Brittany is a PC gaming addict! Her favourite genres are simulation games, tycoons, RPG, city-builders, puzzles, and more!
Winkeltje: The Little Shop is a charming shopkeeping simulation game by Sassybot. Winkeltje was first released on Steam as an Early Access title in 2018. The game came out of Early Access in April 2022, and it is available for sale on Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.
I've been playing Winkeltje since its Early Access release. I've played over 50 hours on PC and have seen the game go through various development stages with updates and new gameplay features. Not only that, but I bought a second copy for my Switch on release day. Clearly, I love this game!
Though Winkeltje does prompt you to start off by playing through a tutorial, it's a pretty bare-bones introduction to the game, and many mechanics are not explained at all.
This guide goes over all you need to know to buy and sell goods, expand your shop, and pay back your family's debt!
Choose a Specialization
When you start the game, it'll be tempting to buy one of everything and sell it all, but don't! I recommend from the very first in-game day to specialise your shop. The game doesn't explain this mechanic outright, but there are some good reasons you'll want to do so.
As you begin to build up your shop, you'll find that you'll run out of displays that you can use to place every good that's available for sale. You'll also run out of storage to hold it all. Buying so many items and keeping them in stock becomes pricey fast.
Specialising allows you to focus on one type of good and sell it; reducing the cost, storage space, and inventory management needed.
The game has 6 categories that you can choose from to specialise:
- Cook - sell meals
- Tailor - sell clothes and accessories
- Blacksmith - sell tools
- Alchemist - sell potions
- Farmer - sell raw fruits and veggies
- Resource Vendor - sell resources (materials) used in crafting
- Merchant - sell a bit of everything, no specialisation
Turning your shop into a specialised one is as simple as only displaying/selling items in the category you want to focus on.
If you decide to be a cook, you'll only want to display cooked meals for sale.
Customers will remember what you sell and only want those items. So don't worry about someone coming to your clothing store looking for potions.
If you want to change your specialisation, you can! Customers will remember your inventory for up to 5 days. After 5 days of not having an item for sale, they'll stop wanting it, and realise what you do stock, instead.
Some specialisations are easier than others. I think Alchemist is the easiest, as you can grow all the materials you need to craft and sell. On the other hand, the Resource Vendor requires you to buy raw materials from the Trader or the counter, which can add up.
You can play the game any way you want, of course, but I like to specialise. Overall, it's more economical and easier to manage. You can also have multiple save games and experiment with running different types of shops and specialisations (see screenshots below for my shops!)
You can check what your specialisation is by going into the Specialization menu, or looking at the icon on the sign at the front of your store.
Buying, Selling and Crafting
Buy from The Trader
There are two ways to buy items to sell in Winkeltje: from the sales counter in your shop, or from the Trader NPC.
Generally, items bought from the counter are more expensive. The benefit of buying from the counter, though, is that every good is available for purchase at any time, and there's much more stock you can buy.
If you buy goods from the counter while the shop is open, you have to wait a few in-game minutes for them to be delivered. If you buy goods from the counter after hours, they're delivered instantly.
The Trader will appear at your shop randomly during the day (he comes more often during events, and after you level up), and sells a small selection of goods. His prices are typically more competitive than the counter; you can regularly find goods on sale for 70% off or more.
However, the Trader doesn't have every item you might need or want each time he comes, and he can also only carry so many of each good, so his stock is lower.
You have to be strategic when buying from the Trader during the day, but overall, it's always better to buy from him than at the counter. Stock up on the products you need while he's selling them for low prices, then you won't have to buy any at marked-up prices from the counter.
Craft Your Goods
When you first start out, you won't have unlocked the crafting stations, but once you do, it's much cheaper to buy the raw materials and craft them into items to sell.
You'll see the raw materials are always cheaper than the crafted goods when buying from the counter or Trader. Instead of buying pre-made nails, buy iron, and use the forge to make your own nails. This is one of the best ways to make a profit in the game.
Become a Farmer
For cooking and alchemy, you definitely want to invest in some planters and seeds and get to farming.
You can buy seeds from the Trader or counter. Fruits, vegetables, and plants take different days to grow and yield different amounts of product. However, it still works out cheaper to grow your own raw goods in the long run.
Unfortunately, there are some items needed to make meals that you can't grow, like meat, cheese, and apples. You'll still need to buy them from the Trader or counter.
But you can grow all the other fruits and vegetables needed for meals, and all the plants needed for alchemy.
Buy When Prices Are Low
One of the major mechanics in the game is the daily price fluctuations. Market value varies day to day; one day, a bag of wheat might be 3 coins, the next day, the price might go up 50% to 6 coins.
