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 Optimizing shops

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Egg
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PostSubject: Optimizing shops   Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:38 am

There's a wide margin between our highest traffic shops and our lowest ones. Pfizz and Spunky have posted some paltry sales figures, and I want to see if there's some way we can help them do better.

For starters, I'd suggest touring around some of the bigger shops in your categories. The Neomallers Top Shops list is a good place to start, or the middle/front of the Main Marketplace. See if there are any essential items you might be missing. This is a good strategy for everyone, in fact, to periodically see how your shop stacks up.

Just because you're small, doesn't mean you have to be content with 5-20 sales per day. It may mean we have to give you another category, but first, let's make sure you're milking what you have to the max. Use the JellyNeo database (NeoItems is down) and fill in any gaps you find, where reasonable.

I'll have a closer look at prices and whatnot later today. If anyone has any bright ideas, let's hear them!
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Roby



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PostSubject: Re: Optimizing shops   Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:15 am

Another thing I'm curious about is the percentage of visitors who actually buy from the shops. This would have to be an individual effort though. Does anyone have information about this?
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Egg
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PostSubject: Re: Optimizing shops   Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:28 am

I used to track my hits:sales, and I will be doing that again, now that we have a good counter.

I remember HR saying 20% was a high standard, according to Mallers of Neopia. I'll see if I can find some data on this.
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Egg
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PostSubject: Re: Optimizing shops   Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:52 am

Very briefly:

Pfizzgig: Checking my old data files, and JellyNeo, I noticed that you are missing some pretty important items. The newest prizes, some mid- and low-cost backgrnds, and several other trinkets that would fill out your shop. (Checkered Flag is one) A good strategy for a smaller shop it to try to cover every buyable item in your categories. You can't expect the higher prices, so you aim for greater volume.

This is a good idea for Spunky as well, except the F&G category is huge, so you need to be more selective, but make sure you have a front page that's comparable to the best shops in your category.
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spunky_munky_gal

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PostSubject: Re: Optimizing shops   Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:04 pm

I've actually put a LOT of time and thought into my front page (and all my pages) to have a shop that looks good and has a range of items on the front page. Some of my best sellers are mid page, and if I follow what the big shops are doing and stock pretty much everything, it means my front page will be half NH1.0 gardening (which doesn't sell particularly well) and second half NH1.0 furniture, with none of my best sellers making it. And it would also mean a shop that looks messy. At the moment my lines are each themed in some way, which means often I'll get a customer who buys a whole line, or as much of it as they can afford.

I also periodically print out my shop, record unit sales against each item and look at which lines aren't selling, remove them and try something else. I've been through that painful process twice since I joined the mall. I'm probably due to do that again soon, once I have some time.

I didn't think my sales were that bad, especially considering since at the moment I'm hovering between huts 210 and 220 while I save for a big jump. I don't think I can complain about ordinary sales figures when I'm not really jostling for hut position at the moment because I'm planning on jumping up significantly. I just don't think it's (overall) my stock or my shop front that's the problem. I don't really know what is, but I did take a lot of advice from Di on what sold well for her in F&G when I was setting up my shop. I also have a number of good sellers that she never stocked (like the simple furny, fire bush etc). I'll go to a full inventory if everyone wants me to, but I don't know that it will make much difference.

One thing that used to happen in my old mall was that when main shops were mid to bottom of hut, they would look to see if jumping down to island would help push someone to top of hut. They used to use the forum to post when they would do this and who would be affected. I don't know whether people are interested in doing this, but in my (admittedly limited) experience hut position is crucial, and it really improved sales when this coordinated approach was taken.

