Over the past several months, lifestyles changed, new hobbies manifested, and people got creative. It wasn’t until after I had discovered my fourth new hobby – after becoming an amateur makeup artist, a pseudo chef and a (TV show) marathon runner – that I found a new way to earn some extra money. Then, boom, I earned my newest title: entrepreneur.
Years before the COVID-19 outbreak, I had dabbled in selling online. Not super happy with eBay’s fees, I ventured out to LetGo, OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace, which allowed me to meet buyers face-to-face and exchange my items for cash on the spot. To be honest, making sales wasn’t constant – until a few months ago.
After getting inspiration from a coworker, I researched different selling platforms online and found that Mercari had a smaller selling fee (10%) compared to the others, so I gave it a try. I have made significantly more sales on Mercari in a matter of months than in the years I have been using other selling platforms. So here I am, 60-some-odd sales later, with a few tips to share.
How Does Mercari Work?
Mercari is simple to use. Snap a few well-lit, clear photos of your item(s). Write a description with as many accurate details as possible, such as the brand name, condition, size, color, measurements and weight. In your description, include different keywords a potential buyer might enter in Mercari’s search bar or even a search engine (yup, listings appear there, too), and you’re in business.
Does your item have minor imperfections? Be transparent. Make them obvious. Mention any flaws in the description and take photos. Some people will still purchase pre-loved items. You may be surprised, yet equally disgusted, to learn that dirty, worn Birkenstock shoes still sell.
After the item arrives, the buyer has three days to accept the purchase. Once that time passes without issues, Mercari will release your money.
Tip #1: Relist/Promote Often
The more you list, the more likely you are to make a sale. The key is to not list all at once and don’t let your listings get stale. (That rhymes!) Proactive sellers can make sales faster. Listings can get buried quickly in the platform’s search results as users constantly post new inventory. If you notice the view counts are increasing faster than normal, relist a few of your older, more popular listings to take advantage of the momentum. If your item isn’t getting much attention, disable or delete your listing and post it again to keep it fresh.
You can also increase visibility with the Promote feature, which provides two options: promote publicly or promote privately. By promoting publicly, Mercari will boost your listing to the top of the search results and the price drops by 5%. Or you can promote privately to people who have bookmarked or Liked the listing by offering a discount of at least 10%.
It’s all about finding the right buyer at the right time. I listed a Tony Moly skincare set that sat for weeks. I had no takers despite my efforts in reducing the price. I relisted it a few days later, and sure enough, it sold for more than my original asking price.
Pro tip: Price your item slightly higher than your desired asking price to allow room for bargaining and promoting. Still not selling? Try adding new photos and bulking up the description.
Tip #2: List at Night and on Weekends
When are the best times to list on Mercari? I tend to make the most sales Sundays and Mondays; Wednesdays are usually the most sluggish. Users are more active in the evenings, so post later at night when fewer people create new listings. That way, yours won’t get pushed down in the search results as quickly.
Tip #3: List More Items
Expand your inventory by reselling. Become a bargain buff. Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx and Marshalls have sales-worthy hidden gems for a fraction of their retail price. I spent $25 on a Free People dress that retails for $88 and sold it for $65. I have even sold a couple of stylish scarves from the dollar store!
List items that are hotter than Joe Manganiello holding a box of lit matches! Starbucks tumblers, Rae Dunn kitchenware, electronics, video games and brand-name shoes sell often. In-demand items – ones like Funko statues and bobbleheads, Olaplex hair and scalp treatments, and LEGO sets and building blocks – can attract attention to your online store.
Tip #4: Ship Accurately
Don’t let shipping woes weigh you down. Know how much your complete package (item, container, padding, etc.) weighs before listing your item. Guessing leaves room for error. If it weighs more than what you indicated in your listing, either you or your buyer will pay for the remaining balance. Sellers can offer free shipping, which can increase the likelihood of a sale, on their dime. So, if you overcharge for shipping, either you or your seller could be losing money. An unnecessarily high shipping price may discourage a buyer from making the sale. Trust me, getting a postal scale is worth it.
As a buyer, you should note the seller’s shipping cost to make sure you are not getting ripped off. That cloth face mask should not cost you $11 for shipping!
Discounted USPS Shipping Prices by Weight via Mercari:
- 1 oz to 4 oz: $3.49
- 5 oz to 8 oz: $4.60
- 9 oz to 16 oz (1 pound): $4.99
- 17 oz and over: $11+
Pro tip: Consider selling heavier items in person or on another platform. Packages weighing more than a pound cost at least $11 to ship on Mercari, while Poshmark’s expedited shipping costs $7.11 for packages up to 5 pounds. However, Poshmark’s selling fee is 20%, which is double Mercari’s selling fee.
Mercari offers discounted shipping through USPS, UPS and FedEx. And during the holidays, Mercari is axing peak shipping surcharges on prepaid shipping labels, so users can avoid the extra cost. You’re also covered up to $200 in shipping protection. No printer? No problem. When you opt to ship via UPS, Mercari will send you a QR code that can be scanned at The UPS Store, but not at UPS Drop-Off Only locations.
Whether you want to declutter your space or pick up a new hobby during uncertain times, listing on Mercari is a way to generate a little bit of extra income. By using the tips mentioned above, you may be on your way to increasing the speed of your sales. Signing up is free. Use my referral code here to sign up and save $10 on your first order. Good luck!
Note: At the time of editing, on Oct. 1, 2020, Mercari introduced an additional processing fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 per sale.