When you’re trying to make a profit out of your used items, finding the right marketplace or online flea market is crucial. One of the most popular marketplaces for casual or established sellers is Mercari.
Competing with big names such as Craigslist and eBay, Mercari attracts millions of users worldwide and is officially available in the US and Japan.
If you’d like to know more about it and the potentialities it has, read our Mercari review below.
Part 2: How Does Mercari Work?
Part 3: Is Mercari Legit?
Part 4: Selling on Mercari Pros & Cons
Part 5: Mercari vs. eBay: Is Mercari Better Than eBay?
Part 6: Wrapping It All Up
Mercari is an e-commerce company founded in 2013 in Japan and currently operating in Japan and the USA. Since its launch, it has grown to become one of the largest community-powered marketplaces in both countries and acts as a huge online flea market where users can advertise and sell their goods.
Currently, the marketplace carries out transactions of over 10 billion yens each month, and although the sales in the US are not disclosed yet, we can safely say it enjoys huge success on this market too.
One market where the platform didn’t enjoy a warm welcome was the European market. Indeed, Mercari opened its first European branch in 2016 in the UK, only to close it “temporarily” two years later.
Two innovative features, such as the Mercari Channel and Mercari NOW greatly contributed to the website’s success. The former allows live streaming e-commerce while the latter allows users to be paid instantly for their items.
Designed to help users sell pretty much anything, the marketplace is easily accessible either from the desktop or from its app.
Other strong points are the unique shipping system which allows for items to be shipped anonymously to local convenience stores; thus, it helps buyers protect their identity and keep sensitive information for themselves.
All these things make Mercari more than appealing to both sellers and buyers. If you’d like to know how to increase your profits through this marketplace, read on to find out how Mercari works.
Mercari is a marketplace similar to eBay, which means that both sellers and buyers can create a profile, communicate with each other, and agree on transactions.
For sellers, Mercari is an attractive marketplace with small commissions and lots of support.
Regardless of what you want to sell, you most likely can sell it here. The marketplace does have a list of prohibited items that include illegal items such as weapons and drugs, as well as items that can’t be shipped, such as flammable items. Counterfeits are also a no-no, but apart from this, you could sell literally anything.
Once you’ve decided what to sell, it’s time to create your listing following the marketplace’s guidelines present in the help section of the app or website.
Don’t worry; there is nothing complicated. You only have to take accurate pictures of the item and create a catchy description to attract buyers.
How to list on Mercari?
Once you have the pictures and listing, follow the quick steps below:
Step 1: Add your listing for free.
Publishing a listing on Mercari is free of charge, you only pay if your item gets sold.
Step 2: Choose your shipping method.
Mercari gives you the possibility to ship thorough them using their label and tracking code or ship on your own. Letting them handle the logistics is usually more cost-effective and hassle-free, but you can ship on your own if you choose to.
Step 3: Ship your items when your item is sold.
When you have sold an item, you must pack it carefully and apply the shipping label on the package. Then, you must ship the item within three days from the purchase and provide a valid tracking code in the app.
After the item is delivered, your buyer has three days to inspect the item and provide feedback or ask for a refund. If they didn’t provide feedback within this threshold, the marketplace will rate you automatically and release your payment.
You can now rate the buyer and wait for the funds to be added to your account.
Perhaps the nicest thing of this platform is that you can upload as many listings as you want without paying a dime. You will only pay 10% commission for the sales you have made, which is cheaper than most marketplaces.
Operating since 2013 and enjoying international acclaim, Mercari is a legit website. Like it can happen on all marketplaces, you might have trouble with buyers who might try to get your items for free.
Luckily though, the complex system that stands behind this marketplace is designed to protect both you and the buyer.
According to the many Mercari reviews available online, it seems that the customer support leaves a lot to be desired, though. The interface is also quite confusing, and you might have some trouble navigating through the features if you’re not quite tech-savvy.
A thing to pay attention if a seller requests a refund is what you tick when the platform asks if you want the buyer to keep or return your item.
Some users complained about not having their item returned after a refund because they selected the wrong option by mistake.
However, all this doesn’t mean that the site is a scam. Mercari is legit, and it’s doing business as it should. Sure, we could ask for a more intuitive interface, and sellers should be very careful about how they handle their refunds. Apart from this, though, there is nothing sketchy about this platform.
Like any marketplace out there, Mercari comes with lots of pros and a few cons. Undeniably, the platform’s main strength is the low commission and free listing system. No other marketplace gives you this opportunity, which we can safely say it’s the best deal you can get.
You’ll also be able to have private chats with your clients and choose from flexible shipping options.
