Comparing Selling on Mercari vs eBay

Marketplaces 101
Comparing Selling on Mercari vs eBay

eBay and Mercari are very similar online marketplaces with comparable top-selling categories. However, they are very different in consideration of audience, seller tools, and store management. 


Mercari is far simpler than eBay, however the complexities of eBay are tools that allow for more options and enhanced visibility of your listings. 


As a seller on both platforms, here is my comparison of Mercari vs. eBay, and the benefits and downsides of each:


Mercari & eBay Audiences 


eBay is the largest and most lucrative online reselling marketplace with 159 million users worldwide. Of those, 61% of eBay users are 35-64 years old, a more mature audience than many other popular marketplaces. eBay is likely the “best” place to sell with the largest audience and broadest range of what you can sell.

In a very recent press report, Mercari reports having over 23 million monthly active users. On Mercari, you can sell just about anything, so long as it can be shipped.


You may also be interested in the article: Poshmark Vs. Mercari: Benefits and Downsides of Each Platform

What to Sell on Mercari vs. What to Sell on eBay


eBay and Mercari selling categories are very similar. On both, you can sell almost anything, so long as it is not illegal or hazardous. 


On eBay, you can sell a very broad range of categories including vehicles and real estate. Top-selling categories on eBay include jewelry and watches, electronics (computers, tablets, phones, cameras, video game consoles, games, and accessories), clothing and apparel, and health and beauty products.

Mercari has a similar, but slightly broader range of categories. With the introduction of Mercari local, Mercari has been able to expand its categories to allow for local sale of larger items (via Uber as a delivery service). 


Mercari does not publish top-selling category information, but many articles across the internet suggest that electronics, apparel, and home decor are great categories to sell on Mercari (just like eBay). 


The top-selling categories are similar on both platforms, so it is great to cross-list your items to both of them with Vendoo!


This article may also interest you: 10 Great Marketplaces Every Reseller Should Consider

Listing Process 


Listing an item for sale on Mercari is quite simple, and on eBay it is not (at all) but remember that eBay’s audience is approximately eight times larger, so it is worth your time to fill in all listing details.


Selling on Mercari is super easy.  On Mercari, you can include up to 12 images. Mercari allows up to 80 characters in your listing title. On Mercari, your description is important as each and every character is searchable in the Mercari search engine, providing optimal SEO. Then, you click a few drop-boxes for brand, condition, size, shipping, enter a price, and list! 


Mercari provides smart pricing where you can select a starting baseline price, and Mercari gradually decreases the price over a few days, promoting the item at each price drop until it reaches the reserve. 


The eBay listing process is by far the most tedious, with so many drop-downs and options. On eBay, you can include up to 12 images and a listing video. eBay allows up to 80 characters in the title. 


In addition to the required brand, condition, and size item details, eBay listings have a ton of optional item specifics. They’re not really optional, though, as they are required if you really want to maximize exposure and make sales. 


eBay’s description box is not searchable via the search field on eBay, meaning that anything you type in your description will not yield in buyer searches. Instead, the item specifics are the best way to maximize searchability. 


Ebay also has selections in the listing field for payment preferences, shipping preferences, and return preferences; collectively eBay business policies. You can establish your business policies in your eBay Seller Hub to make for faster listing. 


There are other drop-downs related to promotions (recommended) to advertise and promote your eBay listings, as well as volume pricing (the equivalent of a “bundle discount”). You can also choose your pricing style, buy it now or auction, and set a reserve price. While the tedious listing process and many options can be intimidating, they are all opportunities to enhance your listing and searchability to eBay’s astronomical audience: they are valuable seller tools that far exceed those provided on other marketplaces. 


Did you know that eBay offers multi-quantity and multi-variation listings? In contrast, Mercari does not allow for either; instead, you will need to create duplicate listings for items of various quantities and variations. 


Sell on Multiple Marketplaces

Managing Mercari vs. Managing your eBay


One of the best tips I can provide for both eBay and Mercari is to be consistent with daily listings. Like most platforms, listing new items daily is the best way to increase visibility and make more sales. Of course, this can be quickly accomplished in bulk with Vendoo’s delist and relist feature.


In addition, take advantage of the tools provided by each platform to enhance visibility. 


 eBay is a beast, with so many tools and features; among them, (paid) promoting listings, coupons, bulk price adjustment, offers to likers, store sales, and so many more. Many of these require an eBay store, which I highly recommend for the best seller experience. Your eBay listings also renew monthly, refreshing them in the search feed.


Learn more about how to manage your eBay store and make more sales in this article


Mercari is more of a “list it and leave it” marketplace. Which is easier but unfortunately does not optimize your ability to make sales. In addition to smart pricing, Mercari also has offers to likers, and the ability to periodically promote your listings (free) with subtle price decreases to notify all likers. These tools are not vast nor comprehensive, and you are truly better off manually “refreshing” your listings by relisting them once they are stale. 

How to Ship on Mercari vs. How to Ship on eBay.


Both Mercari and eBay offer many shipping options for sellers. eBay is superior as it allows for you to offer various options on the same item, allowing the buyer to choose. Similarly, eBay offers global shipping whereas Mercari does not.  


On Mercari, sellers have a few options for shipping. When listing, you must select whether to:


  1. Ship with Mercari or ship on your own;

  2. Offer free shipping or charge shipping; and

  3. Use USPS, FedEx, or UPS.


Each Mercari listing has a shipping section for this information.  If you elect to ship with Mercari, they will provide you with a label upon sale via email. However, the weight and dimensions of the item in packaging are required at the time of listing. Electing to ship on your own requires purchasing your own shipping label and providing Mercari with the tracking information for the package.


