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Running a Minecraft Store - Taking Over the Market

When using a store plugin on a server, players often think the stores make lots of money and want to open a store. This article explores some things I learned during my experiences joining a large server with several large established stores, and putting them all out of business over a significant period of time. My methods are a bit difficult to stomach in the beginning, but in the long term highly profitable. In all, it took me over three months of operation to turn my first profit, and in the first week I lost $70,000 in game money, but by the end of six months I was in the top five richest players.
1. Store Startup
The first thing I did to create the store is to organize it based on convenience and logical categories. This is more difficult than it sounds because Minecraft has so many items. Make sure to plan on including every item in your store. It means you will be everyone’s go to source for everything. This is important for building equity in your brand. When I built my store, I color coded the rooms to help people identify where items were. I placed a three wide strip as a walkway on the floor and a one block strip in the walls. People quickly learned that blue was for valuable goods and cyan was for books. It helped them to guess where other goods would be without having to look it up every time. You don’t need every item from the start, but you need to have a plan for just about every item, so you can add it later.
When setting up for convenience, be careful to optimize the time it takes to get from area to area. This can be done by limiting the store to a single floor, getting speed 2 beacons in the store, and creating subzones in the residence for each item or area. Do not make a complex multi-floor building with giant staircases between floors. People hate running up four floors to get to the next item. I was preferred over other competitors that did this partly based on layout and the beacons.

2. Focus on Buying – Not Profitability
This is a really tough one for people to handle, and it requires a long-term vision to execute. Although money is tight in the beginning, the worst is losing a customer because you are out of stock. If you are regularly out of stock, people don’t come any more. I constantly thanked people who sold to me and focused all of my attention on those people. They were making lots of money, I was becoming very poor, but I always had great stock. Most people think they are taking advantage of you when they drop 4 chests full of cobblestone, they aren’t and make sure they know it. One way I accomplished this is to award customer of the month to the person I saw selling the most during the month.
At times I was upset that someone emptied my bank account selling me stuff no one will ever want, but that’s my problem, not the customers. I need to be there go to source for selling merchandise, whether I will ever sell it or not. I can’t say this enough. Being the go to source for everyone builds a lot of brand recognition and good will with players. When everyone has earned a lot of money at your expense knowing you are not profitable, they eventually want you to succeed.

3. Sell key items in Bulk
Selling items like Wool, Cobble, Stone, Wood, Nether Brick, and Sand in single double chests will give you stocking nightmares. People often want to buy multiple double chests at a time, so I would always have 20 or 30 double chests of space available for each item. I remember losing around $20,000 in game money when I opened an area to sell wool with 12 double chests per color of wool. I quickly became the only store on the server that never ran out of wool. I made a LOT of money in wool alone. Having inventory in high demand items in bulk is a must for building a valuable brand.

4. Build Farms for Key Items
Farms for items like Iron, Gold, Wood, and Obsidian are very important because they allow you to mitigate a lot of expenses. I had a large iron farm that allowed me to always have full double chests full of iron ingots and iron blocks. These items helped fuel my survival in the beginning because they were one of the few items that was actually profitable; I never had to pay to refill them.

5. Keep your Bank Full, Understand the Economy
Minecraft Economies are simplified economic models. They have a fixed monetary supply (e.g. all the money everyone has), but also have money injections and money sinks. Understand what the money injections are for your server and take advantage of them. On the server I was on, the admin injected money by buying rare “unfarmable” items from the players (e.g. diamonds). He would refill his bank account to help supply the economy and control inflation by limiting how much he added.
Spend your time keeping your bank account full. If the money injections come from farming diamonds, spend all your time doing that. If it comes from Votifier, vote every day on as many places as possible. Whatever the system for injecting money is, you need to focus on that because you will be constantly losing money from your store for at least a month or two. Your goal is to keep money in your bank. If you are always broke from buying so many items in your store, people will stop selling to you. If people stop selling, you will run out of stock. If you run out of stock, people will shop elsewhere. It’s a vicious cycle.

6. Enjoy your riches
After about 1-2 months of running this store I started to have spurts of really profitable periods of time. Eventually, I was always making money and lots of it. I had power too. If a new store was started, I had so much supply, I could fill their chests that had higher purchase prices than me and buy out the items that had lower prices. I could intentionally bankrupt stores on a whim if I wanted to, and because I had such great supply, I never ran out of stock. It is an entertaining experience to be such a substantial player in a large server’s economy. I highly recommend it.
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