How to Sell on Mercari
In this post, I want to share with you how to sell on Mercari based on my experience selling clothes and small household items on the platform for the past several years.
I sell on Poshmark, eBay, and Mercari. Mercari is more similar to eBay in that it allows many things for sale: electronics, clothing, household goods, collectibles, and more.
And as a seller, the flat commission of 10% is unbeatable! This low commission is one of the best around and why reason Mercari is a great place to sell online.
So let me show you how to get started selling on the platform!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that I may receive compensation when you click on a product link or purchase an item linked on this site. Click here for details.
***On Mercari, you can get a free $10 bonus when you sign up with the code JENMHM. The amount may vary by promotion.***
How to Sell
It’s easy to get started on Mercari app.
Sign up for an account. You have the option to use the website or the app. Try navigating both to see which works best for you.
Fill out the necessary info for a listing. Add pictures of your item, create a title, write a description, fill in the category and condition, choose a shipping option, and set your price. I go over each part in more detail below.
I mention this at the top here because this is what everyone wants to know. Mercari takes 10% of all sales. This is lower than on most other selling platforms.
Poshmark takes 20%. eBay varies but is over 10% if you include PayPal fees. Mercari’s low commission is what keeps a lot of sellers including me coming back to the platform.
Now let’s move on to some of the ins and outs the Mercari.
I love taking pics on this platform because of the great features. There are really no faults here when compared to Poshmark and eBay.
Add up to 12 pictures in your listing!
Pictures default to longer length (great for dresses!).
Edit pictures right in the app. Change it to 1:1 ratio for a square photo (great for smaller items) or free crop the item. Rotate the photo right there as well.
Use the magic wand to automatically improve the photo.
If you have the pictures already on your phone or computer, you can select up to 8 at once, making the process go faster.
It’s key to take good photos. You might think this is a no-brainer, but it should be stated because they make a difference to sales.
Some tips to good pictures:
Take pictures of your item showcasing every side of it, the brand tag, and the size.
Showcase any features or flaws.
Show the fabric content label or state it in your listing if you don’t have room for this picture.
Use good lighting to take bright, clear pictures. If you live in a place with darker lighting, use a light kit or fix your pictures in an app like Snapseed. Shoppers are more inclined to buy with better pictures.
The first picture in the listing will be more main photo. You can alter the photos around to the order you like.
The title is really important. Provide the brand name and then the style name or model number if you know it and fit it into the 40-character limit.
I write my titles like this:
Anthropologie Vanessa Virginia Takato tunic
NWT WHBM striped halter dress 10
NWT stands for new with tag meaning it’s brand new. WHBM is the common abbreviation for White House Black Market. I added the size “10”.
Size is not necessary in the title, but it makes things easier for me to track. It’s also a faster way for someone to see the size.
Write a thorough description of the item.
A lot of people don’t describe items in detail. It’s not that big of an issue if an item is new, although I still recommend giving as much detail as possible similar to a retail store listing.
If you’re selling something that’s used in any way, definitely describe it in detail. Add the brand name, style or model name, size, and condition.
Disclose any flaws, even if they are shown in the pictures. Write them out as well because some people don’t look closely at the pictures or they don’t show up well on small screens. This can also help if a buyer tries to make a case for a return.
I like to add measurements to my listings. This is an ongoing debate among sellers. Do what you think is best for you.
I add measurements because I sell clothes, so I know it’s very likely that people will ask for it if I don’t. They want to know if the item will fit without being able to try it on.
The description section also allows for up three hashtags. I think hashtags are not well utilized by buyers and sellers. It’s okay to skip this if you describe your item well in the box above it.
Mercari auto-fills some of the information in the listing based on your title. The category is one of them.
Most of the time Mercari is correct its guesses here. I only have to correct it once in a while. This is based on my experience selling mainly clothing and a few other small household items like Christmas ornaments, not other items like electronics or collectibles.
Unfortunately, Mercari is lacking some categories. For example, there’s no category for regular women’s shorts. There’s a listing for shorts under athletic apparel, but not all shorts are athletic wear.
There’s no category for all other shorts like jean shorts, khaki shorts, and dress shorts. In those cases, I use the “Other” category.
Use “Other” rather than miscategorize something. That could be held against you if someone wanted to open a case against you.
Brand can also require some working around. Mercari fills in the brand with its suggestion based on your item title. That’s a good time-saver when it’s correct, which it often is for commonly known brands like Nike or Adidas.
If you’re selling something rarer, the brand may not auto-populate or be available for selecting.
Sometimes you can enter the name of the brand you want and Mercari will thank you for the submission, saying the brand is now under review.
Sometimes you’re stuck selecting “No Brand”. This happens to me even for some clothing brands that are hot sellers.
Both of the above are disappointing, but if this happens to you, put the brand name in both the title and description so that it will be more likely to come up in search results. Buyers primarily shop by brand, item, or brand and item. Make it easier on buyers to find your items.
Mercari makes this easy by having you choose from five options: New, Like New, Good, Fair, and Poor.
