This is a local shop for local people

30th January 2009 – 10.33 am

With missiles and modules rolling off the production line I mention my proclivity to buy what I need locally. Rather than jump to a nearby system to save a bit of ISK I will pay slightly more for the convenience of being able to stay in the station, from which I extrapolate my behaviour in to a general rule for the the whole of the galactic population.

Briefly popping in to New Eden I check the market to see if any of my modules have sold, whereupon I remember why I decided to split my production run in to two sell orders. I wasn't simply taking my generalisation for granted. Instead, I had put up half of the production run in one station and the other half in a second station, orbitting the same planet even, but with a 2½% discount. I am curious to see how price differences affect people's decision to travel.

It looks like the small difference in price is not skewing sales too much. Both groups of modules have sold similar quantities so far, despite being in stations less than a minute's travel apart, including docking times. Of course, it probably isn't anywhere near this simplistic. The type of item being sold and whether the station caters to military or industry personnel will have an influence on the likelihood of someone deciding to travel to get a cheaper price.

Selling missiles at full price in a station with military agents and discounted in an industrial station would no doubt work more in my favour than the other way around, as capsuleers looking for missiles are more likely to be in military stations to start with. Some will be content with buying slightly more expensive ammunition if it means they can just undock and blow things up and others will make a small diversion if it saves them a bit of ISK. Pricing the missiles the other way around, with cheaper product in the military station, would probably leave the more expensive batch in the industrial station gathering dust.

The same reasoning can be applied to modules used primarily for industrial purposes. It isn't entirely straightforward, though, as there is overlap between many modules. Mission runners can be based in military stations yet want to buy industrial modules for salvaging and hauling loot, or to mine relatively rare asteroids found in deadspace pockets, for example. This is, of course, all speculation at the moment, although it certainly seems worthwhile to keep these ideas in mind when placing sell orders.

There is plenty of potential for more experimentation and analysis. The handful of modules already sold are paying for a second run, five times as large as the first, such is the profit margin on that item. I hope I'm not jumping the gun in paying for another run before the costs from the first run are recovered, but as I can recover the ISK with a level three mission or two I won't be looking to the Caldari government to bail me out any time soon, so I think I should be okay.

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