Wednesday, August 21, 2013

TCS: Dig In

I was asked, "How do you deal with market competition?"
My answer was, "I don't."

The real answer is more complete than that. I will get to it. The reason I say that I do not deal with market competition on the basic level is because I live with market competition. I do not actively attempt to control it. Instead I work with it.

If I was trading in a hub, I'd be in a constant state of competition with hundreds of other orders all trying to do the same thing to a small but constantly changing audience. I need to stand up and stand out from the crowd. The only way to do this is to have the lowest price. People shop with their wallets and they shop to save. The filtering options of the market window allow the buyer to easily select the currently lowest priced item.

Trade Hubs are like super centers. They are center points of the entire universe where people will cross paths without ever noticing that they crossed paths with anyone. Each transaction is an instant for those who do not live there. For those that do live in the hubs, mostly the traders, high sec warriors, and war dec crowd, the hub is their life but they are tiny motes.

But for those that live in them competition for the exact same thing is a constant, daily activity.

One of my many small, obvious discoveries has been that very few people want to run a market hub. People may want to sell things and make ISK from those things but they do not want to run the actual hub. The hub is not just a handful of crap on a market. It is a rich, fully formed presence. The forest must be looked at for the sake of the trees.

There are three main groups you will deal with.

Buy outs:
Buy outs come in a few flavors. The main one is that someone will see something on the market, grab it, and list it for a higher amount. This will tend to be focused on things like cynos and cyno fuel or shuttles. It is an easy turnover for the flipper. Because low sec hubs tend to be unstocked and tended seeing cynos and such looks as if someone just went about making opportunities for themselves. That allows the person that buys it to create an opportunity for themselves. 
You, as the person running the market, just ignore them. If they buy all of your item X and relist it for 1000% mark up let them. They gave you the profit margin you decided upon when you listed the item. That's great. You made ISK. Now go and restock that item. The flipper is stuck with an over priced item that will not sell. Their option is to undercut if they want the item to sell, often at a loss.
Most of the time they are not paying attention to the order. It is background ISK for them. it is just background ISK that they are not going to make today. Don't fight them. Just take your ISK and restock. If someone is attempting to market PvP your group (if you are stocking your home station) let them. Let them keep buying you out and you keep stocking it. ISK, ISK, ISK, ISK, ISK.


Under cutters:
Under cutters make your life easier. One of the things about running the market is that you are running the entire market. Unlike trading there is going to be less focus on the individual item and more focus on the global item. Unlike a trade hub an undercutter is often riding your market presence with items they have extra of or looted off another ship. They are probably going to .01 ISK you to get their items to sell. 
Let them. Having stuff on the market is healthy. People notice even if not consciously that X system is a good hub and they start to flock to that. While many people will happily field a dozen alts, a market is an enormous project. Having people move in and out and unload some of their excess goods is only going to make things healthier for the market later.
Sublisters:
Sublisters move into your market. They are your friends because they will list under you and keep things supplied. This is pretty much going to happen in the convince markets. Ammo and super common modules. Instead of chasing them out, embrace them. The ammo market has a shitty margine. They are willing to play with the common ammo types and I've learned that it tends to sell cheaper locally than Jita. Let them play that game. 
Buy a small stack as a place holder if it is ammo. Enough that if their items run out yours will take over and people will not go without. Somewhere around 5-10k. If it is items a small stack of 5-10 will hold the point. The sell order is invested yes. And while making ISK may be the point, having someone else stocking and restocking ammunition allows you to focus your ISK and time in modules and larger scale items.

The interaction of others does not mean you don't control the market. Eve is full of people. Instead of micro managing the market macromanage it. Don't look at every new entry into it as an infestation that has to be smoked out. While sharing is hard and many of us enjoy not sharing trying to chase away every bit of random interaction rarely works.

In my opinion, to run the low sec market you have to dig in and commit to the market. You grab it and hold on and use the potential to your advantage. Getting caught up in every individual item and every individual ISK will burn you out. To be productive you have to let go and instead of standing alone use people as your supports.  Most people who enter in lightly will do so in common modules. They are going to want their items to move.

Chasing them out can be done. Sure. Normally, in my opinion, there are better ways to expend time. The chances are very, very high that no one else cares about your market as much as you do so dig your feet in and remember that every day is a little bit different.

3 comments:

  1. You get it!

    Stocking common items like attribute implants, ammo, rigs and T1/T2 modules attracts other players to a station. Once there they'll often buy other things (hopefully mine) and sell off acquired loot.

    They're low margin items but I'm not listing them for the profit, I'm listing them to attract customers to the station.

    Really the best thing that can happen is if someone undercuts me with a huge stack of ammo... Then I don't have to bother with stocking it for a long time. =)

    It also helps to BUY those same items at reasonable (but still lower than main hub) prices. It doesn't matter if you buy a lot, the point being a decent buy price will attract more players to your station to sell them (whether to you or someone else).

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  2. I'm happy I can provide you blog content inspiration :)

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    Replies
    1. Uh huh. It's good stuff. As I am sure you are finding out a lot of what you do is trial, error, and feel. Relaying to others what you learned through wandering often takes a catalyst to properly separate the subject.

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