Monday, March 18, 2013

The Cougar Store - Grand Opening

I am glad that I decided not to pick a pirate oriented name for my blog.  My time in low sec is more than the pewpewpew.  Others write about pewpew in a more interesting and in depth manner then I do.  For me, as much as I enjoy it, there are so many other things for me to do in low sec and in Eve beyond the pewpew.

Opening the Cougar Store is one of them.

I named my market the Cougar Store.  I run it, I'm female and not that long ago someone accused me of seducing young men of New Eden.  Now, I was shocked.  As a Pirate Queen I have no need to seduce anyone.  They come willingly.  However, the lable, even if I am a tad bit young for it, was hysterical enough that I immediately demanded it for a title.  This has snowballed a bit and the new low sec market that I have started up is called the Cougar Store.

You can view our information and order form here.  This lets people communicate with me. I've handed it out in a few intel channels.  My favorite entry so far is from Vov.

  • Prototype Semi-Automatic Shark launcher
  • Faction sharks with laser attachments.
  • 100 Large angry sharks

I also had to write a response that hugs are perishable items but all employees of the Cougar Store carry them and will issue them upon request.  We don't want degraded, poor quality hugs to sour anyone's opinion of our establishment.

It has not quite been a week but I already have a lot of thoughts and things to say about this project.


First, it is fairly large.  I wound up plugging in Tycoon to my market alt over the weekend.  It is a 100mil ISK skill book and I needed those orders.  She is currently working on level four.  I mention this because my goal is not just to supply a few things to the area but to start a market hub where people who live in low sec can come and do their basic needs shopping.  I won't be a massive trade hub but I want people to be able to refit ships, switch fits, grab useful common extras (sensor boosters, different flight of drones, probes, jump fuel) and keep going without going to high security space.

Now, I've commented before that I am not a trader.  I have tried to spend time in Jita and Rens selling items. I hate that fast trade market.  I am not interested in the minute price changes and the harrowing over my profit margin of 5% or 3%.  I find it stressful and not fun.  Because of that, I abandoned the trade thing and wandered off to do other things in game.

Starting a market is different.  My competition is high sec.  Not only is my competition high sec but it is overpriced high sec.  With the area being well populated by people with security statuses that cause them to be shot by both faction police and players in high sec I had a somewhat captive market.  It seems that at this point people start to abuse their captive market.  The people have little choice but to take a 15-30 minute trip elsewhere and that means they buy at whatever the market is set at.  Stuff sells in small volumes for high prices and that is where people make their money.

I decided to change that.  I would instead sell large volumes at normal prices.  I do have a mark up to cover my taxes and transportation costs.  But I would sell things at prices where people would feel that the market up compensated for that 15-30 minute trip they would have to go to find lower prices.  I would not price gouge I would simply have the ISK flow because of convince.  I was, in short, supporting the local market by creating a local market.

Why has no one else done this before?

As I said, it is a large project.  I need to have the character's with the skills to play the market first of all.  Without them I would not be able to place the volume of orders I needed.  Next I needed connections.  As a resident of the area I have those connections.  I can call my boys to guard a gate and jump an Orca or Charon into low sec (oh noes instant death!).  At that moment, my overview floods with red and I align and say, "web me" on coms.  One of the ships that has targeted me obliges and snap me into warp on the station.

That is not something that everyone who wants to have a market hub will have.  I can move items in and out of my base of operations in large volume.  Transportation of volume is one of the biggest limiters in Eve.  When I do not have people to help me move large volumes I still have access to two characters that can run blockade runners.  This method takes longer but I can still move a large amount of items.

Next, I have access to jump freighters.  Not my own but others who are happy to move my stuff.  I provide a cyno and in a few minutes I have my items from Jita.  This allows me to move bulk volumes fast. I then shove them into my carrier and jump them to the trade hub.  What I am describing here is resources. I have a lot of resources and until I put them all into a coordinated effort I did not realize how many resources I had.  Without those resources I would not be able to stock this market as quickly and effectively as I had.

That is why it is a group project.  My boys are the ones that started me on this path.  They were tired of being price gouged in  high sec and they wanted a hub.  When I presented them with the idea they were enthusiastic   Yet, enthusiastic may not be a strong enough word to describe the happiness my decision caused.  I had donations of items and I had offers of ISK.  I even had loan offers.  People were willing to give me their ISK to help get this off the ground.  I was flattered but refused them on.  I wanted this to be my project and not to find myself beholden to others financially.

ISK.  I have it.  I'm not the richest character in the game.  I had twelve billion liquid ISK and more that I can liquidate if I need to.  I made my list, started with 2 and then moved myself up to 3 billion seed ISK. I would use that to fund the store and start it and once it started making its own money I would repay myself.  If I needed more I would give myself more and go from there.

I decided to do a slow roll.  I started with a long list of consumable goods.  I topped it off with a double handful of common modules. I dropped that on the market and started to take in feedback.  From there I expanded my list and waited.  Within two days I had done my third expansion into cruiser and battlecruiser hulls.  I had a corpmate come on board. He did not have the resources that I did but he had been selling some in high sec and now, under my umbrella so to speak, he was willing to move that into low sec.

