Auction House Basics: Picking The Right Starting Price

On today's Auction House Basics we are going to be talking about how to pick the right starting auction house price for your large-ticket items.

When selling large ticket items is is always important to price them to give the illusion that the item has been in an undercutting war. Why is this important? We will discuss that after the jump.

Fee Fi Faux Fum
For large ticket items (such as the epic Woe Breeder's Boots I am selling in the screenshot above) it is important to take the potential buyers mindset into account when setting the starting price.

Players making these large of purchases often wait day after day watching the prices waiting for a price drop to happen. Their hard earned gold is on the line. We need to give the appearance of price drops and/or undercutting wars to let them know this it the time to buy.

Nice round numbers like "12,000" or "4,9999" look nice. We're all used to them. We see things for sale for 9.99 all the time. The problem is that someone seeing an auction for 4999 gold knows for certain that you have no competition. If you had competition you would have been undercut and the price would no longer be a nice round number.

Which of these look like they've had competition?

Dr. Strangeprice (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Odd)
The idea we want to telegraph to the potential buyer is "This item has been in a price war." "It isn't the first time it's being listed and now is a good time to buy."

In the example above I have the Woe Breeder's Boots posted for a buyout of 8751g 26s 88c with a bid of 8742g 66s 56c. Odd numbers for an item that has no competition. That is exactly what I want potential buyers to think. Clearly I'm in a undercut war with someone.

Also by moving a bit away from 8999 gold I'm removing the "This costs 9k gold." thought from their mind.  They are likely to think "This cost 8.7k gold." or even better "I'd pay 8k."

While I mainly use this tactic for big-ticket items it can work for lower priced items as well. We need ever advantage we can gain when selling in the auction house. Little tricks like this can give us the advantage we need.

We need to be engaging our brains when using the auction house. Putting ourselves in our buyers shoes can tell us volumes.

Talking Points:
  • What is your favorite trick for choosing starting prices?
  • What other psychological games do you play on the auction house?
  • What would you like to see covered in future "Auction House Basics"?

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  1. What about the psychology of the bid price?

    In your example above I'd be tempted to set the bid price at 500 gold or so less. Then you get people first convincing themselves they are prepared to pay this lower amount and make a bid. Before they place it though, they then look at the buyout price, and having already decided to spend a lot of money, it isn't that hard to convince yourself to spend another 500 in order to eliminate the risk of somebody else getting it. I know I've fallen into that trap...

  2. @Cithan I like your line of thinking. As long as you are willing to sell it at that much lower of a price. However I'd say 99% of the time you're going to sell on a buyout.

    That said i believe the default UI sorts buy bid price so minding the bid price is never a bad thing. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Sweet. Gonna do some testing with this idea starting tomorrow. Since i stopped using Auctioneer and started using Auctionator i usually just create fast written prices manually. TSM will be of use for this.