Amazon, Alibaba, and Walmart are among the top destinations in online shopping. Although their legitimacy is no longer in doubt, it is not always the case when it comes to delivery and quality of service due to the high number of consumers around the globe.
And it is for this reason that some consumers prefer smaller brands like Mercari. However, this might be the first time that you are hearing about them, and you are a little hesitant whether the website is not trying to scam. And if you are having these doubts, then the review prepared for today will shed light on the subject.
In this article, you will gain insights about the specifications of Mercari and learn whether they are worth your while or if you should stick with the brand.
Product Overview: Mercari
Mercari is an online marketplace similar to Amazon or Alibaba. It is a three-party format that includes the buyer, seller, and middle-man which is Mercari. Therefore, you don't have the capacity to inspect the products after you have paid for them and received them, which is not the same as Adidas or Nike, which owns the actual merchandise.
As you see, the challenges for Mercari are basically the same as for any other digital merchant. The concern still remains even if they have a special method to authenticate the legitimacy of the seller since a few documents won't provide absolute proof of the product's quality.
The main headquarters of Mercari is in Japan, and it was founded by Shintaro Yamada in February 2013. In the following year, they opened a branch in San Francisco and another one in London in 2016. There is a good reason why you might be hearing about them just now, and this is because they are mainly focusing on the Japanese market despite having their platform available around the globe through their online portal.
They also released a mobile application for both Android and iOS in July of the same year. Unfortunately, the mobile application is only available in countries that include Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
How Mercari Works?
If you are a frequent user of popular online marketplaces, then you would feel at home with the user interface of Mercari. But instead of flashing you with recommended products right off the bat, Mercari's landing page provides you with a list of categories to help you find the products you are looking for.
As a seller, using the Mercari is pretty much self-explanatory. You type the name of the products on the search box, or you can click on the specific category to browse for the list of products you are planning to buy. The main categories of Mercari are as follows:
- Vintage & Collectibles
- Sports & Outdoors
However, you will need to put in work and marketing efforts as a seller. Below is the summary of the process of selling products on Mercari's marketplace:
- First Step: Register and set your profile
- Second Step: You have to take high-resolution photos of your products
- Third Step: Write optimized descriptions of the products to improve your visibility
- Fourth Step: Provide price listings of the products that are competitive
- Fifth Step: Decide on your primary delivery options
- Sixth Step: The last step is to actively promote your products through the platform
What Are the Fees Involved in Using Mercari?
As a seller, the only thing that you have to settle is the price for the products you are planning to buy. Furthermore, the shipping fees are shouldered by the seller, and they vary depending on the delivery address.
However, there are several charges for the buyer in using their platform to promote and sell products. For example, Mercari will charge you a minimum of 10% service for every successful order. Then, they will also charge you for processing fees or the cost of handling customer payments, which is 2.9%, and an additional $0.50.
Thus, if you sell $100, then they will charge you $3.4 to process the payment. Lastly, you also have to note that there is a withdrawal fee of $3 per transaction.
What makes Mercari undesirable is they also charge cancellation fees which is not present in using popular brands like Amazon or eBay. If the products do not meet your expectations or you have suddenly changed your mind during the preparation and shipment process, then they will penalize you for the cancellation or returns, which is 5% of the cost of the product.
The cancellation fee is capped at $25. As you see, you have to be very careful when buying in Mercari and think twice before you commit to the purchase.
Is Mercari Legitimate?
Yes. Mercari is a legitimate online marketplace. Here are the reasons why this is the case:
- Mercari has been in business since 2013, and they received several awards in the past few years among Google Play's "Top Shopping Apps" for 2013, awardee of the 2016 Japan-US Innovation Award Symposium, and received the "best commercial" award for "The Bride" during the LA Film Event in 2017.
- The mobile application of Mercari was downloaded about 100 million times from the UK, US, and Japanese markets.
- As of 2022, they have 20 million active users and the company earned approximately $6.7 million in the same year.
- The finances of Mercari are backed up by investors that include Global Brain Corporation, Itochu Technology Ventures, and World Innovation Laboratory.
What are the Potential Risks of Mercari?
Like in any online marketplace, the risk of exposing your personal information is at risk if you are not careful. Some of the potential risks of using Mercari are as follows:
- Fake profiles which scammers use to sell bogus products and gain profits from the modus operandi. Although they have a verification process, the documentation they require is not sufficient to fully verify the credentials of the seller, and identifying their legitimacy may rest upon the buyer, which includes checking the store ratings and reviews.
- Once you provide them with your contacts, you also expose yourself to phishing, which marketers use to send spam emails or, worse, gather sensitive information like bank accounts or social security numbers.
- It is also risky to the seller in the sense that the buyer may attempt to make a false return. For example, they will request a payment, but the buyer will not return the items even after receiving the refund.
- In the case of cash-on-delivery, there is also a risk that the buyer will not provide any payment or the shipper may not deliver the products at all.
How to Avoid Scams in Mercari?
The good news is you can avoid the possibility of a scam by following the tips provided below:
- First and foremost, you have to check the store's ratings and reviews. Furthermore, you also have to check the number of people who bought products from the store. This is because if there are only a few of them, then it is likely that they planted them to appear legit.
- Ensure that the seller's store is verified
- You may also have to check the store's badges to ensure their credibility
- Never send payment outside of Mercari's platform
- Remember that if the price of the product is "too good to be true," then it's likely that the product is a scam. Thus, never settle if the products appear to be too cheap.
- For the seller, you have to provide clear photos and detailed descriptions of the products. This is important so the buyer won't have excuses if the features of items do not meet their expectation.
- The seller may also choose either prepaid label or purchase insurance whenever they are transacting with buyers. Prepaid labels guarantee the seller when the products are lost or damaged during transit or when they are unpaid.
Mercari is a legitimate online marketplace according to its year of existence, finance backups, and number of users over the years. However, one thing that you have to note about Mercari is they have a cancellation fee that will cost you 5% of the product's original store price, excluding delivery fees.
In any case, it is a good overall platform to engage in and an alternative to big companies like Amazon and eBay in the sense that the platform is not saturated, which means that the quality of the packaging and shipment is somehow ensured.