A lot of people use basic economic principles to make gold in WoW, but when you're on a large server and competing against other farmers sometimes you have to apply some more advanced techniques to sway the consumer towards your goods at your price. First though, lets talk real world simple concept and then how we can do it in Azeroth.
The Non-WoW version.
Relative pricing options is when you give someone a choice between two options and introduce a third
(decoy) to encourage the user to choose the option you'd prefer. For instance, the Economist offered a
Print only subscription at $59 and an Online only Subscription for $125 people will choose one or the other and typically the cheaper one. But they were clever and introduced a Print & Online Subscription for $129. People flocked to that option because it seemed like they get a $54 discount on print subscriptions. The company made an extra $70 from the subscriber and really didn't have to do anything extra except unlock content online. They persuaded people to buy higher by introducing a third option and that's exactly what we'll do in WoW. But how?
The WoW Version.
Since there are two main ways to buy goods in WoW (bid or buy), I will deliberately set up pricing schemes to encourage one or the other. If I notice the first page is simply people flooding the market with 1 quantity of an item that stacks I make them the Print only Subscription that I want to turn people away from. I next make 2 auction types. The bid is the Online Subscription and I set it up by making it a quantity of 5 or 20 at a higher price than the 1s but not much, but the buyout is overpriced. This decoy pricing is meant to encourage what I really want people to do which is pay more for my buyout option. By using the same quantity and a slightly higher bid, but a more realistic buyout I can typically get people to spend their gold with me.
Here’s an example with numbers based on what I did last week. I wanted to sell most of my Wool Cloth and I had about 20 stacks in the bank. I decided my target was going to be the power leveler and the convenience of a stack of 20 versus 20 stacks of 1 since I personally used to pay more for the stack (if closely priced) before I got serious about the gold. I used the people already undercutting each other by posting 1 Wool Cloth as the first option I wanted to discourage and used two bank mules to post the following.
--- Assume there are 20+ stacks of 1 Wool Cloth going for BID 45s BUY 50g ---
A. 05 stacks of 20 Wool Cloth with BID 10g BUY 20g (48hr bid).
B. 15 stacks of 20 Wool Cloth with BID 12g BUY 13g.
You'll notice I put a 48hr bid on option A. This was to further discourage people from bidding by making it inconvenient to get the Wool Cloth. My BUY is a full 3g more expensive than buying 1 piece at a time, but I made it so much easier to get and more appetizing by having that decoy price option in there that each of them sold to one individual. I took his name down and then sent him a whisper to ask if he was leveling (he was) and if he had other cloth needs (he did) and we proceeded to negotiate and I raked in the money.
Bonus Mini Tip:
Also if you target power levelers like I do, you may want to throw pieces up on the AH as a decoy price so that you can negotiate higher prices outside the AH since most people use the AH as their measure of something's value.
This method does carry some risk and you can't overprice by too much if you want to make the sale, but you can essentially price a premium for the convenience and ensure they take it with decoy pricing options like this. You can also try the converse by encouraging people to bid by making the buyouts high, but making the bid price and time low.
Give it a try and tell me what you think. It does take a little patience to master, but I find it's completely worth it when I have the money the people trying to flood the first page by posting 1 of an item are going after.