Update: Mercari has announced they will be postponing their transition to a 10% fee environment until November 21, 2016. This is their formal statement emailed to all subscribers/users. (Note that all comments below still remain true, just delayed one month.)
This past week, Mercari officially announced it was ending its 0% fee beta trial and moving into a fee-based model. Below is the announcement all Mercari users received:
By comparison, the 10% fee Mercari is charging is fairly standard — eBay charges 10% for sellers without store subscriptions and Tradesy charges 9%. (Though note that Mercari doesn’t charge a fee for withdrawals whereas eBay sellers get hit with PayPal’s 2.9% + $0.30.)
The problem Mercari sellers now face is this:
Previously, the best reason to use Mercari was the fee-less experience. With the addition of industry-standard fees, why would anyone now choose to sell on Mercari over another marketplace?
There are two potential reasons why you may choose to continue selling on Mercari.
Reason 1: Increased exposure
In Part 1 of our four-part How to Create Powerful Listings series, I discussed how the goal of sellers should be to get as many people to see their listings as possible. One way of doing that is to post the same item on multiple marketplaces.
If you have a pair of True Religion Brand Jeans listed on eBay, why not list them on Mercari, too? While you won’t still have that awesome 0% fee environment, you do still have increased exposure at the same fee level as eBay.
Reason 2: Improved customer service (supposedly)
It was understandable that Mercari’s customer service was sub-par during their fee-free beta period — customer service costs money and they weren’t making any. Now with money coming in, Mercari claims they’ll improve the user experience, specifically calling out improved customer service.
Do I believe them? Yeah, I think the user experience will improve. It sort of has to, doesn’t it? It may not be great, and how great they can make that experience will go a long way towards determining whether they retain most of their current users, but I have a hard time imagining it doesn’t improve. If the selling experience does become safer, more secure, and easier, then you may not mind paying that standard 10% fee.
Bottom line: Mercari has a short leash for me
I have a hard time seeing how Mercari will have a leg up on eBay without the advantage of beta mode’s 0% fee structure. eBay is a proven player with what I feel is the best, most complete selling experience out there (given the wide array of items for sale).
Before rendering final judgement, I’d like to get answers to the following questions:
- How improved will their customer service be?
- What other features will they be adding?
- How is the 10% fee calculated? Is it on sale price plus shipping cost or just sale price?
That last question could have major ramifications. I would assume Mercari will take their 10% cut off the total sale-plus-shipping cost, which means a $24 item with $6 shipping would incur a $3 fee (10% of $30). However, it’s conceivable they could charge 10% fee off the $24, or $2.40. If so, this would be a divergence from eBay’s 10% fee on the sale plus shipping price. While the latter is probably unlikely, Mercari’s official email announcement above wasn’t very specific.
Regardless of the answers to the above questions, I’ll still continue to use Mercari because of Reason 1 above (increased exposure) but I have a hard time not seeing myself move towards other selling platforms in light of this news. Should Mercari develop their platform and add useful features, like a formal offer system, then I’ll have to reassess my position.
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