Decluttering on Mercari

I’ve sold around $150 of stuff on Mercari, a sales app that’s designed for mobile phones (but you can use it on the web). It’s easier to use than Ebay, but the customers are less likely to buy random things there.

The main problems are customer service and some pricing considerations that will disqualify a lot of lower-priced sales.

What Sells on Mercari?

To see sales activity, you search for the item, and then filter by “Sold”. Compare the total number of items found to the total sold.

I’ve sold the following: pants, shirts, books, DVDs.

I’ve bought the following: video game parts.

Generally, my sense is that the Mercari buyers are early 20s to middle age. Mercari released some 2020 stats indicating the same. Familes shop on Mercari.

Pricing Considerations on Mercari

Mercari doesn’t want you to be selling things that cost less than $5.

The shipping charges are pretty high because the system defaults to Priority Mail.

In my experience, you can sell things where shipping costs a little more than the item, but not much more. That’s probably why they don’t want you selling things too cheap.

To get rid of cheap things, you can bundle them up into bigger lots. I quickly sold DVD bundles on the app, but the prices were very low, at around a dollar a DVD, delivered (so I ate the shipping costs).

Mercari buyers don’t seem to be as price-sensitive as Ebay buyers, but they do want a good deal. The overall “feel” on the app is that the items are used, so the prices should be low.

So, you might see a used item selling for $7 – $10, a pretty wide range, but not much above $10.

Customer Service Experience

What customer service?

I’ve had two problem sales, and Mercari wasn’t available to intervene on either of them.

The first was my fault, because I didn’t understand youth sizing for shirts. I tried to issue a refund, but was unable to. I tried to contact customer service, but could not reach anyone human.

The second was the fault of the postal service. A package was lost (this was during the 2020 pandemic). I had to issue a refund, and I think it was processed automatically. I wanted to reach customer service during this process, just in case the package arrived late, but could not.

This compares unfavorably with Ebay, which has customer service reps.

Refund Policy

As a seller, you should hew to a simple refund policy: any problems should result in the buyer getting a refund, even if they keep the item. Just refund and “move on”.

Because you’re not going to be able to negotiate with Mercari, you just need to eat the loss.

That means you can’t count on the platform when you’re selling expensive items.

Ease of Use

The app is easy to use, both for buyers and sellers. It’s easier than Ebay, by a lot.

Payments are made through your bank. You accumulate revenue in your Mercari account, and can spend it in Mercari, or transfer it to your bank.

Ease of Photography

The mobile app favors taking photos as you make your listing, and it shows in the marketplace. Most of the photos are “amateur”, especially compared to Amazon or Poshmark. This means it’s easier for experienced sellers to take “decent” photos and stand out.

On the other hand, it means you need a decent camera on the phone, so make a few listings to see if your photos are competitive.

Conclusion

For decluttering, Mercari is a pretty limited platform. You can sell items within a price range for $5 to around $50.

It’s easy to use, so listing will be less work.

If I had a few boxes of things to sell, and they cost around $7 to $12 each, I’d consider putting them on Mercari, stashing the boxes, and just waiting for half a year for them to sell.