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Auction Basics - Auctionator and Selective Undercutting
Selling something for the absolute cheapest price isn't always the best strategy when it comes to the auction house. While I've discussed using Auctionator for undercutting in the past but I thought it would be good to break it down to the most basic level. The accompanying video (embedded above) covers the same info as this post but in a more audio/visual way.
The three reasons we want to use Auctionator's "Sell" tab when selectively undercutting are to analyize the pricing landscape, find matching stack sizes and quickly undercut a specific auction price. Follow us after the jump where we break each one down in detail and help you become more conscious (and profitable) auctioneers.
When we are first getting into gold-making our tendency is to simply use an addon (like Auctioneer's Appraiser tab) to price our items at the absolute lowest price and hope for the best. I did this for years and years and while I made decent money I know now that I was leaving lots of potential profit on the table.
Part of the reason for this was that the default auction interface was so cumbersome and made it difficult to get a really good view of the pricing landscape into which we were placing our auctions. If we had a large number of auctions to put up it got even worse. For a long time Auctioneer's Appraiser tab was the quickest way to post large numbers of auctions.
As time has gone on new addons have come onto the scene and have given gold-makers more options as to how auction house information was displayed, new ways to post auctions as well as determine pricing etc. Auctionator has been one of the stand-out auction addons to come onto the scene and one I use (along side Auctioneer and TradeSkillMaster) in my day-to-day gold-making.
This post details the "Sell" tab of Auctionator. This one aspect of Auctionator has given auctioneers just the right amount of information laid out in just the right way to make quick and informed decisions about pricing our items. It allows us to get through a lot of auctions in a small amount of time while maintaining a higher profit margin than we would get simply undercutting the lowest prices.
Analyze the Pricing Landscape
For each items that we want to list on the auction house it behooves us to take the current pricing landscape into account when making pricing decisions. This will help us spot problem areas as well as opportunities for profit.
By taking a few moments to look at the prices and stack sizes of the current items you are trying to sell you can better position your items to sell for increased profits. If the market has just a few items you may decide that it is in your best interest to price your items above the current auctions with the knowledge that once those few items sell your items will be next in line to sell.
|Auctionator Sell Tab Search Results (AKA The pricing landscape.)|
You may notice that there is just one very low/underpriced item after which there are multiple normally priced items. In this instance it would be a mistake to blindly undercut that one underpriced item. You would be better in this case to undercut the lowest "normally" priced item.
You may find opportunities to reset markets. In this case you may decide to buy out the few cheaper items and re-list them. You may find that you are the only one selling an item. If you are the only one selling an item is is always advisable to cancel your items and re-list them at a higher price as you have a (albeit temporary) "corner" on the market.
Over time analyzing pricing landscapes will become second nature and will take only seconds for you to decide exactly what price to place your item at. That leads us to our next two items which have more to do with the mechanics of posting an item.
Highlighted Stack Matching
Auctionator has a very nice (but subtle) feature wherein it shows items that match your currently selected stack size by making the text in the auction results tab slightly brighter than the other auctions. While easy to miss at first it is one of the most important features of the Auctionator "Sell" tab.
|Auctionator Stack Matching Text Highlight (White vs. grey.)|
When selling an item we always want to be sure that we undercut items based on matching stack sizes. If we are selling items in singles we only ever want to match prices with other auctions that are being sold in singles. If we are selling in 20 stacks it makes most sense to match other items that are being sold in 20 stacks. While there may be circumstances where we would not want to match equal sized stacks for the most part we want to match stack size for stack size. The reasoning for this is two-fold.
First off the default auction house interface is so difficult to use that for the most part people searching for an item only use two ways to compare prices: comparing single item prices of comparing full stack prices. (As much as some of us love math it isn't fun for anyone to have to figure out if a 6 stack for 18 gold is cheaper than a 19 stack for 47 gold.)
The second reason for matching prices based on stack size is that not everyone is wanting/needing a full stacks. In some cases a 20 (or 10 or 5) stack is too expensive. They are having to pay for 20 when they only need 1 item. If we simply undercut a 20 stack which happens to be cheaper (per item) with our single stacks we are leaving money on the table.
If selling singles it makes much more sense to find singles and price match them. They are our real competition even if more expensive (per item) than a 20 stack. Auctionator makes doing this easy by highlighting matching stack sizes for easy identification which leads is to the act of actually undercutting.
The best part of the Auctioneer "Sell" tab is the ability to selectively undercut an item on the search results list (which comes up automatically when we have the auction window open and hold [ALT] on our keyboards when Left-Clicking an item in our bags) by simply selecting which item we would like to undercut.
|Auctionator One-click Price Undercutting|
If there is one cheap item we want to skip over we simply click on the next higher item and Auctionator will set our listing price to undercut that item rather then the cheaper item. This combined with stack size match highlighting and our analysis of the pricing landscape make listing the items for just the right price a snap. It takes only seconds for each item to be searched for, analyzed, stack matched (if needed), priced and posted.
Go Forth and Prosper
With the three above tactics I believe anyone can become not only an efficient auctioneer but a more profitable one. The other benefit to posting auctions this way is that it provides you with much more knowledge about pricing and market trends for items. It allows you to gain enough knowledge over time to start to get a sixth sense about markets.
Always be on the lookout for new and improved ways to do your day-to-day auctioneering efficiency.
(It should be noted that I don't use this tactic for everything. There are still a fair amount of auctions I run with TradeSkillMaster groups which are posted according to my pre-set fallback and threshold settings. Items that fall into my TSM catagories tend to be glyphs, vendor items (like inscription supplies) and vendor pets. For all other non-TSM items I use the above techniques.)
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