Malling: A Very Effective Way to Make Millions
Neopian Malling is something that used to be really popular back in Year 10 and 11, but in recent times, it seems to be falling out of favor. Many people probably don't even know what the term "malling" means anymore. The reasons for this are unknown, but are probably equated from the facts that Malling requires many, many hours of time and effort, along with much investment of one's hard-earned neopoints.
The point of this article is to teach one the ins and outs of successful shop keeping, along with a few insider-secrets; in hopes that malling will make a comeback to Neopia. If you are not ready to sacrifice any of the aforementioned things: time, effort, neopoints, then you are probably not ready to become a maller. But if you are willing, then I highly suggest you read on...
1) The term "Malling": You may be wondering, "Wow! I'm ready to make millions malling, but I'm still not really sure what it is..." This should answer those many conundrums within your brain.
A 'mall' is a group of shop owners who have gotten there shops together to form a combined mall. Each shop usually specializes in one or two categories such as: Battledome, Toys, Books & School, etc., with very minimal amounts of items outside of their category. Each mall has what is called a "mall banner." The Mall Banner is usually decorated with pretty graphics and has links to every member of that mall's shop, which in turn increases not only buyer traffic to your shop, but to your follower mall members as well. (For a visual example of a mall, check the Notice Board; the 4 million slots are almost always filled with successful malls!)
2) Preparing your shop to join a mall: Before looking for the perfect mall, one must prepare their shop. Remember, shops that are in malls usually only stock one to two types of items, so choose a category that you are familiar with or one that you like. Common categories in malls are, but not limited to (Malls vary in categories):
General: The one category that stocks a bit of everything.
Toys & Plushies: Stocks everything from that old 'Broken Uni Hat' to Usukis.
Food: Anything edible is stocked here, Yum!
Collectibles: Stocks items such as coins and stamps, along with Trading Cards.
Petpets & Supplies: Stocks the adorable little Petpets and Petpetpets of Neopia, along with any supplies, such as beds, for them.
Books & School: Make your pet smarter here! Any Books or School-related items can be found here.
Wearables & Backgrounds: Stocks ONLY clothing and backgrounds that are wearable.
Clothing & Grooming: Stocks clothing that is NOT wearable, along with grooming supplies.
Neohome & Garden: Stocks any furniture and supplies for both Neohomes v.1 and v.2.
Battledome and Medicine: Stocks everything from weapons and armor to medicine to heal after a long battle.
Paint Brushes, Morphing Potions, and Neggs: One of the only two categories, that stocks three types of items. This is due to the amount of items that are buyable in the category. Some malls allow for anything with 'Negg' or 'Paint Brush' in the name, such as "Last Year's Negg" or "Yellow Paint Brush Plushie," while other malls do not. Make sure to check with the mall owner before stocking them.
Training, Luck, and Maps: The other category with three types of stock, again due the size. These are probably the smallest categories, so most malls require the owners of these shops to sell in bulk (multiples of every item), rather than having a set amount of pages like the other categories.
Once you have chosen your category, you're ready to begin stocking. I recommend starting your shop with at least 500k, if you don't have at least 500k to invest, I wouldn't begin malling yet. Get your shop up to at least size 50, which is about the minimum the smaller malls require (If you don't have a shop yet, this requires 245,150 NP).
3) Stocking your shop: If you have chosen your category, and your shop is/is now size 50, then pat yourself on the back; you've taken your first steps into successful malling! Find a list of items that match your category (a good way is to look at other malls shops) and begin by stocking the cheaper items first. Most malls prefer a quality of selection over quantity of product, and stocking the cheaper items will give you more NP to buy more different items. As your shop starts to grow, begin to add in the higher priced items.
Most mallers, restock using the Shop Wizard or the Super Shop Wizard, which is an amazing tool for mallers, if you are a Premium User. But some also restock using Auction-sniping or Restocking in the main Neopian Shops. I recommend using the Shop Wizard, it's the fastest and most effective way to stock; you can find great deals, while comparing prices with other user's shops.
Buy enough items to fill your shop to the brim. If you have leftover NP after that, upgrade a few more times, and fill that up as well.
4) Pricing your Items: The number one rule of shopkeeping: ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU'RE MAKING A PROFIT. For example, if you are buying Five Dubloon Coins for 5,000 NP, and then reselling them for 5,000 NP, you aren't going to make any NP fast; in fact, you will soon end up broke. If you bought the Five Dubloon Coin for 3,000 NP, sell them in your shop for 3,500 NP or 4,000 NP.
