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 20 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 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.
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:
Ship with Mercari or ship on your own;
Offer free shipping or charge shipping; and
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 and eBay fees are nearly identical, but there are many factors that affect selling fees on eBay.
The short explanation is: both eBay fees and Mercari fees are roughly 13 percent.
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 fees are approximately 13 percent; that is a ten percent commission and processing fees (in the amount of 2.9% plus $0.30).
Overall, the fees are comparable, but you might have more fees on eBay depending on your store subscription and optional promotion settings.
Mercari Return Policy vs. eBay Return Policy
Both Mercari and eBay are known as being “buyer-friendly” and most commonly resolving disputes in favor of the buyer, even when the buyer is “wrong.”
Mercari does not allow for returns unless an item is not sent, the wrong item is sent, or the item is not as described. However, an unhappy buyer can choose to open a claim for any reason, and Mercari support routinely resolves situations favorably for buyers, even when they violate their own return policy in doing so.
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!