Mercari’s primary focus is moving used and new merchandise quickly and efficiently through a photo-centric sales marketplace. Since setup is simple and everything is manageable through a mobile device, Mercari is well suited for starting a side hustle. And there are no restrictions on item quality on Mercari, which makes it a useful space to move old, outdated or outgrown merchandise.
Getting started on Mercari only takes a few minutes. You’ll need a mobile device handy to verify your account.
Click Sell on Mercari.
Click Sign up.
Choose whether to continue through your Facebook account or via email.
Enter a username, email and password. Click Next.
Verify your account using a phone number.
Create a product listing by uploading images and indicating:
Your ZIP code
How much does it cost to use Mercari?
Just as Mercari tries to make it as easy as possible concerning the variety of things you can sell, Mercari also makes it easy when it comes to fees. Mercari charges a flat 10% fee on all sales, and there is no charge to list items.
Let’s crunch the numbers
Sofia recently graduated from college and is looking to downsize before moving across the country for a new job. She decides to list three items on Mercari: a bed for $200, a dresser for $50 and a lamp for $25, all with shipping included.
Here are the fees that Sofia pays:
Total fee based on purchase
In total, Sofia loses $27.50 on her $275 sale – exactly 10%. Her total net profit is $247.50 since she charged the buyer for shipping.
Is selling on Mercari worth it?
Selling on Mercari is worth it if you want to offload unused items around your house or resell vintage items for a small profit. But if your goal is to set up and sustain a long-term business, consider using a platform like Shopify, BigCommerce or Ebay instead.
Think about selling on Mercari through two lenses:
Selling what you already have
No cost to you. It’s free to create an account and list products.
Time is your only investment. If you enjoy taking photos, writing descriptions and posting items to the app, it’s a win-win.
Buying items to sell them
Reading the market. Buying items to resell can be profitable, but you’ll need to understand your customer base to actually generate sales.
Managing overhead. Make sure your profit margins are viable, and that you’re not spending more than you’ll actually make.
Hidden costs. Using Mercari to start a business may require you to buy extra products, such as a label printer to stay on top of shipping, quality packing tape to secure boxes and a scale to weigh packages.
Shopify is a hosted e-commerce platform that specializes in digital stores while also offering in-person point-of-sale (POS) systems, shopping cart software and an expansive library of third-party app integrations. Because it’s fully managed by Shopify, you don’t need a server, IT team or dev experience to get started. And while it caters to online merchants, its in-person POS systems provide processing options for brick-and-mortar businesses.
A core principle of Mercari is that you can sell nearly anything, but they pride themselves on helping their buyers find name brand items for a heavy discount. Sellers on Mercari can list a variety of items, including the following:
Sweats and hoodies
Coats and jackets
Kitchen and dining
Storage and organization
Bath and body
Games and puzzles
Remote control toys
Bags and purses
Computers and laptops
Tablet and e-readers
Video games and consoles
Speakers and audio
Bags and purses
Essentially, the only items prohibited on Mercari are the items that are prohibited everywhere, such as firearms, illegal items, drugs and the like. For a full list of prohibited items, please refer to the Mercari help center.
How to price your items
Mercari is all about moving items fast, so keep this in mind while pricing your items. Mercari enforces a minimum price of $5 and a maximum of $2,000. Here are some key tips to help you decide on how to price your items:
Price competitively. Before listing an item, search the Mercari marketplace for similar items. Set your prices based on what you find, paying close attention to item quality.
Seasons, seasons, seasons. Different items are more popular during different seasons. Don’t expect to sell a swimsuit for peak price in the middle of winter. Instead, save that item and sell it during the beginning of summer.
Track your prices. If an item isn’t moving within a few days of listing, perhaps shift your prices accordingly. This is especially true for items that face a lot of competition on the Mercari marketplace.
Hot tip: Bundle items together to help them move faster, especially when trying to move a lot of low-priced items quickly.
What type of payment does Mercari accept?
Mercari accepts all many standard payment options:
Major credit cards (Discover, Visa, Mastercard and American Express)
Sellers have guaranteed options when it comes to getting paid by Mercari as long as the seller follows these specific guidelines:
Ship your item as described in the original post. Disclose all relevant details and be sure the buyer receives what they are expecting. This includes information on condition, flaws, color, size and accurate photos of the item.
Ship within three business days. Confirm shipment with a tracking number through the app or website.
Follow the terms and conditions. Don’t sell any prohibited items, stolen items, counterfeit items and the like. Read the terms and conditions before getting started.
Guaranteed payouts will be made through one of two ways: instant pay or direct deposit.