How much you are willing to restock and how fast you want to sell items, determines your prices. For example, I always try to keep my items at the top/near top of the Shop Wiz. I end up restocking at least twice a day, but I have upwards of 500k in my Shop Till. Higher Prices mean slower sales, more profit and less restocking, while Lower Prices mean more sales, more shop traffic, and more restocking.
Insider Tip: The Shop Wizard always shows certain letters of the alphabet together, based on the first letter of your username (sarahbunnii is listed with the F, S, and 5 usernames); to be on top of the Shop Wizard you only have to beat out the other shop owners, whose letters show with you. These groups are: A, N, 0; B, O, 1; C, P, 2; D, Q, 3; E, R, 4; F, S, 5; G, T, 6; H, U, 7; I, V, 8; J, W, 9; K, X, _ (underscore); L, Y; M, Z.
5) Joining a Mall: So you're fully stocked and ready to go, it's time to locate the perfect mall for you! Check the Shops Ads Board; it's always filled with plenty of malls that are recruiting. Or, post a thread, saying that you are interested in Joining a Mall. If a mall likes your shop, they may recruit you.
When you've found the perfect mall, make sure to read all the Rules before joining, they are very important! By applying to that mall, you are agreeing to follow all of them; applying and then ignoring them the next day, leaves a bad impression on the Mall Leader and your fellow mall members, and may even lead to your removal of the mall.
If the category you'd like to apply is currently filled, most malls have a waiting list that you can be asked to be added to. You can remain on the list as long as you'd like, and if that position opens up, it's yours! If you are on the waiting list, make sure to keep you stock filled as if you were already part of the mall. If you seem to be slacking, a mall owner may remove you from the list.
Once you apply, the Mall Leader should get back to you with either an acceptance letter or a rejection letter. If you received an acceptance, congrats, you have now entered into the wonderful world of malling! If you received a rejection, there was probably a good reason why. Politely ask the mall leader why, and what you can do to improve for next time. Common reasons for rejection are: Not enough stock, items priced too high, or not meeting the mall Shop requirements.
6) Malling: Now, that you have joined your first mall, you must continue to restock your shop. (Remember those mall rules you agreed to?) Depending on your prices, your shop is probably already ready for a big restock. The 'Sales History Tab' in your shop, is a maller's best friend. Check it to see what is sold out of your shop. Grab the money out of your Shop Till, and restock using the methods previously discussed in the section "Stocking Your Shop." I recommend re-investing all profit made during your sale; the more invested, the bigger the payout. Restock all items that sold, and use your leftover cash to stock new items and to upgrade your shop as needed. Make sure you always stay within your Mall minimums; most malls require a certain amount of upgrades in a month and a certain amount of pages of stock. Keep restocking and within, a few days, you should already see your profits rising!
Insider Tip: The Marketplaces. When you created your shop, you probably saw the place where it asks you to choose your shops location, thought nothing of it, and merrily just clicked one. That would be incorrect though, the Location of your shop matters where you will be in the marketplace. The Spooky Marketplace is located in the Haunted Woods, and houses the smallest shops. The Island Marketplace is located in Mystery Island, and houses the middle-sized shops. And the Main Market Place is located in Neopia Central and houses only the largest shops. Getting on one of these market lists, requires a very large shop, but can greatly increase traffic to your shop.
Insider Tip: The Notice Board. The Notice Board is a great place to advertise a mall, being at the top of the list, increases traffic to your store. Many malls do run an optional Notice Board Ad, which you can be a part of, if you are willing to pay your share of the cost of it.
Remember, malling is a group effort. If you are no longer willing to restock as much as you agreed to in the rules, then you should probably leave the mall. Know the old saying, "a chain is only as good as it's weakest link?" Well, the same goes for a mall. If one member has a lacking stock or extremely high prices, it will turn away potential buyers from shopping at that same mall again. It doesn't only hurt your sales, but the sales of your fellow mall members as well. A mall is a group of people who are DEDICATED to improving their shop together as a well-knit unit. If you aren't ready to give up the time needed for this, then you shouldn't be in a mall.
Final thoughts: Malling is a great way to earn millions, and improve your shop at the same time. Many malls keep threads up on the Shops Ads board, where members are free to chat on it with other mall members. Malling is not only a way to make Neopoints, but a way to meet some nice people and make good friends, who push each other to increase sales and profits. I hope that in reading this article, you've decided to become a maller and join us other mallers soon! Best of Luck in your future malling endeavors!