Each condition has a short description of what it means. When it comes to used items, people have different ideas about what makes something a certain condition, so this is helpful for knowing what the terms mean and how to assess your item.
Use the description section above to give a more accurate picture of an item’s condition. If you say that it’s in fair condition, people make ask you why or what’s wrong with the item that makes you rate it as such.
Try to be as accurate as you can in your description and when selecting the condition to avoid any misunderstandings.
Mercari has changed its shipping options and prices a few times over the past few years. As of this writing in July 2019, here are the options and my thoughts on it.
1) Buyer pays for shipping.
If you have the buyer pay, you select the item weight and the shipping company when you list the item.
Weight is divided into 0-0.5 lb, 0.5-1 lb, 1-3 lb, 3-10 lb, and so forth.
Shipping company is USPS or FedEx depending on the weight. Item’s under 1 lb can only be shipped via USPS First Class mail. Items over 20 lb can only be shipped via FedEx.
2) Seller offers free shipping.
Here you have two additional options.
Use a prepaid label that you pay for as a seller. It’s sent from Mercari to your email inbox, or you can download it from the website/app.
You can opt for a prepaid label by USPS, FedEx, or UPS depending on the weight of the item. For the UPS option, UPS will pack and ship the item for you for a steep fee.
Ship on your own. You need to provide a tracking number in order to get your funds released if the buyer doesn’t confirm deliver. This is a good option if you have access to a good discount on shipping service.
You can view this chart of Mercari’s shipping options, weights, and prices.
Notes on offering free shipping
Mercari says that items are twice as likely to sell when you offer free shipping. I believe it because everyone wants free shipping if they can get it.
There’s even an option to sort search results by free shipping or not. It doesn’t matter if the item costs the same one that doesn’t offer free shipping in the end. People like the idea of getting a deal or a good value.
If you offer free shipping, raise the price of your item to account for it. Take note of the shipping cost as well because it can vary widely depending on the weight. You don’t want to lose money on the sale.
Check out Pirate Ship and PayPal to get access to cheaper shipping.
But I find Mercari’s shipping prices are not bad for item’s less than one pound (15.999 oz). You pay $4.25 or $5.25, which is cheaper than on Poshmark and sometimes cheaper than eBay for items of the same weight.
I like selling clothing because most of it is under 1 lb. People are more willing to buy on Mercari vs. a platform like Poshmark because of the lower shipping cost.
You can also offer a lower price because commission isn’t as high too. The difficulty is that Mercari has much lower usership.
The next thing to do is to set the price. How much do you want to make on your item?
I would check historical sold prices for the same item on Mercari and other sites if available. I’d also consider what the item is worth to me and a possible buyer given my knowledge of it.
From there, I would price a little higher to account for offers and sales and if I decide to offer free shipping.
That covers the basics of listing your item. Listing is free! Go ahead and list as many things as you want, as long as they follow the guidelines.
You’ll find over time that you can list things fairly quickly. It takes me a few minutes to list a post from scratch.
I cross-list to other platforms. If I have the pictures and description already available, it takes less than a minute to list.
You may find your Mercari offerings growing quickly. So let’s move on to more of the strategy for making sales.
Additional Mercari strategies
1) Price items to allow for offers & negotiate
When selling on Mercari, you should expect to receive offers on your items. People come on looking for a deal and want an even better deal if they can get it.
This is understandable. You’re not selling as a store would with set prices and offering an occasional sale or coupon. Potential buyers know that there’s leeway on prices. Mercari even has a “make offer” button.
The odd thing is that not all users are shown the “make offer” button. I believe it depends on if they’re a new user or choose to use PayPal for their transactions.
They may make an offer to you via message. You’d then have to lower the price for them if you agreed to it.
Nonetheless, set your prices higher than what you hope to receive. If I want to sell an item for $20, I might list it for $25.
This way I can accept an offer or provide free shipping if the buyer asks for it. If a person sends you too low an offer, simply counter back. Each party gets 24 hours to respond.
If the shopper makes an offer that’s too low for your liking, consider how realistic your ideal sale price is and how likely another potential buyer may come along.
For in-demand items, you’ll likely receive other offers resulting in a competitive sale. Don’t be afraid to negotiate in those cases.
2) Make use of price drops and promotions
Mercari offers some promotions to help you make sales too.
In past years, they’ve had some great promotions like listing sweaters for the week and paying less commission when the items sold. I haven’t seen this sort of promotion in a long while making me believe they did away with it.
The main way now is to offer items on sale.
Public sale – Mercari promotes your item by moving it up in the search results when you reduce the public price of an item by at least 5% below its historical lowest price. They’ll notify people who have liked your item as well.
Private sale – Make a direct offer to people who have liked your item. They’ll receive a notification as long as you reduce the price by at least 10% from its historical lowest price.
3) Relist items frequently
At some point, you’ll have lowered the price of your item as far as you want to go. You can’t lower it more and still make money on it.
Another issue is that you may want your best items to remain at the top of your listings. Unfortunately, there’s currently no option to sort your listings or search your closet or another buyer’s closet.
As the days pass and you continue to list more items, your potentially best-selling items will fall on your list and in search results.
