Saturday, July 16, 2011

Making Gold On The Auction House | 3 Approaches In Finding What To Sell on The WoW AH

What To Sell On The Auction House

One of the common questions I get asked in email is "How do you know what to make to sell on the auction house?"  Well that's a great question and there are various strategies in determining what to sell on your server's auction house.  Every server is different so a blanket statement like "Sell PvP Plate gear!" or even a focused tip like "Sell Ebonsteel Belt Buckles!" may not be appropriate for your server.  It all depends on the prices of raw materials on your server.  Everything is server dependant, so the best way I can help explain what to sell is to go over the thought processes or strategies that I use in determining what I sell.


Some players are stuck in a single market.  This may be a result of having only 1 character or only 1 crafting alt character.  Sometimes a lack of playtime (like my recent change in work hours) leads to less posting time and less posting options.  I can't stress enough how much easier it is to have the options of playing in every single market, do to properly leveling an army of alts and keeping their professions maxed and DIVERSIFIED.  That's right, I said the D word again.  Diveristy is not a requirement to make gold, but let me tell you it does make it a lot easier.  Diversifying into multiple markets can help you continue to remain profitable on a daily basis.  If one of your markets tanks, or some bully comes in and just starts heavy undercutting just for fun, you can quickly move your time and investments into another market.  Regardless of how many markets I am in, I have 3 basic ways that I determine what I am going to be selling on the auction house on my World of Warcraft server.

My Three Approaches To Selling On The WoW AH

The 3 approaches I will be discussing are as follows.
  1. What Is Posted Too Low, That I Can Relist At The Right Price?
  2. What Items Are Selling Over My Price Threshold?
  3. What Materials Are Selling For Cheap and What Can I Use Them For?
What Is Posted Too Low, That I Can Relist For Profit?

I am always looking on the auction house for poorly priced items that I can resell for a profit.  This is called "Flipping".  This is an auction house strategy that differs from the flipping of vendor bought goods.  Instead of buying recipes and patterns off of an npc vendor to flip (which is a great way to make gold too), I am searching for higher priced items that are listed too low on the auction house.  The big difference here is that we are looking to profit off of player posting mistakes.  Using The Undermine Journal Market Notifications is a great way to snag deals on rare patterns.  A few of examples come to mind.
  • I found the Blacksmithing plans for Mithril Shield Spike for 10 gold.  I bought the plans, then sold for 300 gold on the auction house.
  • Recently, I was looking for an enchant for a character of mine.  The enchants were 60 gold each, but I found a stack of 6 of the same enchant on the second page of listings for 90 gold.  Instead of buying the cheapest 60g enchant for my character, I bought the 6 stack and sold the other 5 for 59g59s59c each.  That 90 gold investment got my character the boots enchant plus almost another 300 gold extra profit.
  • I found 10-15 Enchant Shield Vitality scrolls listed for 8 gold each (must have been from a player leveling Enchanting) , bought them all out, and sold them all for 75 gold each.  This scroll is now BiS for any low level twink shield carriers.  The cost to craft them is well over 8 gold each so this was easy money.
What Items Are Selling Over My Price Threshold?

I do not follow the Walmart pricing philosophy that many other auctioneers follow.  The Walmart-model is based off of selling as many items as possible at the cheapest prices.  The sheer volume of sales helps bring in the gist of the profits.  I tend to analyze what I am going to sell much differently.  In the Walmart pricing model, as long as there is some profit potential, the item gets listed.  "A sale is a sale" or "Profit is profit" are a couple of the coined phrases a Walmart type poster would say.  As long as a profit can be made, they will post and hope for a massive volume of sales to get the profits.  No thanks!  If I am not making enough profit for the items to be worth my time, I won't post. 
I have a threshold that I want the item's current price to be at or over, before I waste my time crafting the item to sell on the auction house.  Only a five gold profit on this cut gem?  Next.  What are Blacksmithing Rods at?  Over my profit threshold?  I'll post.  If not, I move to another market and check prices.  This is where diversity plays a huge role in determining what I will post on the WoW auction house.  Without being diversified, I wouldn't have as many crafting and posting options.
Why do I have a price threshold?  It is my firm belief that everything needs to have a nice enough profit for that item to be worth putting my time and effort into.  I am no Walmart.  I want to make nice chunks of profit on each item I sell, because my time is limited and if I can't make a nice enough profit in this market, then I can make it in another market.  My time is better spent in the higher profit margin auction house markets.
Another reason I stick to my pricing thresholds is the fact that continually competing at those low price levels does nothing for rebounding the price higher.  It only adds to the competition, undercutting, and general tanking of the markets prices for a longer period of time.  Another example would be with posting time durations.  If the price of your items is lower than ideal, then posting for 48 hours is only going to keep the prices lower for longer.  Posting with a shorter duration, gives the item a better chance to rebound.  Not posting at all in this situation gives a much better chance for the prices to stabilize back higher.  Remember, if the prices are low and you continue to post at that low price, you are keeping the market down.  Are you part of the problem or are you part of the solution?
What Materials Are Selling For Cheap and What Can I Use Them For?

A lot of players will focus on the prior method of posting what is selling for a profit or what is selling for enough of a profit to make crafting and posting worthwhile.  Another big strategy for profiting on the auction house is identify cheap materials and what can be crafted from those cheap materials.  The biggest example is with shuffling ores.  If the prices are low enough, we can buy tem items and send them through the ore shuffling process.  If you find cheap herbs, then you can shuffle those through the flask, Mysterious Fortune Cards or Fortune Cookies, or potion markets
I always make a point to search for more than just the raw material resources when using this auction house strategy.  You can often find a nice batch of crafted intermediate materials on the auction house for low prices.  Sometimes a player will overproduce items while leveling up their WoW professions, then toss them on the auction house just to get some of their investment back.  Many times, these items are listed for far less than the cost to craft them.  Some examples of intermediate crafting materials and how I have shuffled them into nice profits include the following.
So be sure to try to get out of the same way of thinking about what to sell.  There are many options for making gold on the auction house.  With a litle digging around and looking at selling prices as well as the prices of raw and intermediate materials, you can surely find some new markets or new ideas for making gold within the World of Warcraft.

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