Where Should You Be Selling in 2024? Mercari vs. eBay

Marketplaces 101
Where Should You Be Selling in 2024? Mercari vs. eBay

Should you be selling on Mercari, eBay or both? What are Mercari's fees vs. eBay's? As online marketplaces continue to grow, it's important to decide where you should be selling your products in 2024. Two of the most prominent players in this space are Mercari and eBay. Both provide sellers with a wide range of features, but which one is right for you?


Mercari is a popular mobile-first marketplace based in Japan, which has expanded to the US market. Mercari is known for its simplicity and user-friendly interface, making it easy to list and sell items quickly. Although the app doesn't provide as many selling features as eBay, users appreciate its straightforward listing process and transparent fees. Mercari reported they had reached over 20 million monthly active users.


On the other hand, eBay has become the go-to e-commerce platform for millions of customers across the world. With 159 million users worldwide and intuitive features, eBay really takes e-commerce to an entirely new level. With eBay's online stores, sellers can easily manage their sales and gain a greater reach into the customer base compared to traditional brick-and-mortar stores. eBay also provides tools and customer support options that are much more comprehensive than most other e-commerce sites, allowing sellers to easily grow their business with less effort.


So, is Mercari better than eBay? Or vice versa? As a seller on both platforms, let's discuss the pros and cons of each:


Mercari vs. eBay: Quick Side-by-Side Comparison



  • Ease: Mercari boasts a simpler, quicker listing process with fewer required fields. Setting up your seller account is also a breeze. eBay, however, demands more information and steps for product listing and store setup, requiring more investment upfront.


  • Location: Mercari is limited to the US and Japan, while eBay operates globally in over 100 countries. This gives eBay a significant reach advantage.
  • Customer base: Mercari has 15 million users, compared to eBay's 182 million. eBay offers a much larger potential buyer pool.


  • Customer service: Mercari offers a help center online but lacks phone support. eBay provides both a help center and a phone number for direct assistance.


  • Policy: Mercari sales are final unless the item is misrepresented. eBay provides more flexibility, allowing buyers to request returns for various reasons, subject to merchant approval.

Choosing the Right Platform:

  • For quick and easy selling with lower upfront costs: Mercari might be ideal, especially for US-based sellers.
  • For broader reach, larger potential customer base, and more sophisticated selling features: eBay may be the better choice, especially for international sellers or those dealing with specialized items.



Mercari vs. eBay In-Depth Review


Listing Fees on Mercari vs. eBay


While the fees on eBay and Mercari may be similar, that is where the likeness tends to end. Both of these selling platforms come with a 13% selling fee.


Mercari Fees

For those looking to get the best value for their online selling, Mercari offers unparalleled rate transparency. Simply put, Mercari charges a flat 13 percent total on all purchases and sales, with ten percent commission and payment processing fees of 2.9% plus $.30 per transaction. Best of all, listing on Mercari is absolutely free with no restrictions in terms of the size or scope of your shop.


eBay Fees

eBay's fees can be an overwhelming aspect to navigate for some, but understanding the details of their fees structure is essential for sellers. Depending on the level of eBay membership, subscription to a store and promotion method chosen, sellers may need to factor in insertion and final value fees. Additionally, those wishing to take advantage of any promotional features will also incur additional fees, although these are optional and help support marketing campaigns.


1. Insertion Fee

The insertion fee is just another word for "listing fees". For sellers without a store subscription, you are able to list up to 250 items per month at no cost. This is an attractive way for novice eBay sellers to dip their toes into e-commerce without worrying about paying extra fees.


2. Final Value Fee

If you’re selling on eBay, understanding final value fees is important. These fees account for 12.9 percent of the sale price of most items and are flexible based on the category of item, the sale price, shipping service, and sales tax associated with it. In other words, your final value fees can vary from item to item, so it’s helpful to have a reference like the chart provided in order to understand the fees you may encounter when selling on eBay.


3. Promotional Fee

Promoting your eBay listings is a great way to gain more exposure and potentially increase sales. When you opt to promote your item, eBay offers various promotional opportunities such as adding a subtitle or listing the item in multiple categories. What’s even better is that promotional fees only apply if the item is sold as a result of these promotions.


For a full breakdown check out this article: eBay Fee Calculator: How Much Does eBay Take & How to Save


Return Policy on Mercari vs. eBay


Despite the considerable discrepancies of their return policies, both eBay and Mercari prioritize customer satisfaction.


Mercari's Policy

Mercari has a simple return policy that covers buyers who have not received the item, received the wrong item, or received a damaged item. The two major pros about Mercari's return policy are:


  1. The buyer has up to three days to return an item. As a seller, I want to sell an item and move on without having any lingering concerns that my buyer may request a return long after the purchase.

  2. Mercari pays for the return shipping.


Although they cannot return items for any reason, Mercari often goes above and beyond what is formally written in their policy. In situations when buyers are unsatisfied with their purchase, mercari opens up a claim and typically resolves it in favor of the buyer, even if it would have technically been against their own policies.


eBay's Policy

Selling on eBay is a great option for entrepreneurs, but there is a liability of buyer protection that comes along with it. As a seller, you can set your own individual return policy - from who pays for the return shipping to even the length of the return period. Although this might seem like a great idea that would give you control over your sales, remember that it does not supersede eBay's buyer protection policy. Essentially, all returns within reason must be accepted in full compliance with eBay's rules, regardless of what you have specifically set up yourself.


Item Not As Described (INAD)

If a buyer truly wants to return an item, they have up to 30 days to file for an INAD case to override whatever return policy you have. There is a 99 percent chance that eBay will automatically approve the return (without your consent), even if your item is exactly as described. To put salt on the wound, losing the INAD case will require you to pay for the return shipping.


