If you were a fan of Capitalism II, a popular business simulation game that was released in 2011, then imagine playing something very similar, with many more features… and with real players all over the world. This article teaches you on how to figure your way around.. and survive in Virtonomics with retail stores.
So it was easy winning back in Capitalism II because once you have gotten a hang of how the computer AI works, the rest was simply copying your formula all over again. But can you do the same with a game that involves real human beings behind the monitor?
If you thought the answer was ‘no’, that is where you are wrong! As a matter of fact, it is still the same – YES you can. The key to winning a business game, be it offline or online, is to treat it as your own business.
First of all, you need a business plan. You need to know what is the path you should take to creating a very huge business in Virtonomics. I know of some players who began by building factories first, becoming the supplier and later attempt to dominate the market of the particular industry. I would term this as the back-end path. And then, I know some players who would do market research and later choose to open retail stores upfront first, managing their suppliers and their retail stores. This is what I would term as the front-end. Personally, I would prefer starting off with the front-end move as a much, much lower capital is needed for this path.
Generally, my business plan was to build a positive and consistent income stream via the front-end, then concentrate on the back-end to lower my cost (hence increasing more profits) by producing my own goods. Ultimately, laboratories should be constructed to research (and sell) new technologies to increase the quality of goods.
So now we have chosen to go by the front-end way, we begin by doing our market research. You can do so via [Game] -> [Report]. Select the country/city and the product that you wish to sell. Pay attention to two important things here:
1. Local Supplier’s Information
2. Store’s Information
The local suppliers in Virtonomics would mean non-player-controlled companies that are in the market. Stores would mean the ones controlled by players.
In essence, you want to have a winning edge over the local suppliers. It could be same pricing but better quality in products. Look through the list of suppliers you have access to, and select your products from there.
Another thing you want to take note is the location of store. Customers shopping in City Centers tend to care more on quality than in the pricing, as compared to customers shopping in the suburb. Also, take note of the wealth index of the country. In rich countries, generally, quality is favoured over price.
Repeat this step for all the products.
Once you have identified good markets for your business entry, build an office in that region. Staff your office with the relevant employees and the computer equipment. Next, build a 500sqm retail store in the city center. As with your office, employ some staff to tend to your retail store.
Select your supplier and make your stocks purchase from them. Do note that for a start, you should stick to just one department (same production line of goods). Also, note that supplies will only come after one game update, so do not be alarmed if you do not see your stocks in your store yet!
As you would have guessed it, the last step would be to set the prices for your goods. This can get a little intimidating for new players, but thankfully, Virtonomics offer very good reports to help you get going. Once again, head to the Market Report and select your country/city this time. I recommend that you set up your pricing using this approach:
Your selling price = Local suppliers’ price * (Your good’s quality / Local suppliers’ good’s quality)^0.5
Prices should be reviewed for every different country. As a general rule of thumb, you should increase your selling price by 30% for very wealthy countries, and take off about 30% for selling the same goods in poor countries. You should tweak this as you deem fit.
This is basically what you need to do to setup and run a retail store. Repeat for other retail stores in different countries and note that you could be getting the same goods and price from the same suppliers, but you might be charged differently due to different customs/delivery charges. Adjust your prices accordingly as well.
Now wait for a game update, your goods should arrive and your stores are ready for the new customers! Once you have a stable stream of income, you may consider increasing your stores’ size or do basic marketing advertisement campaigns to increase the number of customers to your store.
In my next coming article, I will discuss my strategies (and some theory-crafting) on store optimizations, work efficiency, and how to have an edge over your fellow competitors.
Feel free to contact me for help in Virtonomics, my player ID is erevion. I will be more than happy to help you.