Running A Toy Shop!
You’ve been sitting around for months now, trying to figure out the most lucrative way to make a ton of money while also doing something you find enjoyable. That’s the Neopian dream, isn’t it? If you enjoy your work then you’ll never work a day in your life, right? Right! So how can you make money while having fun all day? Through selling toys, of course. Toys are a lot of fun to play with, no matter what age you are, and there are so many that you can collect, the possibilities are endless. Instead of making a gallery and filling it with toys, why not put those toys up on a shelf and sell them to happy Neopets? It’s essentially the same as having a gallery, but you just have to restock it and you get to make a profit after all is said and done.
Just because the Christmas season is coming to a close doesn’t mean it is too late to open a toy shop. By next Christmas you’ll have all the kinks worked out and be ready for that rush of business, so now is actually the perfect time. You’ll get the practice in before things start flying off the shelf faster than you can say "Usuki".
Deciding Your Stock
The first thing that comes with owning a successful shop is deciding what exactly you are going to sell. You’ve already narrowed it down to toys, but that is still a very broad category. If you are just starting out on your shopkeeping journey then you probably don’t have a very large shop size yet, meaning you can’t possibly stock every type of toy. Some ideas on what you can start with are:
Educational Toys (puzzles, etc)
Dark Faerie Quest Items
The ones I’ve listed are probably the most popular toy categories out there, but there are more obscure ones like action figures, summer/beach toys, wearable toys and trinkets, and so on. Starting with something more popular is a safer bet because it already has an established customer base, and with something like Dark Faerie Quest Items you know it is in constant demand. Usukis and Plushies are also frequently being used to start galleries by new Neopians, and they are darn cute too!!
When stocking toys remember, fun and colorful tend to sell the best. Rainbow toys, pink plushies, things that look fun are going to fly off the shelves. People may have searched a specific toy on the shop wizard and ended up in your shop, if your inventory is interesting enough it’ll catch their eye and cause them to stay longer and buy more.
Pricing your shop is important, no one wants to go to a toy store and have to take out a mortgage on their NeoHome just to take home a Scorchio Plushie. You want your prices to be low enough to be competitive, but high enough for you to turn a profit. You are a convenient place for people to buy a lot of items for their gallery or to play with their pets without having to search over and over on the shop wizard, or without them having to think up what kind of items to buy.
Pricing a few hundred NP higher than the Super Shop Wizard is a good strategy, as you might still show up as the lowest on the regular shop wizard. Oh, you don’t have the Super Shop Wizard? It’s available to all premium subscribers and is a MASSIVE help when it comes to shopkeeping and making sure you are getting the best deals on your stock to maximize profit. I’d almost call it essential.
In the business industry there is also something called a "loss leader". These are items that you sell for either the same price as you paid, or less, meaning you are losing money on it. The reason for doing this is to get people in the door of your shop. It will show up as the lowest on the shop wizard, making people come to your shop and hopefully buy more items which will end up giving you an overall profit. You don’t want to buy something for 1,000 NP and sell it for 50 NP, but maybe selling it for 900-950 NP. This is where stocking colorful and interesting items come in, keeping people in your shop and keeping them buying more than just your loss leader.
Since you aren’t selling items at the lowest possible prices (since you want to turn a profit), the shop wizard shouldn’t be your only means of getting business. You are going to have to advertise! Put a link to your shop in your signature, make a board on the Shop Ads Neoboard talking about all the cool and cute toys you are selling. Spread the word of your shop as often as you can and people will come visit. Encourage people to bookmark your shop as well so they can keep coming back (especially if you have a full stock of Dark Faerie Quest Items).
Last, but definitely not least, is making sure you are turning a profit. Toys are a wonderful industry, always in demand, and fun to work with...but you are going to need to put in some work. You’ve chosen a stock type, you have priced everything out, and you have advertised the shop. Now it’s time for the profit to come in!!! Keep an eye on what is selling best, and make sure you are keeping that in stock always. Look at what isn’t selling that well and consider cutting that item out so you have space for more popular items. Take note of your sales history and the trends, follow the seasons and holidays (more Christmas toys around Christmas, for example). If you want to make more profit, you’ll have to do this bit of extra work. I promise you, though, that it will be worth it.
It’ll take a little bit to get the hang of it but before you know it you’ll have a bursting bank account and a shop large enough to take over the main marketplace!