banner. Each of those buttons with names on them will link to a shop that holds those specific items. The people that have the banner in their shop are members of a certain mall. Everyone in the mall will have the banner in their shop. They are all interlinked, giving you more shop hits.
A shop hit is also known as a shop view. Basically, every time someone views your shop front through the shop wizard, your hut if you have one (read further to find out exactly what a hut is), a mall, a link on the Shop Chat Forum, etc., that counts as a shop hit.
Hits in Detail
Let's look into shop hits a bit further. There are several ways you can get them. The most popular is from the shop wizard or super shop wizard. You can get this kind of shop hit when people search for an item, and click on your shop to get it!
The next is a mall hit. You can get this when people click on your shop on your mall banner. If you are in a mall with shops that have sizes of 100 or less, you are only going to see about one or two mall hits daily. Joining a mall with larger shop sizes will get you more mall hits. Some malls get around 150 daily. No, they didn't get there overnight. It takes patience and a LOT of upgrading to get this many mall hits, but most people will agree it is worth it. Don't be put out if you're only getting those one or two hits a day. Everyone has to start at the bottom and work their way up.
The last type of hit is hut hits. When you go to the Marketplace in Neopia Central, Mystery Island, and Haunted Woods, you will see different shops, huts, or headstones you can click on. Once you click on one, you will see ten usernames, with images and text underneath them. You will also see advertisements and mall banners. All this makes up a hut (hence the shop you clicked on to get there).
To find out if your shop is large enough to be in a hut, visit the Haunted Marketplace. Find the headstone with the lowest shop requirements. Is your shop that size or larger? Then you can join a hut! To put yourself in one of them, you need to go here. See where it says 'world' in your shop description? It's a drop down menu? You will have three options: Neopia Central, Mystery Island, and Haunted Woods. You can technically put yourself in any of those marketplaces, but you won't be in a hut unless your shop is large enough. Click on Haunted Woods. That will stick you in that marketplace. You can now get hut hits when someone clicks on your hut, and then clicks on your links to your shop!
You will only get about two or three of these a day from the smallest marketplace available. You can maximize hut hits by making sure that you are the first one on the list of ten people. Just make sure that when you upgrade, you're upgrading just enough to stay at the top. Staying at the top means when people look in the hut, your shop will be the first one they see! The chances of them clicking on your shop rather than the other nine below you is good! If you don't stay at the top, when people upgrade to a higher shop size than you, you will be moved down the list on the hut. It isn't necessarily a bad thing to be moved to the hut below you, but it is if you are moved out of the marketplace completely.
You can also get shop hits from advertising your shop on the Shop Chat Board, putting links on your petpages, user lookup, pet lookup, and even in your Neopets signature!
Those are all the types of shop hits you can get. The more of these you get, the more profit you make! Think about it - if you're shopping at the Neopian Foods Shop and you're the only one there, the owner isn't going to make many neopoints. However, if there are fifty other people there, then the owner is going to make much more! Malling works the same way. The more people in your shop, the more neopoints you make.
Now imagine if the Food Shop isn't a stand-alone food shop. It's just a Food Court in a mall. The same rule applies. More people equals more sales. However, once these people are finished buying what they need in this particular store, they can go to the store next to it and buy shoes.Then they can go to the pet shop and buy petpets, and finish up in the Home and Garden store. This is exactly what malling on Neopets is. By linking your shop to a mall, you're providing the customers with the things they need in the easiest way possible. One click, and it's theirs. Which means that you will get more hits from other people in the mall!
Types of Malls
Let's go over the different types of malls to find which mall is right for you!
There are two types. The first being a Market Mall. A market mall is a mall in which all shops that are a part of the mall are large enough to be in a marketplace. You do have to have a certain shop size before landing yourself into a marketplace. Once you get there, you have to keep working to stay there as well. Mallers are upgrading their shops often, so if you want to stay in a market, you have to upgrade too!
The smallest marketplace is the Haunted Marketplace. Go ahead and open the link provided and click around. This will give you an idea of what a marketplace looks like. See how you can click on the different headstones, and each one will take you to a page with ten different sections? Those sections are peoples' shops. Most of the text and images there will link to someone's shop, or possibly their mall.
The next step up is the Island Marketplace. There used to be a much larger difference in the minimum sizes for Haunted Marketplace and Island. This shows you how quickly people are upgrading, and how having a large shop is beneficial. You may want to upgrade before everyone else can.
The last and most sought-after market is Main Market. This is the most-visited marketplace, because it is located right here in Neopia Central!