You have the choice to offer free shipping (pay it yourself) or charge your buyers. You can also select the shipping carrier whom you are most comfortable with based upon your items, location, and business preferences. 


eBay Shipping Options 


eBay has so many shipping options with so many ways to send items to your buyers. Plus, you can offer multiple delivery options (on the same item), to attract and accommodate different types of buyers.


To protect yourself against "Item not received" claims, you need to use a shipping carrier that is integrated with eBay including USPS, FedEx, and UPS (but also eBay shipping services, DHL, OnTrac, Lasership, Spee-Dee Delivery, and Lonestar.


Did you know that on eBay you can choose to exclude specific shipping locations from all your listings in your Seller Hub?   


On eBay, you can also offer free shipping or charge shipping, and this applies to shipping as well as returns. Most commonly, sellers elect to provide calculated shipping, where the buyer pays calculated shipping based upon their shipping location, their choice of carrier, and the weight and dimensions of the order (that you provide at the time of listing). Under this model, you will be paid for the item and shipping collectively at the time of the transaction, and then you will be prompted to purchase an eBay label to download and affix to your package.  


Learn more about which eBay shipping option is right for you and how to establish your shipping preferences here


Mercari Fees vs. eBay Fees 


Mercari fees are simple (there are none) and eBay fees are quite complex (they vary). Let’s explore fees on both marketplaces:


The short explanation is: eBay fees are roughly 13% and Mercari has no fees (except $2 flat fee to transfer your funds to your bank account). 


eBay offers competitive selling fees. Here is an overview of fees, credits, and invoices on eBay. eBay’s selling fees are dependent upon your membership, your store status (subscription), the item, and the payment method, but they might include an insertion fee, a final value fee, and any elective promotional fees


Insertion fees are synonymous with “listing fees”. When you sign up for eBay, you will receive an allocation of “zero insertion fee listings” per month; for basic users (without a store subscription), you can list up to 250 free items each month.


Final Value Fees are simply the fees that you pay at the time of sale and are dependent on the item, the sale price, the shipping service, and the sales tax. Final value fees are approximately 12.9 percent (for most categories), but do vary. Here is a chart that illustrates the final value fees associated with different categories of items. 


Promotional fees apply if you promote your eBay listings. If you choose to pay for extra exposure, eBay provides sellers with promotional opportunities such as adding a subtitle to your listing and listing an item in multiple categories. You can promote all of your listings and will only actually have to pay the extra promoted listing fee if the item sells as a direct result of the promotion. 


Mercari Fees: How Much Does Mercari Take?


Mercari has no seller fees. As a seller, you keep $100% of your sale price, until and unless you want to transfer your balance to your bank account, which is a $2 flat transfer fee.


You might wonder, how can that be- how does Mercari make money? Rather than charging the seller, Mercari charges the buyer a service fee and processing fee at the time of purchase. 


Overall, eBay fees are great in comparison with some other marketplaces, but Mercari fees are the lowest for sellers. 


Mercari Return Policy vs. eBay Return Policy


Both Mercari and eBay are very “buyer-friendly” and most commonly resolving disputes in favor of the buyer, even when the buyer is “wrong.”


On Mercari, returns are allowed for any reason, including that a buyer simply changed their mind or something does not fit. A buyer must request a return within 72 hours of delivery and prior to rating the seller as this “completes” the purchase. To request a return, a buyer must initiate a formal case and submit photographic evidence to support their claim. If approved, nominal purchases will be refunded in the purchase amount as credits. For larger value purchases, buyers will be provided a free return label (paid for at Mercari’s expense). Once the item is returned, and the seller can ensure it was returned in the same condition, the buyer will be refunded via credits or to their original payment method. For more information about Mercari’s return policy, click here


While eBay does not as explicitly require sellers to offer returns for any reason… in essence, the way they handle disputes is very similar. Let’s just say that if a buyer wants a return on eBay, they will probably get it. 


On eBay, you can choose your own return policy, and even the return period and who pays for the return shipping. However, your personal return policy does not hold up to eBay’s buyer protection, and you’re likely to be forced to accept returns regardless of your individual policy.


I Recommend That You Offer Free Returns on eBay 


Resellers hate the word “return,” but it's part of the business. Truly,  if your buyers want to return an item, they’re going to. They will open up an “INAD” (item not as described return claim) and eBay will likely side with the buyer. Yes- even if your item is exactly as described, the eBay buyer is always right. You are highly unlikely to “win” a case on eBay. When a buyer successfully opens an INAD case, you will be required to pay the return shipping. So, if you don’t offer free returns, this is the mechanism buyers will use to go around your policies. 

Further, having an INAD case resolved unfavorably can truly jeopardize your eBay account, decrease your promotion, and even increase your fees. 

When a buyer successfully opens an INAD claim, you will have to accept the return, pay the return shipping, and you have an infraction on your account. So, you might as well offer free returns, because either way a determined buyer will force one upon you. This is an inevitable part of selling on eBay. On the plus side, most buyers want what they’re buying, and returns aren’t as common as you might fear


Overall, Mercari is a smaller, simpler version of eBay, with similar top-selling categories but a fraction of the audience and seller tools. eBay is an infinitely larger platform with a vast number of tools for sellers. 


Why choose just one? Sign up for Vendoo and cross-list all of your items to both to maximize your audience and make more sales!


Have you sold on these two platforms? If so, which one do you like the most? Tell us below!

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