How to Run a Successful Shop

The player-led economy is a key part of EMC and one of the aspects that drew me to the server in the first place. Starting a shop (and keeping it running) can be a daunting idea; it can be difficult to determine what to start selling and for how much, but after running a mall for the past few years I’ve narrowed down five tips that can make starting and maintaining a shop easier.

1) Start Small Then Expand

Don’t feel pressured to conquer the whole market in one go! It can be easier to start off small and then expand, once you’re able to sustainably sell and keep stock. Start by selling items you can gather and mine easily, before branching off into harder to obtain items.
My first shop only sold a few items, mostly farming goods that I could grow and harvest myself. I now run a mega-mall selling hundreds of different items!

AnonReturns outside of her mega-mall
AnonReturns in front of her mega-mall

If you want to reduce the number of items players can sell to your shop from sell signs, limit the capacity of your chests with items or blocks (I tend to use dirt). I remember being new to the EMC economy when a player sold me 26 stacks of cauldrons; years later and I’m still selling those same cauldrons as they are not a popular item!

2) Ensure You Have Good Stock

Once a shop is up and running, the trickiest thing to keep up with is ensuring you’ve got a good stock of items! Whether you’re online or not, players can buy you out of your whole stock.

I tend to keep track of what has been bought and sold to me using my rupee history, or through checking each individual chest and restocking accordingly. To make this easier, it is key to have a good storage of surplus items elsewhere on your residence so that you can replenish your shop chests quickly and not disappoint your customers.

Also, I try to vary the quantity of an item I sell at once: for expensive and rare items, I tend to sell individually or in a quantity of 4. For more easily obtained items, I tend to sell 16 or 32 items at a time. This variety means that players can buy as much or as little as they need.

Different quantities on shop signs
Varying quantities of sandstone in a mall

You can also set container:preview flag to true so that players can see the quantity of an item in stock.

3) Set Competitive Prices

Pricing is essential to running a shop: too cheap and players will buy you out of stock to use or resell, too expensive and you’ll never have any customers. Do your research and look at various shops to gather a range of prices for the items you’re trying to sell. For help with setting up shop signs, see this wiki page. Be aware that supply and demand can greatly affect the price of an item. For example, with an update, a new item can enter the market and start selling for a high price. However, as the economy becomes saturated with the item the price can drop. This was seen with elytra: on release, they were selling for 80,000r but now they can sell for around 10,000r!

4) Make It Easy for Your Customers

The easier it is for a player to find the item they’re trying to buy, the more likely they are to buy it. For example, by placing an item frame or block by your shop signs, a player can see where you’re selling an item more easily than checking each sign individually. Another tip is to put items you’re trying to sell quickly in the eye line of players when they teleport to your residence – this is used in the real-world retail industry! By setting up residence locations and teleport signs around your shop, it can make it easier for players to navigate and find the items they’re looking for. The easier and more convenient it is to get to an item, the easier it is for players to buy it.

5) Advertise Your Shop

With global chat, it’s now easier than ever to spread the word about your shop so that you can draw players in. You must remember to use market chat when advertising and only advertise once per every three hours in line with the chat rules. However, you can advertise your shop if a player asks for an item, and you sell it:

Advertising shop to a player looking for an item

Alternatively, if you’re opening your shop for the first time, you could hold a “Grand Opening” ceremony to draw potential customers to your residence and to hopefully buy some of your items. Furthermore, you could start a thread about your mall on the forums, updating the community on what you’re doing to your mall and what you’re selling.

With this information in mind, it’s time to get out there and create your own shop!

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