While in the West there are secondhand online marketplaces like eBay, in Japan there is Mercari, where you can both save money on buying used, yet still high-quality goods and easily make some extra money by selling unwanted items. This guide will help you through the process of selling goods on Mercari.
When considering selling on Mercari, you can of course list almost any item. However, some items are more likely to sell faster or for higher prices. Best sellers on Mercari are usually branded items. This can be within any category: branded clothes, electronics, and bags are all popular among buyers.
It’s easy to search by brand on the Mercari app, meaning many buyers will search for brands they like, rather than browsing listings of unknown brands. This applies to both international and Japanese brands, so you can easily sell goods you brought from overseas as well as more recent Japanese purchases you no longer want.
A good way to get an idea for the popularity and average pricing of an item you are trying to sell is to search for the item and see what other sellers are posting.
The process of selling on Mercari can be broken down into three stages.
Selling on Mercari requires a Mercari account, so the first step is to sign up to Mercari if you don’t already have one. Once you have your account, you can click the button labelled “出品”, and you will be taken to the product listing page, where you can enter in the information about your item.
The first 13 letters or characters of the title are the most important for attracting attention to your listing, so these should include the brand and model of your product. You can then make a written product description. It is important to include as much information as possible here. If the condition is anything other than “new/untouched”, you can explain why in detail. For example, with clothes:
All of this information gives the buyer a better idea of the item's condition. There are also some drop-down menu options to provide quick information on the product. These include category, condition, and brand.
You can add up to four photos to your listing. Clear, high-quality photos are best. Many sellers also include a picture from the product’s original place of purchase. For example, if you’re selling furniture from IKEA, a picture of the item from the IKEA website should be included. You can then list your location, your shipping times, and whether or not the shipping cost is included. Finally, you can price your product and press upload.
Now that your item is active, you will probably start to receive questions and comments from buyers. Some of these will be regarding further details about the product (which is why its recommended to include as much information as possible in the original listing), while others will be regarding a price cut (or 値下げ). Haggling is common on Mercari and it's fairly normal to offer a 5–10 percent reduction in price.
Once the item is purchased, there are a few different steps to cover. There are some standard messages that are expected to be sent during this time. It is not necessary to do all of these messages, but it is expected to keep up constant notification of what stage of shipping the purchase is in.
Notification of Purchase: If you have received notification of purchase but not confirmation of payment, you can send a message to thank the buyer and let them know that you will ship the item upon confirmation of payment.
Notification of Shipment: After confirmation, you can send a message so that the buyer knows you will be sending the parcel soon.
Notification of Arrival: When you have sent the product, you can send a message that it will be arriving soon.
Final Thank You: Upon notification of the customer receiving the parcel, you can send a final thank you message.
Shipping is one of the areas where Mercari really shines, as they have created a system that is very easy to navigate for both buyers and sellers. The easiest and often cheapest shipping option is “らくらくメルカリ”, which is a system where you can simply box up the item, take it to the convenience store where you provide a QR code to be scanned by the cashier, and then a label will to be printed.
You need to attach the label and you’re finished; just leave the package with the cashier. This system is easy to navigate and keeps both the seller and buyer addresses anonymous.
Here are a few additional tips for maximizing your selling potential on Mercari.
・Make sure your product description is as detailed as possible. Include all possible relevant information about the product and its condition.
・Remember that Mercari has a 10-percent handling fee. You should take this into consideration when setting your price so that it doesn’t end up as a surprise later.
・You can choose to have shipping included in the price or listed separately. However, most sellers include shipping in the item price, and if you don’t, it's possible that your item is less likely to sell. If included, make sure you have allowed for both the shipping price and Mercari’s handling fee when deciding the listing
・Customers can leave reviews based on the service they received and potential buyers can also look at your previous selling history. This means it is beneficial to maintain a good customer relationship and to be honest about the product condition, shipping times, etc.
Mercari is one of the most popular online marketplaces in Japan. It offers a great way to buy secondhand goods cheap and sell off unwanted items of your own. But there are other ways to shop and sell online in Japan. Check out our articles on How to Order and Shop on Amazon Japan and How to Donate and Sell Used Clothing and Furniture in Japan.
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