Every eBay seller must learn to accept the fact that buyers have the option to open an INAD claim, making returns inevitable. This can be a burden, as you effectively face two distinct outcomes: either absorb the cost of free returns or pay for return shipping when a buyer successfully opens a claim.




Shipping on Mercari vs. eBay


Both selling platforms have multiple options for shipping: eBay offers international shipping, and Mercari offers local delivery.


eBay Shipping

Selling on eBay is an attractive e-commerce option for many sellers because of its flexibility when it comes to shipping. Whether you decide to offer free or chargeable shipping, you can choose from a variety of options. Calculated shipping allows buyers to pay a fee based on their chosen delivery method, location, and the order’s weight and dimensions.


This is the list of carriers that eBay has partnered with:

  • USPS

  • UPS

  • FedEx

  • DHL

  • OnTrac

  • Lasership

  • Spee-Dee Delivery


eBay also offers global shipping services too. With this, sellers can open up their business to an international audience and further expand the reach of their customer base. Shipping globally has never been easier with eBay! All you have to do is ship your items to their warehouse in Kentucky and they'll handle the rest - quick, easy, and hassle-free.


Mercari Shipping

In comparison, Mercari does not have eBay's international shipping benefit. However, with Mercari, you can have the convenience of an online marketplace combined with the familiarity and speed of local delivery – like a Doordash for shopping! From computers to sofas, you can get it delivered through Mercari Local! Their delivery fees are also surprisingly low - get your goods delivered from nearby vendors in no time.


uber fedex dolly shipping

(source: Mercari) Local delivery rate table


This is the list of carriers that Mercari has partnered with:

  • USPS

  • UPS

  • FedEx

  • Uber

  • Dolly


Mercari offers two options for nationwide shipping with a hefty price tag.


1. Standard shipping: this has your typical 2-7 business days delivery timeframe


mercari shipping rates

(source: Mercari) Standard shipping rate table

2. Economy: Slow time frame with 12+ business days

mercari shipping rates

(source: Mercari) Economy shipping rate table


Shipping can be a deal breaker for many online purchases over one pound. Mercari customers expect free shipping, and if the cost of shipping is too high, most will choose to shop elsewhere. For Mercari sellers, it is important to stay competitive by offering reasonable prices and/or free shipping.


Listing Process


Posting an item for sale on Mercari is very straightforward, while creating a listing on eBay requires more effort. However, the number of potential buyers on eBay is substantially higher - approximately eight times larger than Mercari! So, it's definitely worth taking the time to complete all of the listing details for your item on eBay. Plus, once you get the hang of it, it will be easier next time.


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Mercari's Listing Process

Listing an item on the mercari app is a simple and quick process. Just take some pictures (up to 12 images), fill in a few details, and you are ready to list your items.


Mercari provides two promotional features called Smart Pricing and Smart Offers that could potentially attract buyers and save time.


1. Smart Pricing

"The Smart Pricing feature continuously updates the listing price until it hits the floor price or the item gets sold. Listings are promoted and exposed to potential buyers for every price update." - Mercari


Although in theory, this feature can help you promote your item where it gets bumped up to the search page whenever the price drops - there are numerous complaints from sellers that the price drops way too soon. Also, it does not prevent customers from sending an offer on an already discounted item. Hence, this feature was born:


2. Smart Offers

Mercari's new Smart Offers allows sellers to quickly and easily set a minimum price for their listing. When an offer arrives, Mercari will either accept it as is or send a one-time counteroffer within a predetermined range for the seller. Say goodbye to hours of negotiation and back-and-forth – Mercari takes the hassle out of haggling and ensures that you get the fair price you deserve.


Ebay's Listing Process

Overwhelming is an understatement when describing eBay's listing process. Creating a listing is a long and daunting process if you’re not used to the platform. Going through all of the drop-downs and choosing the right options for your items can take some trial and error, but it’s well worth your time. You can upload up to 24 images per listing, as well as include a video if you like, so there’s plenty of room to highlight all of the features your item has to offer. Furthermore, being strategic with your titles is key, since eBay only allows 80 characters; using keywords that are most relevant to potential buyers will help you increase visibility!


1. Auction or Buy It Now

Did you know that eBay started as an auction website back in the 90s?


"In an auction-style listing, sellers name a starting price and you bid against other buyers. When the listing ends, the highest bidder wins the auction and pays for the item." - eBay


Although, the auction-style listing is not as popular compared to the good old days but it is still being used primarily by antique sellers.


eBay's Buy It Now feature is the simplest way to price your item quickly and efficiently.


2. Promotions & Volume Pricing

Promoting your item on eBay can be a great way to drive visibility and sales. eBay's easy-to-use ad platform allows users to pay for promotions at a low cost - with rates starting at only 2%. You only need to pay this fee when your item sells.


eBay makes it easier than ever for sellers to incentivize their customers to purchase in bulk. With volume pricing, eBay encourages sellers to offer discounts when customers buy multiple of the same item making it an affordable and desirable option. This can help eBay sellers grow their businesses as they gain more sales and customers due to the attractive discounts on higher quantities.


ebay listing

(source: eBay)


You might also be interested in 10 Great Marketplaces Every Reseller Should Consider


Overall, selling on Mercari is great for sellers looking to branch out from eBay. It offers much of the same in terms of top-selling categories but with significantly fewer audience numbers and seller tools. For those who aren't quite ready to dive into eBay's larger, feature-filled universe, Mercari provides an easy-to-use alternative that can help get their feet wet in e-commerce. With features like Smart Pricing and Smart Offers, Mercari gives sellers the tools they need to be successful. However, eBay is still the top dog when it comes to list of features and expansive audience.


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