Update: Seeding a Low-Sec market

A few weeks ago I started my project of seeding a Low-Sec market. The main goal is not Isk (as I said, there won’t be a lot of profit, if at all), I just want to see if I could do it. Right now I plan to stop when I see that 2 or more competitors are starting to participate, forcing me to adjust prices. Having actual local competition would tell me that others consider this place a good place to sell, basically a market place.

I started with mainly selling the fits for a kiting and a brawling Tristan. In addition I brought is basic consumables people might need: ammo, repair paste, cap boosters. My small ancillary armor reppers usually sold within minutes, I assume that somebody wanted to flip them since I sold them below the regional average. I feel bad for the last person since on the next day CCP finally raised the probability of SAAR BPC drops. Since then the price has dropped by roughly 60%. Because CCP said that the change in drop rate would only be temporary I assume that many traders will hoard them right now betting that the prices might rise again.

Capture

It took a while but eventually people started buying; on average I make 30 sales per day. I know that this is peanuts but since I am starting at 0 this is still quite nice. Interestingly there are things which don’t seem to sell at all or only slowly: Mainly equipment such as scram, webs, drones. I assume that the notorious pilots in that area already have a stockpile in their hangars and that it will take a while for these piles to deplete. Also many might not have realized yet that these things are now on the local market. Another possibility: People don’t bother with frigs and go for bigger stuff and/or T2 ships. When I go through my sales list there are some regular customers now. They mainly stock up on consumables such as ammo and stuff. On their killboard I see that these players rarely loose ships so I am not too surprised.

Capture2

Bottom line: There does seem to be a group of players willing to buy more local. So a market could be possible. Now I have to figure out, what exactly these players want. I might have to dive more into the data and filter out the most common players to see what they are losing. I am just too lazy to write something for that.

A long time ago I had an alt who did nothing but look for offline High-Sec POS and wardec the owners. If they didn’t respond I would then go and shoot the modules hoping for gigantic loot pinatas. Unfortunately that never happened but a few of them actually dropped a significant amount of minerals which had been collecting dust until now. Since I won’t use them for anything I decided to build Thrashers and Vexors. While the minerals are still not completely free (the cost of wardecs + time to get that stuff to a central place) building these ships is still cheap for me. They are now on the market, together with mods to try out different fits. And after reading Sugar Kyles post again I stocked up on Liquid Ozone, Cynos and Expanded Cargoholds. I don’t really get why but for some reason Cargoholds sell very well. I

Right now I spend 2 days a week hauling things to the station and setting up sell orders. I don’t want to spend more time on this. My next goal: Increasing daily sales by 50% (so 45/day). Kyle wrote that it took several month for things to take off so I am fine with baby steps. My current investments are roughly 2.7 bil.

Seeding a market

I don’t care too much about grinding and ratting. I understand that Isk is needed to fly shiny things but I don’t see the appeal in these activities and from what I read most of the people who actually do these things do either.

Instead I prefer to do passive trading. I enjoy spreadsheets, I enjoy analyzing data. On the other hand I like to do it at my own pace without feeling that it becomes a second job. So instead of watching my items like a hawk and instantly updating the price as soon as somebody undercuts me I like to go for items which sell slowly but consistently. Alternatively I trade in areas where the trade volume might be relatively low and as a result has less competition. My trading char has almost max skills so I don’t have to be too selective when finding items (it actually is a pain to find enough to fill all my slots). I do wish that I could put more stuff on contracts since selling max researched BPC is a nice income.

Since reading Sugar Kyle’s post about seeding a market I always wanted to give it a try. Recently, while exploring Low-Sec and taking pretty pictures, I noticed that the local area was relatively active (pirates and militia) but the market was poorly stocked and overpriced. High-Sec was only a few jumps away but not all pirates can go there without getting shot. It seemed like a good opportunity to try out my luck here.

First thing I did was placing a few popular products on the market, things which always sell (think Warp Core stabs, repair paste or ammo). After a week I came back and behold: almost 2/3 of my items still hadn’t been undercut and sold well. So demand and competition were reasonable. Time for the next step: Finding a niche. These are the three things to consider:

  • In less busy regions, station trading is not an option – even ignoring the fact that this is low sec; nobody comes here to sell shit.
  • Buyers are lazy: As I said, the market is non-existent meaning products are scattered throughout the region without a hub people can rely on. I need to provide an incentive to prefer my system over others.
  • I don’t want to spend more than 2 to 3 hours max per week on this.

This means that I have two options: Sell general consumables or sell items which complement each other. Consumables in a Pvp area are: Ammo, repair paste, drones and drugs. Regardless what I do, these are things that will sell, no matter what. Items complementing each other are ships and fits. I can try selling a Svipul for weeks but if the buyer can’t find equipment to fit it with there is just no incentive to buy the ship. Buyers are lazy. Nobody wants to travel through x systems just to collect a working fit. Especially in Low-Sec.

A beloved staple of frigate Pvp is the Tristan, an incredibly versatile ships with a low entrance barrier. You can fit it for a brawl or for kiting, it can neut or shoot, combat drones or ewar drones. It seemed like a reasonable ship to continue my project. I selected 3 popular Tristan fits which a reasonably trained pilot could fly and bought enough to fit 10 of them in total. In addition I stocked up on ammo and drones.

Getting it into Low-Sec was a bit unnerving considering the amount of deaths Dotlan shows for that region. I used a stabbed Iteron and lots of bookmarks. Plus I never carried more than 200mil per haul. After a bit more than an hour everything was in place and I was ready to sell.

I am not a fan of scorched earth. Overpriced items are a great way of making profit but I am convinced that it won’t work long time. Especially if I want my system to be known for a good market. While my prices are higher than Jita they are reasonable and still way beyond what the few competitors around here are charging. I won’t make a lot of Isk with this. My napkin math tells me it will be just barely 10% of my investments after tax, not considering the time I spend on hauling. Doesn’t really matter though, it was never about the money. I am pretty sure that my local competitors will start wardeccing me once they notice the drop in prices. But there are plenty of ways to work around them and it keeps things spicy.

Of course there is a high chance that everything I did and said is bullcrap. I will come back after a few days and see how things are going.