The second type is a non-market mall. These malls are typically for people who are just starting out malling, or people who are content with their shop size and enjoy the extra profit without moving up. The most common shop size for these malls is 100+, although they can range from a size 1 to 250.
Is Malling for You?
You're probably wondering if malling is for you. Taking a look at the pros and cons is a great way to help you decide!
Shop hits increase.
You will meet other people and share a common interest.
You can't sell everything you want unless you choose a mall with an "everything" category. You will have to sell your specified category items. Some malls WILL allow you to sell off-category items, but you can only stock a certain amount of them and, in most cases, they MUST be sold at shop wizard price.
It takes money to make money. Most malls require a shop size of 100+ before allowing you to join. It costs to upgrade, and it costs to buy your stock.
Have you read through the list? Think malling is for you? Read on!
You need to upgrade to at LEAST a size 100 before asking to join a mall. As stated above, this is the most common size requirement. Upgrading now will show dedication and save you from upgrading later. If you're struggling with coming up with the 1,000,000 or so neopoints you need, you can do your dailies, play a few games of Key Quest daily, invest your neopoints in the bank until you have enough to upgrade, and/or restock at the Book and Stamp shops in Neopia Central. Doing this can actually be enough to get you to a size 100 within a couple of weeks! How amazing would it be to skip all the worry of upgrading by getting it done quickly?
Choosing a Category
The next step is to think of a category you're interested in. Where do you like to restock? What do you want to sell? Already have a preference? Take some time to figure out what you want to stock. You will be selling it for a while. Might as well make it something you enjoy! This is something you need to know BEFORE applying. Nobody wants to have to choose a shop for you, and you don't want to be stuck with something you don't like, so make sure the decision is made.
Still need a bit of help? Here are the most common shops:
- Food and Drinks
- Neohome and Garden
- Collectibles (stamps, coins, trading cards)
Sweets and Candy are typically put together; however, in some malls you will find them put with food and drinks.
Maps, Luck, Training, Neggs, Avatars, and Job Coupons typically are split up into pairs creating three different shops. Just pick one, you can always stock the other later.
This is not all the positions. Some malls will have other shops like Packrat, Faerie, Seasonal, etc. This is just the basics. If you're interested in stocking special items like these, then only look for malls with those categories.
After picking a category from the list above, you need to work on stocking your shop. Having at least three pages of stock is an excellent way to get started. It shows your dedication and people will know you're serious about your shop. It's not recommended that you have music, crazy backgrounds (i.e., anything that blinks, crackles, explodes, or makes your mom's head hurt), or links advertising other malls in your shop. It's also not recommended you put quizzes, tests, something has happened events, or any banners that don't advertise your shop in your shop front. This may not annoy you, but it is distracting to some, and those that are distracted could be planning to spend a few hundred-thousand in your shop. Of course, as always, the decision is yours on how you want you shop to look. These are just helpful suggestions. Lastly, check around the site and find a tutorial on how to take the borders off your items in your shop.
Now take a look at your shop front. Nifty, huh?
Have you upgraded to a size 100? Gotten rid of crazy shop layouts and removed the borders from your items? How about stocked your shop? 3+ pages? Removed all your SHH events and quizzes from your shop front? Great! You're ready to start looking for a mall!
Finding Your Mall
The first thing you need look over when choosing a mall to join is the rules. Are they too strict for you? Are you under the minimum shop size requirement? Is the minimum too low for you to get the hits you want? Then chances are, the mall you're researching is not for you. Let's figure out what kind of mall you would enjoy.
If you have a shop that's ABOVE a size 300, you will want to join a mall with a size requirement of at least 300. People that have shops that large are getting hut hits, and you will want to get those hut hits too. Remember, extra hits = extra profit.
If you have a smaller shop that is close to a size 300, but not quite there, it would be efficient to go for upgrade if you can. The extra hits are worth it, and it's a bad idea to join a mall, upgrade, and quit the next day. Mall managers look down on that. Keep reading to find out what else mall managers do.
If your shop is around a size 100, then any mall with a size 100 requirement would be suitable for you. You won't be getting extra hits from a hut, so it won't matter that nobody else in your mall is either. Plus, if your shop is a size 100, chances are, you're brand new to malling, and your new mall members are as well. You can learn together, and don't have to worry about being behind.