PS - I just read over this, and I sound defensive - I don't mean to, I just wanted to get all my thoughts down! Like I said, if the mall really wants me to go to full inventory I will. It will just mean I will have to have much lower multiples of everything, which shouldn't be too much of a problem, since generally I RS every day.
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Pfizzgig

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PostSubject: Re: Optimizing shops   Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:53 pm

There is definately room for improvement in my shop (Not that I'm unhappy with sales, but I do know I could do better after looking at the Top Shops). Have been gradually expanding stock and trying to fill the gaps, but I am constantly surprised by new things I've missed as it is Very Happy and similar categories in the 'Top Shops' list have been fantastic inspiration over the past couple of days. Like Spunky I have spent time eliminating dud items from the front page especially and tried to maintain an attractive array of well priced items there. I have tended to err on the side of caution when it comes to possible crossover items however, may loosen my guidelines a bit there and put anything controversial up for debate here.
I would prefer not to take on a wholly new category personally. I personally dislike shops that have to distinguish between categories with price schemes etc, would rather give potential customers the comfort of knowing *everything* in there is wearable. If expansion is warranted I would rather go the complete 'customization' shop as I've seen in other malls, though this may have worrying amounts of crossover with Egg's Clothes category. Not sure what proportions of the quest 'Clothes' are actually wearable, but it may be too messy to pursue.
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Egg
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PostSubject: Re: Optimizing shops   Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:31 am

I wouldn't want to tell you that you have to do anything, Spunky. Sorry if I spoke too strongly! You and Pfizz have both put a lot of effort into your shops. Every time I've looked in, I've been impressed with what you've each put together. That's kinda why I'm wondering where the sales are. Which brings me to your other point ...

Hut chasing is time-consuming, *blah* and I haven't put the effort into it that most mall managers do (I think). That's kinda why I built the Directory and Positions links - I just haven't gotten around to the actual work of market manipulation.

I don't know what more you can do for your own shop aside from growth. If you're satisfied that your items are the best, or at least that you're actively adjusting to find the best items, then your success must be more dependent on us bigger shops getting the exposure.

My own experience from when I was the smallest shop in the mall made me think that maybe a broad coverage might be the best strategy. I'm guessing that bigger shops are better able to run with one to three pages of top sellers than small shops. I just know that I had about 9+ pages and every single buyable item in my category, and my hits and sales rivaled Queek's, Rhett's and HR's, and I felt even with my small size, I was contributing to the mall's draw. This was before Clothes were even wearable.

So, now I'm looking at your hits and sales, and I feel badly for you - I worry that you'll be disappointed. I think if it were me, I'd have been discouraged. Furn&Garden is supposed to be a top category, and theoretically, so is Wearables and Backgrounds.

Pfizz, we may be able to expand the Wearables to include Clothes, but not right away. I think you still have room to expand what you already have, and ... I'm not ready to give up the profits! Smile We might, however, arrange to share more cross-overs.

***
Of course, we haven't even talked about pricing! I've just reduced my first page prices to see if that helps a bit, and I haven't looked at anyone else's prices, but that could definitely make a difference!
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tsangpo

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PostSubject: Re: Optimizing shops   Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:08 am

It looks like my hits are the lowest of the main market shops. However I think that is slightly indicative of my category, on the up side I probably have one of the top spending averages per customer due to them buying collections of items. I usually end up with one customer spending over 100k per week.
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spunky_munky_gal

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PostSubject: Re: Optimizing shops   Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:47 am

That's fine egg, I know you're just worried we'll get discouraged! Personally, I haven't been keeping as close an eye on hut position as I normally do for a couple of reasons - firstly because my current hut is fairly difficult to get top of, and secondly because I'm really just treading water until I upgrade (note to self- have to check how much more NP I need before my next jump, I have a feeling I'm pretty close)

Personally, I don't mind having slow times, and I'm very patient - comes from playing the stocks I guess. I think furny & garden took a bit of a hit with the superstore, and neohome shops being linked to from the NH2.0 entry page. That's part of the reason I've been reluctant to build a guide with links, I don't want to point people toward that superstore, because I tend to sell quite a bit of that simple furniture!

PS- I made a jump to top of hut 200 Smile
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