Competition can be tricky to deal with as a trader. Especially, if you are not one to sit in a station and 1-Isk someone every 5 minutes.
The first step toward dealing with your competition is to figure out where the competition is, and what they are doing.
Figuring out where the competition is:
This is usually the easy part. You notice that when you first put up your stack of modules, there were no others available on market. Now, there are 3-4 other stacks by several unknown people.
To really watch competition, you have to be watching your orders in relation to the market. This doesn’t mean checking every five minutes, but glancing through your primary orders a few times a week is important.
An important aspect of identifying your competition, is to realize who they are not! A random person posting one item on the market is NOT usually competition but a lone pilot trying to clean some stuff out of their hangar. Don’t adjust your entire market strategy based on non-competition!
Now that you know what items are being challenged, figure out how they will react when you undercut them. Do the immediately change their orders 5 minutes later? Does it sometimes take days before they seem to realize that they have been undercut? Some people trade in multiple stations, and only check each ‘market’ once a week, or less.
Find out, and take advantage of what they are doing! If they are trading every 5 minutes, or even every 12 hours, you may have to depend on steeper undercuts in order to get ahead of the market.
Below are some common, competitive strategies for dealing with certain types of competition:
Dealing with the 1-ISKer
If you are in the mood for some 1-ISKing, break up your stack into multiple stacks. This will allow you to adjust your orders (rotating through 2-3 stacks) more frequently, and will greatly dissuade even the most dedicated 1-Isker.
Undercut them into places they dare not follow. Wait a while, then bring your orders back up again. Chances are they will give up for a little while and move on to other items.
Dealing with 1 Competitor
If you know you only have one other competitor in your market, competing gets a little easier, even if they are a 1-isker. You can drop the market until they no longer are willing to follow, then buy them out. Now, post everything back for a much higher profit.
Granted, you need to be careful doing this. If the market is close enough to a trade hub, it might not take them much to just keep restocking.
Dealing with a Vicious Undercutter.
People will do this if they want to get rid of a lot of stuff fast, or if they build stuff and have stacks to go through. Sometimes, it’s valid to simply buy them out. Especially if their product is reaching sub average prices.
In other situations, it’s usually best to just let their stacks run their course, and check back in a few days.
In the end, every situation is different and you have to use a little common sense in dealing with competitive traders. In some situations, competition can be temporary, and the timeliness of entering or challenging a market can be crucial.
It’s important to understand the competition you are dealing with, or else your products could stagnate on the market, sitting for weeks or months at a time and tying up valuable funds that could be instead making you a profit!