Managing a store isn’t too different from running a town, you know. Now get scrubbing, your ma – floor scrubber!
Convenience Stories is a game by Kairosoft, and if you’ve tried out (and maybe read my guide on) Dungeon Village 2, you’ll immediately see their similarities. However, while they’re both management simulators, you’ll need a whole new set of skills to meet your company’s yearly sales quota. Remember, we’re a Family™ here.
Like Dungeon Village 2, Convenience Stories is a paid game. If you enjoyed Dungeon Stories 2, or any other management sim by Kairosoft, then this one is a definite must-play. And by virtue of being a paid game, there are no ads or microtransactions in the game. Convenience Stories is available on both the Google Play Store and the App Store.
Convenience Stories may look easy at first glance, but there’s a lot going on under the hood. If you’d like to get a heads-up on what to expect from the game, as well as some tips and tricks on getting started, then this beginner’s guide is for you.
Any business venture is a risk, and as manager, it’s your task to steer your fledgling convenience store from a humble brick-and-mortar shop to a regional and even national giant. But as with all things, we should start with the basics.
Setting Up Your Store
When you start up the game, you’ll be given two locations for a store. Tranquil Town will set you back 50,000 gold, while Lakeside Town will cost 100,000. Do note that you actually have an initial capital of 500,000 gold, and the cost for your setup will come from this pool of money.
For the purposes of this guide, I went ahead and picked Lakeside Town. And while we’re on the topic, you can actually run multiple stores at once, and can put older stores on auto-pilot. But let’s focus on your first store, yeah?
Convenience Stories does have an endgoal. Each of these two towns also has an annual target sales – 500,000+ gold for Tranquil Town, and 700,000+ gold for Lakeside Town. And if you thought time was on your side, don’t relax just yet. You have a deadline of 10 years to meet the annual target sales goal. While it may seem intimidating, it’s relatively easy to attain this target so long as you don’t spend money willy-nilly and optimize your store.
Do note that you can finish this goal early – you’ll be evaluated at the end of the year, and if you’ve met the goals, congratulations!
Since I already told you about the deadline, you’ll need to know how time passes in Convenience Stories. Essentially, each day is one season, and each year has four seasons. That effectively means you only have 40 working days to reach your target sales.
Every store needs to sell something, and as a convenience store, you’ll be master of the mundane. Everything from quick snacks to medicines and sundries will find your way on to your shelves where hopefully, someone will buy them.
I spent a lot of time doing the math, but alas, I couldn’t decipher all the numbers. Here’s what I did find though. First off, adding items to a shelf requires an initial investment that’s dependent on the base cost of the item.
“Price at delivery” is the per unit cost of that item, per shelf at midnight restock time. That means that if you have an item that costs 21g per restock and another one that costs 100g per item, you’ll be charged 121g per restock unit – but this will increase the number of items on that shelf by 1 each. With that in mind, it might be easier to think in terms not of items, but in shelves.
Did I say restock time? Yes, there is restock time. After all, your employees can’t pull medicines, soap, and food out of nowhere. At midnight, the resupplier will arrive at which point you’ll buy items according to your restock policy.
Two things to look out for here. One is that restocking is cheaper than the initial investment (as mentioned above, you pay [Price at delivery * number of resupplied items] for each item you restock).
Second, and more importantly, is waste. Any products that don’t sell at midnight will be discarded at a 100% loss to you, with your store retaining a skeleton stock of that item until the truck arrives a few moments. Later on, you’ll also gain access to new business partners who can help reduce wasted products at restock time.
To mitigate losses caused by waste and maximize profit, you’ll gain access to the restock menu after the first in-game day. In here, you can tweak items to either restock automatically or on a per product basis. Automatic restocking uses the formula (Products sold today + amount), where amount can be a positive or negative number. By default, it’s at +20, so unless you change the settings, you’ll always restock whatever amount you sold for the day, plus 20. It’s alright to leave your restock policy like this as long as you’re continuously growing your store.
Manual restock settings allow you to individually set how many of each item you want per day. While this does give you fine control over your store, you’ll also need to play closer attention to what sells – and match your requested midnight supply to the demand. Alternately, you can edit each shelf’s stock settings by tapping the Supply button at the bottom of the screen when you tap that shelf.
Finally, you can do an emergency restock at any time of the day. This will give you an instant stock of the items you request, at a much steeper cost than the midnight restock process.