On the downside, payment is rather slow. You’ll have to wait for the buyer to rate you before getting your money, and then you’ll have to wait for another few days for them to arrive into your bank account.
The interface is not the most intuitive and is even worse for buyers, who have to shuffle through both sold and available items when doing a search.
That being said, let’s have a deeper look at the main pros and cons
- Low commissions on sales: From all marketplaces out there, Mercari is the cheapest. It has no hidden fees, and you’ll only have to pay 10% on your sales. This means that you don’t have to invest anything upfront nor worry that you’ll lose money if your listing expires and you didn’t make a sale.
- Free listings: We can’t emphasize enough that Mercari comes with free listings. All you have to do is create an attractive yet accurate description and provide some quality images to go with it. That’s it!
- Listing promotions: Unlike many other marketplaces, Mercari offers actual promotions to sellers. For instance, it often runs commission discounts for certain items, such as only 5% commission for women shoes listed on a certain day. You can also choose to give a discount on your item to bump your listing on the first positions, but you still won’t have to pay anything upfront.
- Private chat feature: eBay has this feature too, but we like that Mercari gives you the possibility to discuss all the details regarding the purchase in a private window between you and your client.
- Flexible shipping options: You can choose to fulfill the orders alone or ask for help regarding shipping. If you choose to ship with Mercari’s label, you get a flat-fee shipping rate to all 50 states and benefit from shipping discounts you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
- Scamming buyers: Perhaps the main thing you should pay attention to is scamming buyers. Mercari gives buyers the possibility to keep an item after they have requested a refund if the seller doesn’t specifically claim the item to be returned. As such, there are many scamming buyers who just want to get your goods for free. All it takes is a second of distraction to lose both the item and the money, so pay attention to what you select when approving a refund.
- Unrefined interface: Mercari might be new, but the website and app just look old. They’re not intuitive and definitely not the nicest to use.
- Requires frequent relisting: Another downside that is linked to the free listing feature is that everyone is incentivized to post an item to sell due to the simple process. This means that your listing can get lost easily in all that maze of new listings. To keep yourself visible, you’ll have to relist quite often. A thing that’s time-consuming and downright boring.
eBay is Mercari’s main competitor, so you might be wondering why to choose the latter over the former.
Whether Mercari is better than eBay depends on your purpose. Do you want to sell worldwide or only to US buyers? eBay gives you access to international markets, and you can literally sell anywhere in the world.
Mercari is limited to the US, so if someone from Europe wants your item, you won’t be able to ship it.
Both marketplaces give you the possibility to sell almost anything, so we could call it a tie in this department.
1. Unlimited free listings
A major difference is how the listing is processed. As we mentioned above, Mercari requires frequent relisting if you want to stay on top of things and be visible to your buyers.
On eBay, the listing is kind of the listings on Amazon. You can set it and forget it while you’re waiting for someone to become interested in what you sell. Nevertheless, Mercari comes with unlimited free listings, whereas you’ll only get 50 free listings per month on eBay.
2. Handling the returns
Another major difference is how the returns are handled. Mercari obligates the sellers to offer refunds, whereas you can choose not to give refunds at all if you sell on eBay.
eBay also wins in the shipping department. While Mercari comes with flexible shipping, shipping on eBay can cost you as little as $2 through PayPal. However, selling through PayPal means you may have to issue refunds whether you like it or not, as per PayPal’s policy.
When it comes to payments, both sites have an incredibly slow processing time, and it will take a while to access your money regardless of what platform you decide to use.
Moving on to customer support, eBay does it better. You can contact the support either via email or by phone, whereas there is only email support on Mercari.
Nevertheless, Mercari wins when it comes to commissions. With only 10% fees, you’ll get to keep a higher portion of your revenue.
With that in mind, we tend to say Mercari is better than eBay. In the end, though, it’s down to you. If you’d rather refuse a refund and don’t mind paying a slightly higher fee for it, then eBay is certainly a better choice.
It might not have the most intuitive interface, and you might have to pay attention when issuing a refund; keeping your listing on the top position could be boring and time-consuming. Nevertheless, Mercari is one of those marketplaces that knows how to attract its users.
A low commission and no hidden fees, flexible shipping options, and an escrow-like system designed to protect both seller and buyer make it a winner.
Sure, this marketplace is not perfect. But in the end, no marketplace is. If you don’t mind selling to US clients only and spending some time to ensure that everything’s running smoothly with your listings, this is undoubtedly a great marketplace.
If you’d rather pay a tad more but have access to an international clientele and the possibility to refuse refunds, then you should go for eBay.
No matter what your choice is, both marketplaces are great starting points for selling your used items or starting an e-commerce business.