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Dealing With Perceived Threats To Our Markets
Today's post is my response to a reader who had a problem in their 77-80 Cataclysm Items market with people posting items at prices below their "threshold price" but above their "buying price".
In essence, these sellers were perceived to be selling items in the reader's pricing "blind spot". Head past the jump for our email exchange, possible solutions and thoughts on the importance of constantly analyzing our markets.
Here is the reader's initial email. (Emphasis mine.)
I was from a small server, not a lot of stock, and no one buying. I got some of that resolved. I moved to a larger server, increased my stock to over 200 items, and, for a time, was selling like crazy.
Now, though, I find my sales trickling off and some lowly competitors moving in. The sales trickling off could just be part of the nature of the market and they will pick back up again...OR it could be these pesky competitors. What I mean by lowly competitors is that these characters are selling below my sale price threshold, but above my buying price threshold, which means they in effect clog up the sales pipes on me until they sell their own gear.
So, my questions is: what would you do in this situation? Would you mind sharing some advice on how to get past this? I really appreciate everything you and the gold making community have done to help new players like myself who really enjoy the thrill of the sale. Thanks for any help you can give.
I think I should mention here that the reader was having real concerns about what they perceived to be happening in their own market.
I commend them for being actively engaged in monitoring their markets and being cognisant of possible threats and/or tweaks they could make to run their markets more profitably.
I think most of us who have been in markets for a while tend to do this subconsciously. The fact that the reader caught this potential issue means that they are awake and actively engaged in their markets.
Below is my response to the reader. (Emphasis added.)
I know this answer may be disappointing but I don't spend any time worrying about those who work between my threshold and buy price.
I have made a special group for crafted items where I significantly lowered my threshold to just 10g over my buy price. This allowed the crafted items I sold to drop down much lower than my normal items.
If you have a very large number of items being posted between your price threshold and your buying price you may consider lowering your threshold down to near your buying price. Over time you could see how many items are selling for this lower price and also put the "squeeze" on your competitors.
I wouldn't do this as a permanent thing but just to gauge how many items are selling in this range. Once you have an idea you can better assess if a) you should ignore the competitors because they really don't have that many items or b) consider readjusting your prices due to the fact that the competitors have large stocks (a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" type of thing).
Another option is to work on farming your own items to increase your stock. "Ascendant's Rise" in Mt. Hyjal just east of the Firelands raid entrance is my preferred farming spot (with a Potion of Treasure Finding ofc).
But again, I've never actually tried to look for these type of competitors. I very well may have them and simply not notice.
Keep me updated,
While I'm not sure my answer was perfect I was hopefully able to give them some food for thought.
I had dealt with a similar issue around what to do with 77-80 crafted items which I mentioned in my response. Honestly I hadn't thought much about the people who might have been selling above my buy price but below my threshold.
The story doesn't end there though. It does turn out to have a happy ending.
In response to my suggestions I received this follow up email. (Emphasis mine.)
First off, I sold about 6-7k worth of stock within a day of my question, so I'm starting to think that maybe I was just over thinking things. I tend to think about my gold-making way to much.
Secondly, I always look at the names of the people who are posting below my threshold and generally, I do not see names duplicate often and when I do I use TUJ to determine whether or not they have high stock. I have yet to find anyone who has high stock posting at these lower prices. I have one competitor and he generally posts his pieces for about 100g over mine. This same thing happened on my old server and I was able to push the competition out with my more reasonable (?) prices.
Thirdly, I love ascendant's rise! I generally don't use Potion of Treasure Finding since I will queue for randoms while I farm. However, I will use the potion if I am devoting the time to doing it.
Moving forward, I am going to keep an eye on those below threshold peeps and try your idea of lowering my threshold if needed. I also liked your idea of buying the crafted items and selling them for a low price. I hate those damn things as players can easily see these as better alternatives and unless I buy them, I am not in control of that part of my market.
Sorry for the long reply and thanks for the response. Very informative as always.
I wanted to point out a few things in their second response. First of all they realized that they may have been "chasing after ghosts". I do this type of thing quite often.
I'll build up a picture in my mind of what my "competitors" must be doing. Often they are wrong but that doesn't change the fact that I think those types of exercises are very important as a gold-maker.
We have to be constantly looking over our sales, looking for trends, trying to spot problem areas or patterns. When we do have a theory we often times are able to test it to see if our hypothesis is true.
We ask ourselves questions like: "Will raising my prices affect my sales?" "Will lowering them?" "Will cancelling and reposting three times a day instead of one affect sale of my heavily undercut items?"
By asking ourselves these questions as we go through our gold-making routines day in and day out we will improve not only our gold-making potential but also improve ourselves as gold-makers.
A Little Help From Our Friends
One last thing I wanted to touch on briefly was that when this reader came up against a problem they weren't familiar with they reached out to someone they thought might know have had the issue before.
Rather then muddle through they sought advice. This is a great way to leap ahead in gold-making. We have a really strong community of gold-makers and bloggers who might have "been there, done that" before.
Tapping into their experience is a great way to jump-start your own gold-making and/or help you resolve a particular gold-making problem that you've been banging your head against.
The World Of Warcraft Gold Blog Directory is a great place to start if you're wanting to contact members of the gold-making community. The Directory includes contact details for many of the bloggers listed. Also, you might simply leave a comment on their blogs or mention them on twitter with your questions.
In the end I was very happy to see that our reader was able to find a solution to their problem. They will likely be making more gold now because they were able to work it through. Whether they did it through asking someone else or simply continuing to to analyze it themselves, the fact that they did it is the important part.
We have to engage our brains. We will be better gold-makers if we do.
I wanted to give special thanks to the reader who allowed me to use our email exchange in this post. It was greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work! (Perhaps we'll get to see you writing for The Hatchery in the future.)
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