I don’t think I can stress the importance of learning to manage your stocks enough – this sole aspect of the game can be the deciding factor whether you end the day with a profit or in the red.
Research and Development
After a while, you’ll start wondering: is there more to a convenience store than just crappy canned coffee and bento boxes? If you want to expand, you’ll need to sell new, different products, which leads us to the research screen.
Research is the first way to get new products for sale. This is where you use the idea points (lightbulbs) you’ve been getting throughout the game.
There are initially three categories of items that you can sink idea points into. As you play the game more and find new business partners (more of that in a bit), you’ll be able to upgrade your lab to hold up to 5 different research categories.
To begin research in a product category, just tap that category and give the go signal for the research. Product research will take a couple of (in-game) hours, so just sit tight. As you invest more idea points in a specific product type, you’ll unlock new, better products that might just phase out your older stuff.
So where exactly does one get idea points? They’re all over the place, really.
For starters, trash can occasionally pile up on the floor. Sweeping up trash yields a small amount of idea points, and your staff will automatically sweep trash they see – although you can also tap the trash yourself so your staff can focus on customer service. You can also gain idea points through sales, especially if you’ve drummed up items via advertisement. Finally, you can trade medals at the Pumpkin Store for idea points.
The second way of gaining new products to sell is via negotiation with business partners. As you play the game and complete certain goals, NPCs will approach you with a business proposal. These proposals can range from new products to new shelves and fixtures and even new options and avenues for growth!
When you negotiate with a business partner, the negotiation menu will pop up. Here, you’ll see the base chance that the negotiations will succeed, and you’ll be asked to input at least one negotiation method. If your partner has a preferred negotiation method, it’ll be indicated by a heart – and using this method will improve your chances greatly.
As you may already have guessed, better negotiation methods give a better chance for success, with each method adding on to the base chance. And – of course – the better the negotiation method you use, the more expensive they get.
Eschew Currency, Acquire Barter Items
All throughout the game, you’ll need points (represented as medals, and I’ll refer to them as such for clarity)for a lot of things, such as forcibly promoting your staff, unlocking new things, or trading at the Pumpkin Store.
Medals are usually handed out whenever you achieve a new milestone, such as having 100 customers, breaking 100,000g in daily sales, and so on. You’ll also gain medals at the end of the day based on your placement in the top 100 stores list, where the only thing factored in is number of items sold. Finally, you can form a partnership with a business rating agency down the line, which will unlock achievement-based objectives for gaining medals.
All Things in Moderation
With the amount of business proposals you receive, new items to discover, and new fixtures to put up, it’s really easy to blow your initial capital. Remember: all things in moderation. 450,000 gold may seem like a huge amount, but it’s really not. Business proposals don’t vanish, and fixtures can be put up any time. You don’t have to have your shelves fully stocked on your very first day (a mistake I regretted). Always keep your endgoal in mind: that you’re here to turn a profit.
Since we don’t live in a completely automated society (I can dream), you’ll need to use your staff to sell items, serve customers, and basically do anything in your store.
To hire more staff, you’ll need to negotiate with a manpower company. Once you negotiate, you’ll play the negotiation minigame.
Unless you enjoy seeing your shop slowly deteriorate into a disused storeroom, you’ll want to have enough staff to keep the store manned at all times. It’s also good practice to have at least 2 staff members during your peak hours.
Do note that employees can’t be moved around to accommodate other shifts, because believe it or not, they have lives outside of working for you. If you want more people to work at a specific shift, you’ll need to hire one more staff member outside of the default ones you’re given.
Your employees have stats as well. There are three stats in the game: Strength, Service, and Speed.
Strength affects an employee’s stamina. As an employee works, they get tired, and when their stamina hits zero, they’ll need to take a break in the break room. More Strength means that they’ll be less likely to take breaks thanks to a higher stamina cap.
Service affects an employee’s dealings with customers. Employees with a high Service stat are more likely to get gifts from customers, which you can then use to upgrade your shelves and items (more on that later).
Speed affects an employee’s speed. Higher Speed means an employee gets around quicker.
There’s a fourth statistic that may or may not apply, which is favorite weather. If an employee is working during their favorite weather, their stamina will recover faster.