Once you've found some malls that suit your shop requirement, you need to start looking at the rules your choices enforce. If the rules are too demanding for your crazy, real-life schedule, you will want to look for something a bit tamer. Maybe try a different category. If you are required to join the guild, but you don't want to leave your current one, or other problems are making you unsure about your choice, then you can go ahead and begin the elimination process. The malls with rules that don't suit your personality or your time frame are not for you. You're not going to be comfortable there, and you're not going to enjoy your malling experience. So eliminate the malls that don't interest you or, in your opinion, ask too much of you, and keep the ones you like.
Lastly, you will want to look at Notice Board ads. Notice Board ads are the ads you see that are posted here weekly. This is another way to grab some extra shop hits. Basically, a price is determined by the manager, and agreed to by the members. Let's say the mall has 10 members, and you will be doing a 100,000 neopoint Notice Board ad. That's going to be 10,000 per person. If a mall you're interested in does Notice Board ads and you don't think you can afford them (the cost is split amongst everyone) then you won't want to join a mall that does these weekly. If you can swing the cost bi-weekly or once a month, then keep those malls that do them occasionally in mind. Don't eliminate them because you aren't sure. Give it a chance. You might find the ads to be quite profitable for you.
Faerie Quest Shops
In most cases, the ads are split evenly, but in some cases, that's not true. Some malls take more from those that have a Faerie Quest shop. Clothing, grooming, books, toys, magic items, and collectible cards are faerie quest items. When you look at mall banners, you will see faerie images. By clicking on this image, you will usually be directed to the shop in the mall that sells these items. Say you're walking around in your local mall, and see a shop that sells a necklace you've been wanting. This shop will also change watch batteries, and you need yours changed! You know of a repair shop down the road that can replace watch batteries, but why would you want to go all the way to the repair shop when you can get your necklace and have the watch battery replaced here? That's similar to Faerie Quest shops. Sure, you could go to the shop in Neopia Central that sells the quest item, but are you sure it will be there? Why go there anyway, when you already found the item you need in one of the quest shops on this cool mall banner? Exactly. You can get more hits by choosing a category that holds faerie quest items, and if that's what you want, then look for a mall that won't charge extra for the ads (if you decide to do them), and one that allows you to have the quest shop AND the regular category.
Need a few more tips? Here are a few things that you can apply to your own malling techniques.
Always keep 100,000 neopoints on hand. You will need this to restock with. Plus, it's always nice to know you have something in savings.
Take your time choosing a mall. You will want to find your perfect fit, as to avoid realizing you've made a mistake, and leaving a week later. This can guarantee you won't be able to join this mall again in the future, whether you leave a notice or not. Managers don't like mall-hoppers.
Use common sense when speaking to people, and well, for everything else too. Don't say things that will give you a reputation as "the maller nobody wants." Honesty is wonderful. Too much information is not. For example, if you're only joining a mall so you can use it as a leverage to get to a mall you really want to join, for the love of Pete, don't tell your mall manager this. Not only will you receive a rude response, you might find it difficult to join a mall in the future. Remember, how you act now will affect your malling career later.
When you're selling your items, you will have some that are lower than 1,000 neopoints. It's great to keep track of those items, since your sales history can't do it for you. You can make yourself a file that says "Neo Stuff" or "Mall Stuff", and type all the items that are sold for 999 or less there. It makes things much easier for you when you have to restock, as all you have to do is order your items in your shop by cost, and see which ones you're missing from your list. For everything that's MORE than 1,000, well, that's why you have a sales history. You can use that to restock your shop.
You can also include in your mall file things that you still need to stock. For example, if you stock books, you will want to keep track of which books you don't have in your shop so you're not buying too many multiples. Just look at your list, type in what you still need on the shop wiz, buy, and then delete from your list to keep everything neat and organized. You may think you will remember all the items you need, but you're only human, and that much information is going to hurt your brain.
Here's a little bit about multiples. When you're selling items in your shop, it's semi-important to have more than one of the item you're selling. This is why. Say you're selling books. You have one copy of The Luckiest Babaa. You price it in your shop, go to school, work, practice, whatever it is you do, come back and it's sold. Now you have to go back to the shop wizard, buy another, and price AGAIN. That doesn't sound like much work, but what about if you sell 100 books while you're away? Do you REALLY want to re-price 100 books? Also, if you had more of those books in stock, you could have sold more of them. That's why multiples are suggested. If you're a bit confused on how many of each to stock, here's a guide you can follow:
If the item will be sold in your shop at 1 - 9,999 neopoints, stock three of each item.
If the item will be sold in your shop at 10,000 - 19,999 neopoints, stock two of each item.
If the item will be sold in your shop at 20,000+, stock one of each item.
