Wednesday, September 10, 2014

TCS: The Unstated Stuff

I woke up a few days ago thinking about my market which may be attributed to the fact that I was working on it right before I went to sleep. I was thinking about one of the most common questions that I am asked which is, "How do I get started?"

It is not reasonable, to me, to expect individual characters to make three or four or five market accounts to run a market. Some people will do it. Many of the successful market bloggers have an army of characters to handle their market transactions. I also have my alt army that is dedicated to maintaining my orders but I do not believe that you can only be viable in a market with an alt army.

And no number of alts will give you time that you do not have. I find myself tighter than I used to be for time.. What would be a pleasant morning working through my stocks may take me a day or two to get everything purchased and shipped. Moving items myself beyond jumping it from high sec into low sec is almost unheard of these days.

It has made me think a lot about focuses of my market. My orders have condensed down some. I feel a bit of shame that I am not offering up as many items as I used to but I have to be reasonable. Two alts still allow me up to six hundred orders. That is plenty to keep people in ships and items.

What I've mostly dropped is meta modules. I keep the common metas and the rare ones have to go. What I dislike about this is that I feel as if I am excluding newer players who cannot T2 fit their ships. However, I have to make choices and during the time that I have run this market I can say that my meta items just do not more like my other ones except for missiles.

Meta missile launchers move. Yet, the entire issue with guns is that they cover such a large range of orders as do all of the ammo types.

I find that when people ask me "What" they should sell I don't suggest everything. In fact, everything is hard because what will sell, what may sell, and what did sell are all different things. Instead, I've of late been advising people who want to start a market to look into fueling capitals and exploration ships and modules. Combat ships should come when some capital is built up due to the expansive needs of fitting.

It would seem that combat ships are the lifeblood of a low sec market. Yet, people do more than PvP. People simply say all that they do is PvP. I've watched my sale of haulers and scanning frigates, cyno ships and warp core stabs for to long to believe that PvP is all that is in the heart and soul and need. The non-PvP areas tend to thirst for  the basic, utility needs in life.

There are surface needs and then there are deeper needs. It is amazing how often someone could really use a hauler. Like right now. Wow it'd be useful. Also, the deployable market is woefully neglected. The simple lack of availability causes lack of usage. It'd be nice to assume everyone prepared and shipped in and planned what they needed to do more then shoot other people but...

ahahahahhahahahahhaahhahahahaha!

*wheeze* Let me catch my breath. Tee hee. *gasp*

It is about what people need not always what they want. Otherwise, they will ask you to stock a Vindicator for that day they may want one.

3 comments:

  1. I try to follow your reasonable price project and went to build a small lowsec markethub on my own just 6 weeks ago.
    It is located 1 jump out of FW and a known staging system for public NPSI fleets.
    Thanks to public fleet doctrines I focused on those ships and modules and as my trading skills proceeded I started to stock for FW.
    Right now I'm not able to see trends in items but in customers.
    80% of my sales went to players < 3month in game
    10% of my sales went to NPSI fleets
    10% of my sales went to players > 3month in game (with half of them beeing resellers)

    I try to keep my prices somewhere between 0% to 20% above Jita, that's why I'm baiting too much new players into lowsec. They buy a cheap Caracal (maybe the first they ever bought) but don't buy any fittings.
    Lowsec market filter should be opt-in instead of opt-out.

    As you mentioned in another post (lack of advertising your market, maybe by using those billboards) I feel like older players simply don't look at the market anymore.

    "There hasn't been a single item to buy within the last 6 month - why take a look today?"

    As I don't have a (well know, well visited) Blog there are only few ways to tell local players to check the market. I'd love to see something like "Send me an evemail when this item is in stock in this system/constellation/region" on top of the market window where players can create a watchlist for items.

    But as in real life (at least in my country) small shops are having a hard time to compete with shopping malls and - even worse - online shopping.
    Create a new charakter, fly him to Jita, train Contracting to I, let him buy your stuff, contract those items to PushX/Frogs, wait until delivered is as simple as buying stuff at amazon or any other webshop.
    Plus you don't have to fly around in a semi fitted ship just because there is an amor rig missing.

    Maybe CCP could implement a new statistic to the star map like for "Ships killed last 24h". Something like "Sellorders available" where players would be able to figure out a decent hub without flying to that region.

    Visibility of markets and hubs could really use some improvements.

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    Replies
    1. Attracting older players is a double edged sword, as most of them will already have a stock of items in the area. They'll be looking to fill in the pieces in the fit they're missing or may only need to buy a hull. Older players do look at the market, and if you show consistently good prices, a good selection of items, and restock at a decent pace you can gain some very loyal customers.

      Running a market like that requires a specific mindset and devotion towards that goal. You already have your mindset, just don't get discouraged by having your stock bought out and relisted. Instead take that as a sign that your store is doing well, and get a new stock of those items on the market as quickly as possible. Also, communication with your clients about requested items will nearly always be less of a conversation than you would have wished, instead just check out the killboard losses for the groups in your area.

      It may take some time to become a regular destination for shoppers in your area, but it's a very rewarding experience.

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