Experience and Stat Allocation
Employees can level up, believe it or not. After each day/season, you’ll get a report – and one of the things on that report is employee experience. As employees continue to work for you, they’ll gain more and more experience. If you’re impatient, you can also go to the employee screen (Menu – Info – Staff) and forcibly level up an employee by spending medals.
Each time an employee levels up, they’ll gain stats according to their stat allocation.
While each employee starts with their own specialization, you can tweak their stat allocation if you’d like them to take a different approach, or if you want balanced employees who aren’t particularly good at one thing, but not lacking in any department. To allocate stats, go to the employee screen (again, that’s Menu – Info – Staff) then tap on the staff member you’d like to tweak, then tap Select Growth Strategy. On this screen, you can deduct and add points to stats you want that employee to focus on when leveling up.
One final thing about employee levels – while high-level employees are essential to a good business, their salaries also increase as their levels do. Your employees are paid at the end of the day at around 2200 – 2300.
Optimize Your Store Layout
In Convenience Stories, you have the freedom to arrange your shelves, refrigerators, and anything else as you wish. Is that a good idea? Let’s break store layout down first.
Ask yourself – would you rather shop in a place where medicines are located only on the first, fifth, twelfth, and nineteenth shelves, but only on weekday afternoons? Unless you hate yourself or are conducting some kind of eldritch ritual, you probably wouldn’t enjoy the experience. That’s where display logic comes into play.
Display shelves that contain the same type of item have a higher appeal rating, making customers more likely to buy from them and improving the reputation of your convenience store. Put all the food with the food, the toiletries with the other toiletries, and the medicines with their kind. By saving your customers from shopping headaches, you’ll make a better name for yourself, and a nice profit too.
Note that each shelf can only take certain items. For instance, you can’t stock your refrigerators with notebooks. Nor can you put the same item on two shelves – if you’ve already got a fridge selling canned coffee, you can’t have canned coffee anywhere else.
Shelves can also be leveled up. By spending gold, you can increase the maximum amount of stock a shelf can hold, as well as (maybe) give it a slight boost to appeal and quality, and increase the price of items found on it. Another way to do this is to use gifts left behind by customers. By using these gifts, you can improve the quality of items on a shelf without needing to pay an arm and a leg. To get more gifts, you’ll need employees with a high Service stat.
One final note here – did you know your cash register is also a shelf and can stock food items? Now you do.
The Manager’s Choice
As mentioned above, making logical shelves that contain the same type of item has a bonus to appeal and quality. However, there’s a little more nuance to the system than just that. First off is that you need at least three items in a row to trigger a bonus. Second is that configurations you discover are saved in the Manager’s Choice tab in the menu. This handy info panel tells you what arrangement you need to activate a bonus, as well as how much quality and prices are raised.
Finally, there’s a chance to trigger a bonus when you discover a new Manager’s Choice arrangement. You’ll be given a chance to roll for a random prize.
Fixtures Maketh Shelves
Fixtures are to Convenience Stories what decorations are to Dungeon Village 2. By adding fixtures around and outside your store, you can increase your reputation, thereby attracting more clientele.
Fixtures have a set area that they’ll affect. In my experience, fixtures improve the appeal of objects in a 3×3 grid centered around the fixture itself (correct me if I’m wrong).
Your convenience store doesn’t just offer material goods for money. You can also offer services as a way to get extra pay, as well as to lure more unsuspecting
victims customers to your store. By default, you start with a copy machine that nets you 200 gold per use. Customers who go in to use the copy machine will feel compelled to buy other items too, so make sure to give people a reason to visit your store!
Cultivate Customer Relations
Nothing says “stable income” more than a regular customer. If your store consistently meets or exceeds a customer’s expectations, they’ll swing by more frequently and spend more money in your store. If you have multiple branches, they may even swing by those outlets!
Each customer type has certain items that they prefer over anything else. By tapping on the customers button in your menu, you can get a rough idea of what it is that this customer type likes. If you stock that item, expect more sales and more visits from that customer type, as well as higher ratings from them.
Each customer type can have up to four different items recommended to them, with each item giving a unique bonus. These bonuses can range from a higher appearance rate to more of that customer type appearing, or even decreasing the popularity of rival stores!
This is where customer wishes come in. For every wish that you’ve fulfilled, you’ll be able to recommend one more item to a customer. Fulfilling those wishes sounds like a win-win now, eh?
