Today I thought I would cover a “classic” technique used on the old AH infrastructure. This is one of the best ways to generate a higher profit for any item that can stack, and will be relevant both in SoM, the rest of TBC classic and Wrath of the Lich King Classic when we get there.
You only compete with the same stack sizes
The entire point here is that you only really compete with another auction if it has the same stack size as what you posted. Players want to save time and gold and buying the exact amount they want with one click is valuable. Even if they end up paying a little more per item, they may end up paying less as they don’t have to buy more items than they need.
Both of these effects are incredibly consistent and I have seen it play out in retail WoW during Legion (as well as back in the days of original Wrath) and all the way through classic and TBC classic.
Know how many items players want
The optimal stack size to sell an item depends on how many items players typically want at a time. In general larger stack sizes are preferred, particularly for materials as it saves time, but the best approach is to tailor it to usage. In the case of materials this means figuring out what recipes they are used in, and then thinking about how many of that item is typically crafted at a time. Then you can either sell the materials in that stack size, or in a multiple of that stack size.
As an example ore is often purchased to prospect, where someone would prefer a multiple of 5. Now for prospecting jewelcrafters will often buy large quantities of ore, so here bigger is better. Another example is the Aldor and Scryers rep signets that you want to sell in a multiple of 10 as players will want to turn in 10 at the time. Here someone might need anywhere from 500 to several thousand rep so a wide variety of stack sizes is often good.
For consumables like flasks and potions I have preferred an approach where I compete with myself. I post these in every stack size possible from stacks of 1 all the way up to 5. The logic is simply to maximize the chance that I am the only one with that stack size and that someone wants to just buy enough flasks for tonights raid. This is great for consumables in general where players need whatever is missing from their inventory for a full raid night.
By doing this with consumables in classic I could consistently make 20-30% profit, even while the cheapest alchemy consumables generally tended to show zero profit if you just looked it up in the TSM crafting window. This was in fact the main reason why I made gold with alchemy in Classic.