We had a talk about that. I made myself very clear.  My goal was to provide reasonable priced merchandise   If I found him price gouging people I would slit his margins throat and undercut him myself.  With that solved we started to list items and even as I started to list them they started to sell. I was enthralled at that moment.  Addicted in a way to watching the sales happen.  I had expected a few days of slow occasional sales with a slow pick up.  What I got was a steady first day and then an increase from that.

The store has almost rolled over a billion worth of merchandise in its first week.  I consider that a success.  I was not expecting that type of turnaround in the first month.  It has also allowed me to see what is selling and work at stocking up those products and those products supports.  This has given me my next pleasure of seeing full fits sell.   I roll the profits back into the stock and the list has doubled in size in days as I bring in meta modules and more specific items.

The greatest pleasure has been undercutting high sec.  There were things like shuttles selling for over a million ISK in the station.  Shuttles that cost 15k ISK in Jita.  Fuel for jump drives was unreasonably high.  Cynos were inflated.  Small modules were ridiculous   One of my frigate pilots came to me and filled out my form requesting small modules of various types for fits.  When i looked into these modules I saw that the price gouging was terrible.  I was a bit offended at what I saw as the abuse of 'my people'.  I ruthlessly undercut their prices, prices often inflated 100% or more.  Now my frigate pilots can fit their frigates at costs that do not harm their new player wallets.

I ran out of some things in the first two days.  This has only thrilled me and caused me to add more and in large quantities.

I've had a few people chat me up in game from my blog postings about what I am doing. I've been pretty willing to share my basics lists so that htey can see what I am looking at item wise.  Knowing your area is important.  What ships are being flown and what stock is being used.  Because Bosena is a gateway system to high sec cynos and cyno fuel were important.  People were going to use the station to cyno their jump freighters in to jump them to high sec.

The side effect of undercutting high sec is that more people than I expected are willing to risk that one jump for cheaper product.    I have watched ships sold and the pilots undock and run to high sec at full speed.  Its adorable and it makes me happy.  I can't blame them.  Small T2 armor repairers were listed at 1.9 million a piece before I wandered in and cleaned up that situation.

As for people buying me out and re-listing for higher?  They are welcome.  In a few hours they will see me re-listed exactly where I want to be.  Poeple undercutting me?  There is a chance that someone will open a competitive market.  I think it is small and they'd really, really have to dislike me.  I'm hoping that people will sell their unwanted loot on the market and undercut me with that.  That way their 2 or 4 modules will sell before my 50.  I'm not going to .01 ISK war them.  To me, it is healthy for the entire community if things are moving and being made available.

It looks as if some people wish to see how serious we are.  As I finished writing this little excited blurb, my corpmate who is also entering into noticed that republic fleet phased plasma medium was selling at 1.2k a piece and asked if that was me.  Some of my projectile ammo is more expensive then I would like it to be.  This is due to me learning regionally were to buy some things.  However, 1.2k per piece of medium ammunition was not me.

My corpmate decided he would patch this market hole.  He purchased one piece and discovered the name of the person in question.  Someone saw the hole and decided to fill it with over priced ammunition.  Not acceptable.  I'm glad he saw the hole and attempted to fill it. I am not pleased with the price he picked.
[21:11:10] Sugar Kyle > so under cut him and slit his margins throat
[21:11:34] Kira Haklar > o7
That's how I'm rolling down here in low sec.  Market PvP.  May the games begin.

8 comments:

  1. That is awesome!

    I used to hang out in Molden Heath more often, and Sard Mart was wonderful. I've always wanted to do something similar, but the logistics of it are more than I can realistically commit to. I'm glad there are people out there that are willing to go that extra mile for the community. Things like this make EVE great.

    Best of luck to you.

    -Tialee

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  2. Go Sugar! You are doing it very well, I especially liked you turned down investments and go with your own money. If someone really want to help (or want a piece of the pie), just tell them where is a hole and let them fill it with their own money and own risk.

    A few tips: Your market alt should have 5+ standings with Minmatar Republic and Republic Fleet (the station owner). Social skill increase standings gain and there are COSMOS missions for this combination. Broker fees are paid both when you sell and when you set buy orders.

    Get your own JF as soon as possible.

    If you jump in a Charon to lowsec, get Sugar learn ECM. Nothing escorts a Charon better than a Griffin.

    Get instadock and insta-undock bookmarks for your station so you don't have to slowboat 2000M with 50m/s until dock. The instawarp is best for the covops hauler, it leaves the station proximity and can cloak up.

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    Replies
    1. JF are still super expensive. It would be half of my current liquid wealth to buy a JF. It just not worth it for now and won't be until TCS is pulling in a steady profit.

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  3. You should contact my Main (Per Bastet) I am the Head Diplo and Sales guy for an Indy Alliance. We may be able to supply stuff for you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Is this your doing?

    https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=215993

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting thread. I should hang out in market discussion more I think. But no :P My little efforts are not that much. Low sec is scary enough that I won't make but so much of a dent in the local high sec market except for a few areas such as PvP gear.

      Delete
  5. Shop Smart, Shop S-Mart.

    ReplyDelete