You'll see these fluctuations on prices both at the counter and for the Trader's stock. So keep an eye on the market value of items, and stock up when they're selling low.
If you know you'll always need potatoes, for example, and they're on sale at 75% off, buy as many as you can store or afford, to save yourself some money in the long run.
Expand Your Storage
A big part of the gameplay in Winkeltje is inventory management. You'll need to make sure you have enough goods to craft with. You'll also need to make sure you have enough goods to sell. And you'll have to have enough storage space to hold it all.
You can expand your shop, and make more floor space to buy more shelves, cupboards, and pallets for storage. As you unlock more products, make sure to upgrade your storage accordingly to hold it all. It's also a good idea to sell smaller pallets and upgrade to bigger ones as you unlock them.
You don't want to end up running out of space for stock and disappoint your customers!
Start The Day Fully Stocked
This tip is my personal preference, but there's some logic to this, too. After you close your shop for the day, I recommend crafting enough of each item you sell to fill up your displays, plus a few extras to have on hand should you sell out during the day.
To start off, you might have 3 tables which can only display one item. Let's say you're specialising in cooking - so, craft three vegetable soups and display them. I'd then craft 3 more to have on hand for when they sell out.
You'll want to adjust how much inventory to keep on hand depending on how many goods you sell during the day. A good way to keep an eye on this is to check how often you have to restock your shelves during the day and then craft that many of your goods at night.
The reason to craft at night is 1) it's just nicer to start the day with fully stocked shelves and some inventory, but 2) the crafting stations run slower when the shop is open. If you wait to craft an item when it's sold out, you could potentially still be crafting it while the customer gets tired of waiting and leaves the store.
Having inventory in the back room means no lost sales!
One of the big highlights of Winkeltje is the customisation and decor options! There's a lot of different walls and floors to choose from, as well as counters to display goods on. There's also a menu of decorative items that you can use to spruce up your shop.
Many items only unlock once you level up or complete objectives, so keep playing the game to unlock more options!
Some walls and cupboards have variants; you can tell if an object has other decor options if there's a small triangle on the top right of its menu photo. The Variants tab will display other designs for the walls, or cupboards which have boxes on some shelves, for example. Make sure you check all the variations out!
Walls and Floors
Walls all come in complete sets, with single panels, windows, arches, and doorways, however, you can mix and match the styles as you see fit. I love playing around with different type of styles of walls to create a unique space.
The floor plan is also free form - the way your store is laid out is completely up to you!
Floor pieces are also placed tile-by-tile, so you can have brick floor in one room, and stone in another, if you like!
One of the first objectives you'll have to is to upgrade the appeal of your shop. Initially, you'll see the Appeal bar fill up green as you place displays and decorative items. But it'll stop when you reach level 5, initially.
To further upgrade your Appeal and unlock the next level, go into the Shop Menu (X on Switch/Tab on PC) and go into the Unlock menu. From there, you'll be in the Wall menu; if you buy the next set of wall styles, that'll allow your Appeal to increase, and you can continue to build it up by decorating and buying displays.
You can also upgrade your displays by interacting with them and choosing the upgrade option.
The more appealing your shop is, the more customers you'll entice, and the more money they'll spend!
You can change your appearance in the game by buying a mirror and interacting with it. As you play, you'll unlock more options for hair, clothes, and shoes.
Items can be deleted from the shop menu; head into the inventory, and delete what you no longer want to keep.
You can buy and place a commission board, and take orders every few in-game days. Commissions can net you a decent profit, but you have to make sure you have the right quantity and quality of goods on hand to sell.
Hiring an employee (or employees) allows you to pay someone to work in the shop with you and restock goods during the day. This is definitely helpful when you have a large shop and a lot of goods.
I hire one employee once my shops gets bigger, and it's harder to run around and keep everything stocked. It also frees you up to be ready to buy when the trader is there, or craft more goods. But, you do have to have cash on hand at the start of the day to pay them, and you'll need to give them raises as they level up. The more they level up, the more goods they can hold and the faster they can restock.
Employees aren't essential to the game - their restocking time is slow (even at the max level), and I find it more fun to run around like a madwoman and throw goods on the shelves myself. But if you've got the cash and a big enough shop, go for it!
Game Bugs or Questions?
Though Winkeltje is out of Early Access, it's still a new game, and you might run into bugs, or have questions I didn't go over in this guide.
Thankfully, there's an official Discord server where you can report bugs or ask questions. The game's developers are very active there, and are quick to respond to bug reports, or answer gameplay questions.
© 2022 Brittany Brown