I’ve bought and sold items across various platforms for two years now. My current obsession is Mercari, the latest buy and sell app. It’s still in its beta version meaning no seller fees! **Update January 14, 2017 Mercari has now started charging a 10% seller fee once an item has been bought. This can change at any time so I’m taking advantage by choosing to put my items up for sale first on Mercari. If the item doesn’t do well there I’ll take it to another platform. If you’ve ever tried to sell items online you know it can be full of losses and great rewards. It stinks when an item doesn’t sell. That’s why I created this guide to help you become a successful seller.
My experience selling on Mercari
I am very new to Mercari. I downloaded this app about three weeks ago, but so far I’ve made $206 on items I already had in my closet. Not bad for a side hustle, but I still want to increase my profit. I’m doing that by buying items on clearance and at wholesale prices to resell on the app. Each transaction with my customers has gone smoothly except for one, and that was the shipping carrier’s fault. The customer’s money was refunded, and the package remains lost to this day. I lost out on my money and the item. I’ve come to accept things may go wrong with shipping carriers. It’s part of selling items on the internet.
I’ve read some scary stories about people buying fake cosmetics on Mercari, but that is common across any platform. Even Ebay! If you received an item that wasn’t as described Mercari will refund you your money. As long as you’re an honest seller you will have no problem making money and attracting customers.
Customers complete the transaction by rating you either Great, Good, or Poor. They have a chance to write a comment about their buying experience and you have the chance to do the same on their profile. Customer reviews can either build your business up or tear it down. I’ve had some instances when a customer won’t rate me, and I have to contact the app’s customer service. If a buyer does not rate the seller after three days, customer service will assume everything is okay with the item, and will rate the seller Great. They even respond quickly on the weekends.
Prepaid Shipping Labels
You have the option of choosing to ship the item yourself or choose one of Mercari’s prepaid shipping labels from either Fedex or USPS. Prices are as follows:
0.5 – 3 lbs / $6
3 – 10 lbs / $9
10 – 20 lbs / $15
0 – 0.5 lbs / $4
0.5 – 3 lbs / $6
3 – 10 lbs / $9
10 – 20 lbs / $15
I recommend you get a scale so you don’t choose the wrong shipping label. You have to make sure the package’s weight corresponds with the shipping label.
What kind of items can I sell?
Some of the most common items up for sale on Mercari are clothing pieces, cosmetics, and baby products. You cannot sell food or vitamins. For more information on prohibited items please contact Mercari customer service.
I noticed many sellers fare better if they sell one type of product. Although items do sell if you have everything from baby wipes to sports bra you won’t get returning business. Customers just don’t know what to expect from you when you create new listings. If you’re looking to make serious cash you need to close in on one type of product and only sell that item. You could sell
- Vintage T shirts
- Baseball caps
- Covergirl cosmetics
- Luxury bath products
There are profitable niches out there you may not even consider. By catering to a certain group of people you will have customers who return to purchase more from you. What’s better than returning business?
How to Price items
Items sell cheap on Mercari. This is great for buyers, not so much the sellers. It only makes sense that items that are marked sold have low price tags. Buyers go onto their phones to search for great deals. If an item is priced near or at it’s retail value all a potential buyer has to do is hop in the car and go to the store to buy the item. They don’t have to pay for shipping, and they get the item right away.
Tip: Don’t undervalue your items, but do consider if your buyers are getting a sweet deal with your product.
How to Negotiate Prices with your buyers
Don’t you just love getting a good bargain? Your customers do too, and they will ask you to give them a better deal. Here’s how I decide if I’m willing to negotiate.
- How long has the item been listed? Two weeks or two days? If I just listed an item I do not agree to lower my price. Be patient and leave your item up for other prospective buyers to see.
- Would I still make enough of a profit if I lowered my price? If I’m okay losing a few dollars I go ahead and change my listing price.
- Are they asking for my lowest price or actually negotiating a better deal? I can speak for all Mercari sellers that commenting “What’s your lowest?” is so annoying. Do not respond to people who are not even offering a number. Comments are there for all your buyers to see. Once you offer your lowest number you might as well just change your listing price because other buyers are not going to spend $14 on a sweater if they know your lowest is $10.
- If your buyer is not willing to buy right then and there do not negotiate. Leave your listing price the way it is. They may not even make the purchase.
What makes me want to buy items from other sellers
As a buyer I know that there are certain things I look for when I want to purchase an item.
- Great photos. Try to photograph your items in natural light, and be sure to take photos of the items from every angle.
- A lengthy description. Accurately list the item’s condition and mention all the flaws, if any.
- What does your profile say? I always check out seller’s profiles before deciding to make a purchase. I want to read what other buyers have to say about you. I also want to know what kind of a person you are. Write a few things about yourself on your profile, and make sure you have a photo of yourself uploaded. It makes the transaction feel more personable.
Buying items for resale
I also purchase items on clearance or at wholesale prices for resale. Whenever I purchase items on clearance I check out some of my favorite stores like TJMaxx, Marshall’s, or Target. Make sure to check return policies in case an item does not sell. There is almost no risk involved buying items on clearance because you always have the option of getting your money back from the store. I also purchase clothing items at the thrift store that I know will sell quickly. I look for brands that people will recognize like Forever 21, H&M, and Jessica Simpson to name a few.
To purchase wholesale you need a permit to purchase from reputable manufacturers. This could be something you might want to look into. Ebay also sells wholesale lots and might be worth checking out if you do not want to apply for a permit. If you do decide to purchase from Ebay make sure you find reputable sellers. Read their reviews and check to make sure if they offer refunds. Make sure item descriptions contain all the products included in the lot. Avoid listings that have “sample photos” and do not specifically list all of the items included in the lot.
You sold your first item! Congratulations
Once your item sells you have to package the item and bring it to a shipping carrier. Do not just drop off your packages without getting a receipt. My local Fedex does not offer receipts so I stopped using their service. Perhaps if the packages were left behind the counter I might consider using Fedex again. But this specific store left their packages out on the sales floor, and I did not feel comfortable using that service. Try to wait until the package is scanned. If a package ever gets lost at least you have proof you dropped it off with the shipping carrier.
Regardless of what type of seller you are I hope you find this guide for selling on Mercari helpful. Please consider pinning the image below if you did!
Also, if you’d like to receive $2 in Mercari credit you can sign up with my invite code SMUXQV. I will receive $2 in Mercari credit as well if you end up using my invite code. Thanks for reading!