Get paid within minutes
Get paid within 2-5 business days
Deposits your balance to a debit card
Deposits your balance to your checking account
$2 fee for cash-out
Free if over $10, otherwise a $2 fee.
Cash-out maximum $500 per month
No monthly maximum cash-out
How to get paid by international buyers
Unfortunately, at this time, Mercari forbids international sales. You can only ship to the United States.
How to ship items on Mercari
Ship packages within three days to abide by Mercari standards. Sellers can decide to pay for shipping or pass the cost onto their buyers. Either way, sellers have two options to choose from when shipping:
Shipping items yourself. You can opt to ship items yourself by buying your own boxes, shipping labels and insurance. However, Mercari requires that you get a tracking number. If you’re selling a lot of products, shipping platforms like ShippingEasy and ShipStation can help you stay organized and save money.
Shipping through Mercari. This may be the easiest option, especially for sellers who want less hassle with shipments. Mercari offers a wide array of shipping options for items large and small.
Mercari’s shipping options:
UPS (Mercari Pack and Ship — includes box, packaging and shipping costs)
Since Mercari is all about selling items fast and constantly shifting your inventory, traditional marketing methods aren’t highly recommended here. Practices like paid ads, social media campaigns and the like won’t be as effective here. Here are some ways to advertise your Mercari items for free:
Post about it on social media. When you have a new item for sale, share it on social media with a link to your item. Don’t do this too often though since you don’t want to overload your friends’ feeds.
Promote your item on Mercari. Sellers can promote an item to help boost sales by lowering the price of the item for special buyers who have “liked” the item in the past week. This price reduction is by 10% for people who have “liked” the item or 5% if you want the promotion to be for everyone.
Offer free shipping. Buyers tend to gravitate towards items offering free shipping on most online marketplaces, including Mercari. Take advantage of this to boost your sales.
What to watch out for when selling with Mercari
Selling on Mercari can be a great opportunity, but there are still potential risks to be aware of:
Time management. You’ll have to manage the customer service side of your business efficiently, answering questions, dealing with complaints and navigating tricky situations regarding items.
Shipping fees. Mercari only charges 10% to sell through their marketplace, but shipping costs can quickly stack up. Even if you sell something locally, you have to ship the item to get paid through Mercari.
Saturated market. Since it is free to list, there is no barrier to entry, meaning that everyone can spam-post items with no investment aside from time. Taking high-quality photos and writing concrete descriptions can help you rise above the noise of the market.
Pay comes after item delivery. You won’t get paid until the buyer has received the item and verified it is what they ordered. It is important to factor this delay, in addition to the time of a bank transfer, into your overhead costs.
No international market. Shipping is limited to the United States.
Taxes. You’ll be earning freelance income when selling through Mercari, which carries its own set of tax burdens you may not be expecting.
A lot of these pitfalls are avoidable by reading up on Mercari before selling to make sure you understand tax implications, selling timelines and shipping conditions.
Compare e-commerce platforms
If you want to be able to sell on more than just Overstock, an e-commerce platform can help you build your own store and sell through multiple channels.
Mercari is a useful tool for selling your old clothes are starting a side hustle. But if you plan to become a full-time online merchant, you’ll likely be better off comparing e-commerce platforms and setting up your own store so that you can sell through multiple channels.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. You can block a user by clicking on their user photo, going to their profile page and clicking “block user” from the drop-down list in the top-right corner of the screen.
Mercari takes brands very seriously, and users caught selling knockoff brands will face a ban.
Mercari ratings reflect personal experiences and a user’s own experiences; therefore, Mercari is unable to modify ratings. Receiving one poor rating isn’t the end to your Mercari selling career, but make sure you address the problems the review brings up and work hard to please your next buyer.
Don’t worry, the Mercari system will create a five-star auto-rating three days after confirmed delivery. Auto-ratings will count toward your total rating, so you aren’t punished when someone forgets to rate you. Auto-ratings look like this:
A buyer has three days after confirmed delivery to request a return, based on the following:
Item not as described in listing
Item is potentially counterfeit
Item is prohibited
Item is defective
Wrong item received
Approved returns will ship back to the seller using a prepaid shipping label. Refunds return to the buyer’s original form of payment. However, if the buyer is not in good standing, Mercari may deny the request to return an item.
Zak Killermann is a writer at Finder. He’s ghostwritten hundreds of articles on fintech, finding his love for publication at St. Cloud State University. Traveling internationally for nearly half his life — and getting burned once by an OTC money exchange — Zak's vowed not to settle for anything short of the mid-market rate again.
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