This post is the second part in the series on buyer awareness. If you haven’t done so already, check out Part 1. I’m going to finish off the last 3 categories of WoW player: the newbie, the alt, and the casual.
I’m getting a bit nostalgic here in writing this post, remembering all the things I’ve spent my gold on over the years. It seemed like such a good idea at the time, too… Anyway, In order to understand how newbies spend their gold, it is a good idea to think back to your own experience-what did you spend/waste your gold on when you first started? Don’t remember? That’s the point. The fact of the matter is, new players generally spend all the gold they have on anything and everything. Players don’t usually consider saving gold or building wealth until much later on. Think about it – even if they do save up for that item/mount/useless vanity pet they just “have to have”, they will then blow all of their gold purchasing it.
So how can you make gold off of new players – well new players are both impatient, and ignorant, so you need to tale advantage of both of those things. A lot of new players will spend gold on gear upgrades way more frequently than they should, simply because they can. They will also pay indiscriminately to keep their crafting professions up to date, simply because they can. So, low to mid level gear and profession mats are where the bulk of a new player’s gold will go. Be there, waiting for them…
The scope of opportunity has narrowed slightly with alts. They usually have more gold to spend, but often are much less frivolous with it than newbies. Supplying alts with gear has become less lucrative than it once was with Blizzard’s inclusion of heirloom gear, but the door this has opened is in providing enchantments for said gear. Also, the full heirloom collection doesn’t cover every single slot, which means that most alts will pay for gear to fill in the gaps. I’m going place special emphasis here on shields, off-hands, and trinkets since suitable upgrades aren’t as readily available for these slots. The other thing to remember with alts is that they will be more inclined to spend gold on an upgrade if they plan on holding onto it for awhile. So, rare items, items with sockets, or low-grade gems are some examples of things that would appeal to an alt.
I saved this category for last because it is arguably the biggest. It is also the most difficult to isolate a pattern of behaviour for. The problem with casual players is that their motivation is both varied and subject to change frequently. A casual player might be trying to earn his “Gladiator” title one week, and then gearing up for his new raiding guild the next. The main thing to remember about casual players is that they are usually ok with settling for second best, especially if it’s much cheaper. They usually won’t pay a premium to get the best stuff available, but what they will pay for, is convenience. Casual players, by definition, have less time to commit, which means anything that will save them a large amount of time, or make their experience more efficient, will be of greater value to them. Another characteristic of casual players is that they tend to be more influenced by trends. They don’t have the same time to devote to mastering their class or doing their research, so they will generally just go with the flow and do what everyone else is doing, so as to not get left behind. I hate to say it, but trade chat is likely going to be your best resource for understanding what is currently motivating the casual population on your server. They will conform to the trends established in trade, so you might as well see where they are pointing. Also, you’ll want to always be prepared – keep yourself aware of any upcoming changes or events so you can get there and get settled before the casuals start to show up.
That covers the habits of your buyers, so why is this important? Well, if you understand how and why people spend their gold, you can put yourself in a better position to take advantage of it. You can make better use of you time, stay ahead of your competition and probably uncover some untapped gold mines out there.
A lot of gold blogs talk about diversity and why you should be doing it, but most of them talk about expanding into new markets based on diversity in the profession you use. I would suggest that it is equally important to diversify the groups of people you sell to, if you have maxed every single profession, but only produce goods that appeal to raiders, you are likely missing out on a huge segment of your server’s market. Now, maybe your server has a huge raiding population, but even that will fluctuate. Eventually, the guilds will clear current content and usually hop on their alts.
Hopefully, this series has taught you some new ideas about how to get the MOST out of your gold-making business. I now intend to start going through the individual professions. I think I will start with enchanting, since it is arguably the backbone that supports all of the other professions, but more on that later.
Let me know what you thought about this series on buyer awareness.
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