Once you’ve unlocked the appropriate business partner, you’ll occasionally be able to give out free samples to customers. These cost you nothing, and while they’re hit-or-miss with the types of customers you already have visiting your store, it’s these samples that you push on customers via the recommendation menu.
Free samples also seem to be retroactive, meaning that if you get a sample for an item you don’t have in stock (yet), you’ll be able to give out a sample of that once you do stock the item.
Roll with Events
There are a lot of events that can play out in Convenience Stories, and as manager, it’s up to you to either secure the company or ensure your company comes out on top during these events. Here’s some of the events you might encounter in the early game.
The Hype Train
By adding new items to your store’s lineup, you not only increase customer satisfaction and unlock new potential customer types, but you also have a chance to gain temporary fame. During this time, more people than usual will visit your store. Hope you’ve got a lot of items in stock!
You can also occasionally get covered by publications and websites, which will also result in increased fame for a while.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the world’s economy was perfectly stable? But alas, that’s not true, even in Convenience Stories. If you want a heads-up on the current economic status, you can open the menu.
At the onset of each day, Kaye (your assistant) will also report on the economic situation – whether it’s stable, booming, or in a bubble. These conditions will affect customer decisions and whether or not they’re going to pay anything at all. On the plus side, these conditions can also affect…
The Pumpkin Store
…you didn’t think you’d seen the last of this guy, did you?
Just like in Dungeon Village 2, the Pumpkin Store offers rare items in exchange for medals. In this game, you can buy shelf upgrade items from the Pumpkin Store, as well as trade for idea points or cold hard cash. Do note that the exchange rate depends on the current economic situation.
Contests are an important part of the game. If you’ve played Dungeon Village 2, these are very similar to the town guide contests.
You can enter contests any time, and each contest will have a theme. To enter a contest, you’ll need to select one of your display shelves that carries items appropriate to the contest’s theme. You’ll also need to send an employee to the contest, and that employee’s Service stat will help determine your chance of winning.
Employees also helpfully predict their odds of winning. In general, if an employee’s prediction is “Leave it to me!” they’ll almost certainly win the competition.
Winning contests not only nets you a large cash prize and medals, but can also unlock new shelves and fixtures to make your shop more profitable and popular.
End of the Year
At the end of the year, you’ll receive a score based on how well your store did in the past four seasons. You can use this as a yardstick to check where you need to focus growth, and where you’re doing okay.
More importantly, you’ll also get 100,000 gold at the end of the year. Spend wisely!
My First Two Years
This guide’s got a lot of information to process, so I’ll walk you through what I actually did during my first two years in Convenience Stories.
As mentioned earlier, I bought the Lakeside store for 100,000 gold. I made the mistake of putting too many shelves with too many items on the first day, and so I lost a lot of money over the first year until I observed the sold item to wasted item ration on each shelf, then adjusted the stock policies on those shelves manually.
At the same time, I actively negotiated for more business opportunities. The ones that stood out were the free samples guy, who makes currying favor with customers easier (if random), the Pumpkin Store, as it has to be unlocked, and the Business Rating agency, to unlock achievements and give me another source of medals.
Another important business partner I made was the ad agency. Via advertisements, I pushed rice balls to the forefront of my store, leading to increased appeal and a quick and easy way to earn idea points.
I also put new shelves when they were available and stocked the cheapest product on each, to attract new customers. When I judged I had enough customers, I added more expensive products to these shelves. At the same time, I used items from gifts and the Pumpkin Store to improve my items.
By the end of the first year, I’d lost a lot more money than I had made. Although I had already tweaked my restock policies to give me a net gain, I needed more money, fast. So I traded my medals for some cash at the Pumpkin Store. With that money, I negotiated to get new types of clients, reasoning that this would give me a better chance of drawing in customers. I also unlocked contests in my second year via negotiation.
Thanks to these new customer types, I felt more confident in stocking new items, though I manually adjusted restock to gauge how high the demand for each item was. I also used some emergency restocks when items ran out during a fame up event.
Let The Money Flow!
Convenience Stories is no doubt a very complex game, but it’s this complexity that makes it engaging, and few things feel better than seeing that blue, positive number at the end of the day.
With that, this beginner’s guide comes to an end. I hope that this somehow demystified the game’s many systems and given you a clear vision of where and how you want to proceed with your business. If you have any comments, suggestions, or think I missed something, let me know in the comments below!