How to fix not enough customers - Cities: Skylines 2

No customers? Big problem.

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The Cities: Skylines 2 not enough customers notice is something the building game’s extensive tutorials never actually cover. You can ignore it in some cases, though once the problem becomes systemic, it’s time to start looking at your infrastructure. If not, you’ll end up with a happiness – and tax revenue – problem that could bring your city down over time.

Cities: Skylines 2 not enough customers cause

A row of businesses sits unloved and neglected by customers

The "not enough customers" notice pops up when, well, a business doesn’t have enough customers. There could be a few reasons behind why a particular business is suffering. A district might be overzoned for commercial projects, for example, and other, similar businesses are crowding each other out. There may be no easy access to a store, or in some cases, your tax policies might have created situations where the business needs more customers to make ends meet.

The problem is that you have to guess at the cause. The business information pane only tells you how efficient the operation is and how many people are working there, so you can’t really predict when the river of shoppers will run dry. However, it usually doesn’t go away on its own. The “not enough customers” problem is something you have to fix manually.

Cities: Skylines 2 not enough customers fix

A grid stretches across a busy street as the player plans bus lines

The fix depends on the situation, and while you do have to make an educated guess, your town has some clues to work with. If you’re dealing with multiple businesses having customer problems, the solution is either in infrastructure or zoning. 

Businesses with no easy access, no residential areas nearby, or both are much more likely to have customer problems. The access problem usually stems from having just one road nearby, like this.

One road connects multiple businesses with no residential areas around

You may also run into the problem if the streets are congested with no pedestrian areas. If you can’t feasibly alter the road structure without demolishing other buildings, you can rely on public transportation to ferry more customers to your shopping districts – trams, buses, and subways, for instance. Parking garages and parking lots are your best bet for fixing the congestion issue.

The zoning problem is a bit more difficult to work around. If you have a string of commercial districts and no nearby homes or apartment blocks, then your businesses are going to suffer. By the time the notification pops up, you’ll probably have allocated nearby zones for other uses. Sure, you could demolish whatever is there, but that’ll potentially cause more long-term problems with housing and happiness.

Public transport should fix that issue as well, but the better thing to do is to plan ahead while you can. It’s tempting to designate large chunks of land for specific uses as demand rises, but your best bet is using the paint tool to zone smaller parcels of land at a time. That way, you can see how your community grows and decide where you need roads, homes, and stores before things get locked into place.

Make sure to keep an eye on the colors in the map legend when you’re creating a commercial zone. Placing businesses in an area marked as poor for commercial use is a bad idea.

If you’ve got just one or two businesses experiencing the problem, you may need to adjust your tax policies. If you’re taxing certain industries too much, you’ll end up with an imbalance of other business types – too many grocery stores, for example. Even well-balanced neighborhoods don’t need five gas stations and 10 grocery stores. Cities: Skylines 2 is usually smart enough to avoid putting the same types of enterprise together under balanced tax schemes, but in rare cases, you may have to demolish a store manually.

Check out our tips for how to stay cash flow positive in Cities: Skylines 2 if you need some economic help and the best development tree upgrades to help make city planning easier. You may want to turn night visuals off so you can actually see what's going on.

Contributing Editor

Josh is a freelance writer and reporter who specializes in guides, reviews, and whatever else he can convince someone to commission. You may have seen him on NPR, IGN, Polygon, or VG 24/7 or on Twitter, shouting about Trails. When he isn’t working, you’ll likely find him outside with his Belgian Malinois and Australian Shepherd or curled up with an RPG of some description.

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