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So you want to be a merchant... (beginner's merchant guide)

Discussion in 'Player Created Resources' started by Alioth, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Alioth

    Alioth Avatar

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    Role playing a merchant adventurer in game can be exciting and fun. When I opened my first shop on 6/4/2018 in Crossroads Alleys, I didn't have much to go on, and was really nervous about being able to make enough sales to pay taxes on my lot (15,000 / mo IGG at the time). However, I soon learned being a merchant in game can be quite profitable if you pay attention to the economy of the game.

    I kept detailed spreadsheets of my sales details to keep me on track, and learned quite a bit in the process. My first month open, which was only 27 days, I sold over 800k gp worth of merchandise, at a profit of about 50% of total sales less taxes. I was really surprised by this. About 40 players spent over 1000 gp in store, and I kept track of all of them to raffle an Obsidian Plate set to those who spent that amount or more, which also ate into my profits a bit, but I figured the advertising couldn't hurt. At that time, CF vendors were more expensive, row taxes were more expensive, and a few of the great tools we have now didn't exist.

    So how do you get started as a merchant? There aren't a lot of guides out there, so here are a few basics to get you started:

    BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO MERCHANTING -

    - Get a row deed.
    This is now free, just do the outskirts quest, which takes all of about 30-40 min for a new character.

    - Get a Commission Free (CF vendor).
    These used to go for over 100 USD on the player market, or over $500 in a village bundle from Port, or over 900k IGG if you could even find them. Now they are pretty cheap and obtainable for 1900 COTOs in game. Pretty much a must have item to stay competitive, otherwise your vendor eats 10% of sales, which may be your whole markup if you are selling low cost items.

    - Learn what things sell for
    ShroudoftheAvatar.net has an excellent price list that didn't exist when I got started, but I use it all the time now for referencing what things are selling for. It is easy to setup an account to add your receipts.

    - Get your stock together
    Anything can sell for the right price. Whether that's profitable depends on what you paid for it. Spend some time using the tool above, and you can get a great feel for what things cost, and how many of them move over time.

    Ways to get stock:
    -- Crafting
    Forget about crafting if you are new, unless you can craft high tier gear, it is largely unprofitable for resell, since the RNG generates so many failures and mats cost a lot of either time or money to acquire. I initially wanted to craft mid tier archery gear and none of it sold for what it cost me to make it, so I had to adapt to survive.

    -- Grinding
    Almost anything you come across in your adventures can be resold. Mats sell for far more than you can craft them into, so just getting the mats (wood, iron, gold, silver etc) is usually a great way to go.

    -- Bargain Hunting
    If you're into finding deals, this can be a great way to visit Novia and Hidden Vale, looking for those out of the way vendors who've got sweet deals you can bring back to your market town. Don't look for bargains in the market towns. This requires getting out in the sticks and hunting.

    -- Farming
    If you've got some space to farm, selling reagents or produce is a great way to make some coin, bonus is that if you don't sell to the player market fast enough, you can offload these to the NPC vendor at a profit. There are some great guides out there already on this.

    -- Livestreams
    Those monthly livestream items tend to resell well, as long as you mark them below the 25-35k most folks resell them for. I tend to keep the ones I like and sell the rest.​

    - Find a nice spot with good foot traffic.
    Any market town will probably do, though I'm fond of Crossroads Alleys and that's where I had my shop.

    - Consider renting for good exposure, or joining a guild
    foot traffic is KEY, and there are some great rental spots around if you look. Guilds also sometimes offer great locations on their guild vendors, or in Guild Market towns.

    - Advertise.
    Folks have a trade channel on discord, and now in game, and those are both good spots. Discord is probably still better, since you can search WTS / WTB stuff. The player market forum here is also a good resource for this. Nulltrading.com is another excellent trading site for finding current stock on vendors, and for advertising your own wares.

    - Adjust Prices Early and Often
    Keep it Fresh. If something hasn't sold in 1-2 weeks, drop your price. If everybody is selling "Livestream Ornate #5" for 25,000 gp, mark yours lower. If folks find you run lower prices in general, they'll seek you out.

    That's the basics. On average I spent about 1-2 h / day to keep my shop going. I found I don't have that same amount of time to play right now, so it's pretty much closed for the time being. There are definitely MUCH better traders than I out there, but I thought a beginner's guide could be pretty handy for folks looking to get started.

    If you're on the fence about opening a shop - jump in! There has never been a better time to do it. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message here or in game, I'm happy to share what I've learned.

    Alioth

     
    Frogtown, OxNull, Jaesun and 5 others like this.