A last issue is that your item will fall further and further down in search results when sorting by “newest” listings. Many potential buyers who are tracking new items will sort by “newest” first so they see only the latest items. You want yours to be up there.
The solution to all of these issues is to relist your item. Change the price to the original amount again if you need to.
How often to relist depends on you. Some people relist items daily. That’s too often for me. If I had the time, I would do it at least once a week. Do what works for you given the time you have available.
If you’re already selling the items on another platform, you can save time by cross-listing your items to Mercari. I have a short video below showing you how quickly it is to list to Mercari in general and how quickly it is to cross-list there too.
You’ve made a sale. Now what?
Let’s say you’ve done all of the above and made a sale. Congrats! Here’s what to do next.
1) Print out the shipping label.
Print the label from your email. The shipping label is sent to the email address you have on file. Or go directly to app or website and download the shipping label from there.
2) Package your item well
Make sure your packaging is secure and under the weight limit. I use a scale like this one to weight my packages before shipping them.
This is important because you don’t want the item shipped back to you for failing to have enough postage. I sell smaller items like clothes so this scale works well. Being multi-purpose, it’s good for both the kitchen and selling.
You may also need mailers, boxes, and packaging tape.
Package the item knowing that it could get thrown around, weighed down, or left out in the rain in transit. I always use boxes, bubble wrap, or packaging pillows for anything that can get damaged or misshapen like fragile ornaments and shoes.
I’ll wrap things to protect them from water and smoke damage too. You want the item to arrive looking as good as it did when it left your hands.
3) Ship the item and follow tracking online
Mercari asks sellers to ship items within three days. Ship as quickly as possible because buyers don’t want to wait for their items. I aim for same day or next day shipping whenever possible.
Once you ship, confirm it on the app. The buyer will receive a notification.
All shipping options where Mercari generates the label will come with a tracking ID. Use that to track the package to its destination.
USPS First Class shipping and FedEx (Ground) are relatively slow, so don’t worry if it takes several days to get to the buyer.
4) Exchange ratings
The buyer has 3 days from receiving the item to accept it. The buyer accepts the item by leaving a rating for it.
The buyer could also open a case during that time if the item was not described accurately. Returns aren’t allowed for fit or buyer remorse.
If the buyer doesn’t act within the 3 days, Mercari will automatically accept the item and leave you an auto-generated review.
Once the buyer leaves a review, then you leave a review in turn for the buyer and that completes the transaction. Your funds will be released.
What if the buyer wants a refund?
If you sell enough, eventually you’ll come across someone requesting a refund. Sometimes it could be for a legitimate reason such as that the item wasn’t as described. At other times, it may be someone fishing for a refund or even attempting a scam.
You’ll be notified when a case is open. Most of the time, you can respond to the complaint.
Mercari decides from there whether or not to allow the return. If the return is approved, Mercari provides a prepaid addressed shipping label for the buyer to return the item to you.
How to get your funds
Once you’ve made a sale and it’s been accepted by the buyer, the funds are released and you have a few options for what to do with them. You can cash out or spend your credits on the platform.
There’s no advantage to one or the other. You don’t get extra credits if you decide to spend the money back on Mercari.
You can request a direct deposit to you bank. There’s a $2 fee for deposit requests of less than $10.
In my opinion, it’s best to wait until you have at least $10 before cashing out. The $2 fee is going to be 20% of more of your profit, which can be hard to part with.
You’ll also pay $2 if the request is rejected by your bank for entering your account information incorrectly.
It used to take at least 5 business days to get your money. Sellers complained that it was too slow, and it was in comparison to other platforms.
Mercari recently introduced Instant Pay. You can see the difference between the two options in the chart below.
That’s a wrap on the basics of selling on Mercari. I’ll leave you with a recap of a few of things I like and don’t like about selling on Mercari.
Things I love about Mercari
Low commission around at 10%.
It’s quick and easy to list things for sale.
Funds are released quickly. Once the three-day acceptance window has passed, your funds are released. There’s no chance for the buyer to request a return and refund.
Listings and conversations are closely monitored. Mercari takes any suggestion of counterfeit goods, offline transactions, or any transgression of its guidelines seriously. This is great for maintaining the quality of listings and the platform.
Things I don’t like about Mercari
The user interface is functional but not great. Mercari is a bit clunky to use.
Sometimes notifications don’t come right away. When you delete an item on your phone and go back to your listings, it might jump around on the page.
You can’t search for users by username. You can’t search and sort your own listings either.
There are little things like that would make for a better selling experience if they were addressed. I think they’d make for a better and easier buying experience as well. But these things don’t stop me from selling on the platform.
Shipping rates are high for items 1 lb and over compared to some other platforms.
I’ve had success selling lots of items on Mercari over the past few years. Mercari makes it easy with quick listing and low commission. If you’re thinking of trying it out, give it a try! You may soon find yourself with more padded pockets.
Good luck with your sales!
By the way, I created this handout of 200+ top-selling brands to know to help you find the best thrifted items so you can make more sales. Click on the button below to grab your copy!