This is only a suggestion. If three of each is too much for you, then try two. If you find that certain items are selling too fast for you to restock them, then you may want to add more. It all comes down to how your shop is doing, how much stock you can afford, and your own preferences. That is simply a guide for you to start out with. Feel free to tweak what needs to be tweaked.
Read the mall's website before doing anything.
Introduce yourself to other mall members. They won't bite. Plus, if you're kind and make the effort to talk to them first, they will be more likely to help you out with questions or advice in the future. Like switching categories, or inquiring them about their profits or other information you might be curious about.
Always have goals. This keeps you motivated.
Have an idea that can improve the mall you're in? Tell your manager. He/she is the only one that can put it into action.
The Mall Manager
There's a few things that I've mentioned that need to be covered a bit more into detail. One being your mall manager. A mall manager does exactly that - manages the mall and members. After all, without a manager to keep everyone working hard and keeping their shop in top shape, the mall would fall apart. Here are a few things your he or she might be doing:
Recruiting members. Recruiting is the number one part of malling. If you don't recruit, you don't have mall members, and a mall cannot function without members. Malls with lower minimum shop size requirements have a high turn-over rate. This means that there are people joining and quitting very often. Malls with larger shop requirements have a low turn-over rate, because it is filled with members that are sure they will enjoy malling, and know what they're looking for in a mall. The mall manager will be recruiting on the Shop Forum, Premium forums (if applicable), and even looking through the shop wizard to find awesome shops that aren't currently in a mall. This takes up a lot of time. You may be asked to help out with recruiting. If you are, you should feel good about it! Managers don't trust just anyone to help them pick and choose mall members.
Making graphics. Usually, when you see those big, pretty banners in peoples' shops, they were made and coded by the mall manager. This process takes time. It's not too difficult, but it's very tedious work. The buttons have to be even, the text neat and different, the colors have to match, and the text on the shop buttons can't look wonky with the title text. Some managers cannot make them, so they have another member or someone that is amazing at it make one for them. You shouldn't have negative feelings towards managers that don't make their own graphics, though. If they can't do it, at least they're finding someone who can to ensure the graphics look their best for you!
Managers may also design the mall's website (which usually has the mall rules, members, news, graphics, a waiting list, and other info). Sometimes, there are other pages to the webbie as well, like graphics, guides, and other helpful things to help the mall members grow.
Sending out important mail. As a mall member, you will be receiving quite a bit of mail. Updating the mall banner is one thing you will be notified to do by mail, and if you're in a mall with a smaller shop size requirement, you will be doing this anywhere from 1-3 times a week. It doesn't take long. All you have to do is go to the place where the coding for the mall banner is kept, copy it, and paste it into your shop. This guarantees that you have the most recent banner that links to the correct people. You may also be notified of events your mall is doing. One amazing thing about mall managers is that you're never kept in the dark. The neomails may be annoying sometimes, but you need to read them, because they contain important information pertaining to your mall. Replying with a simple, "thanks for the reminder" or more simple than that, "ok", shows that you're reading your mail and actually care about what is going on in the mall.
Planning. There will be a TON of planning. New mall branches (which is just another mall made by your manager), new events, new ideas. Planning is a good thing.
Helping members with issues, training newbies, answering your questions, and other things to help you succeed. If you're unsure of something, or you want advice, talk to your mall manager. That's why they're there. To help you out and make sure you understand how things work. If your manager complains that they don't have time to answer questions (unless said question has been answered several times in the mall website and you somehow over-looked it), then it's time to find a new mall, because your manager is obviously not invested in what's important.
Your Mall Guild
Some malls do have guilds. Joining this guild will allow you to get to know the people you're working with. A great incentive for joining? You'll meet tons of new people that share a common interest! You can brag about how many neopoints were in your shop till this morning, complain that you missed that restock, and chat about anything neo-related with these people! However, most malls do give you the option of joining, so you're not obligated to do so.
Having trouble selling your items? You may be pricing them too high. It's recommended you sell your items 400 above the cheapest on the SSW or SW, so if you're selling for more than that, try lowering them by 100 neopoints until your items are selling more. If you're already selling them cheapest, then try selling them at 100 above the SSW. Just enough for you to make a little profit. Some items just don't sell. They're not popular. These items that don't sell and are priced super low will draw people to your shop. Your customer will see that one item is cheapest on the SSW, and think that everything else is too! Don't be afraid of losing profit by doing this. If you do, it's only going to be a couple hundred neopoints, which you will make back from the extra profit from other items being sold.
Now that you've read this guide, your brains are full and you're ready to join a mall, or start planning your shop. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and get your shop ready, and start searching for the mall of your dreams!