Updated July 18, 2020
Selling items you no longer need can be a great way to make extra money to help you reach your financial goals. Last year, I started selling some of my unwanted items on Facebook Marketplace for extra money to throw towards my debt. However, when COVID-19 became a global pandemic and caused us to shelter-in-place in order to avoid unnecessary human contact, my online selling behavior changed.
I remembered someone on Instagram recommending the Mercari selling app and with more time at home and a pile of unwanted items growing, I decided to give it a try!
Mercari and Facebook Marketplace have some similarities and some key differences, and here I compare them head-to-head!
Listing Your Items
Mercari: Listing your items on Mercari is easy. Mercari provides prompts for entering details about your item such as the item category, brand, condition, and color. These prompts are predictive and can auto-populate information based on the photos uploaded and what you begin to type. There is also a free text box to provide additional information that can help buyers understand exactly what the are getting. You can add up to 12 photos per listing and 3 hashtags.
Facebook Marketplace: Listing items on Marketplace is also easy, but without the bells and whistles. Prompts are provided to tell buyers what you’re selling, the price, category, and location. There’s also a free text box to describe your item and you can add up to 10 photos.
Listing and Seller Fees
Mercari: There is no fee to list items. However, Mecari charges a 10% selling fee which includes the cost of processing the payment from the buyer. So your net earnings would be the listing prices minus the selling and any shipping fees (see below). This fee is charged when the sale has been completed. Additionally, if you cannot fulfill the order, a cancellation fee of 5% of the item price (maximum of $25) may be imposed when an order is cancelled to cover the cost of the transaction fees and/or shipping labels.
Facebook Marketplace: There is no fee to list items. However, for each item sold and shipped using Facebook Shipping (see below), Facebook charges a 5% selling fee to cover the cost of payment processing, customer support, and purchase protection.
Pricing Your Items
Mercari: On Mercari, you set your own price but you cannot sell items for less than $5 and for no more than $2000. The app also has a cool pricing feature that can help take the guesswork out of setting a price. This feature uses the information provided in the listing to compare the price of similar items that have recently sold. It also has a Smart Pricing feature, which boosts or promotes your item. All you have to do is choose the listing price and floor (lowest) price, then Mercari adjusts the price within that range based on demand, but never lower than the floor price. Mercari will even promote the price drop to people who have shown interest in your item.
Facebook Marketplace: There doesn’t appear to be a limit to pricing your items on Marketplace. You are responsible for setting your own price and you can even list items for free.
Mercari: Interested buyers can make offers on your items. Offers expire after 24 hours. You can either decline, accept, or counter the offer. You can also promote your listings to those that have liked your item or to the public on Mercari. When you promote to those who have liked your item, the price is reduced by 10% or more for 24 hours. When you promote to the public, the price is reduced by 5%. Price drops can occur every 24 hours when promoting to the public, but only every 3 days when promoting to likers of your item.
Facebook Marketplace: Marketplace isn’t as structured when it comes to negotiating prices, so it could feel a bit like haggling. At this time, Facebook doesn’t offer a boost in listings unless you are operating a business page, but you pay for this like you would an ad.
Completing the Sale
Mercari: All transactions take place in the app. Unless a buyer makes an offer, the sale is immediately completed when the buyer presses the ‘Buy Now’ button.
Facebook Marketplace: Facebook encourages the buyer to contact the seller to purchase items. Buyers and sellers have to agree on the price, then coordinate when and how the buyer will get the item.
Delivering the Goods
Mercari: Shipping is the only way to deliver items on Mercari and at this time, you can only ship within the U.S. Mercari offers multiple shipping options and ways to pay for shipping. As the seller, you can choose to have the buyer pay for shipping or you can offer free shipping, which will certainly entice potential buyers. If you do decide to offer free shipping, I recommend getting an estimated cost for shipping and supplies first, so you know how that factors into your profit. Mercari offers shipping via: FedEx, USPS, and UPS. Items should ship within 3 business days using a valid tracking number from the date of the sale.
Facebook Marketplace: Marketplace sales are typically local and require coordination between the buyer and seller for when and where to pick up the item. When COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, this was one of the reasons I switched to Mercari. However, Facebook now has a local delivery service through one of its partners, but it’s only available in certain cities and for select items. Facebook also implemented a direct-to-buyer shipping option. Like Mercari, discounted prepaid shipping labels can be purchased but in this case, the cost is passed onto the buyer. You’re encouraged to ship your items within 3 business days from the date of the sale. Customers can cancel orders within 30 minutes of purchase if the order isn’t marked as shipped yet. Facebook will also cancel any orders that fail to ship within 30 days.
Seller Protections and Refunds
Mercari: Mercari offers sellers payment guarantee and shipping protection up to $200, when using its prepaid shipping labels. Buyers can cancel a sale if the item doesn’t ship on time. Buyers can request a refund within 3 days of confirmed delivery if the item received isn’t as described, potentially counterfeit, damaged, defective, or the wrong item was received.
Facebook: Facebook doesn’t offer seller protections and all sales are typically final. Under Purchase Protection, buyers can request refunds on certain orders, if they didn’t receive the item, the item arrived damaged, defective, or wasn’t as described. Purchases must be made using Facebook Buy to be eligible.
Mercari: Your payment is guaranteed when the item gets delivered (unless the buyer requests a refund). Once the buyer rates you as the seller, you then rate the buyer and then funds are added to your Mercari balance. You can use those funds to purchase items on Mercari or transfer them to your bank account. Direct deposit into your bank account is free and usually takes 2-5 business days. You can also get paid in 30 minutes or less with Instant Pay however, there is a $2 charge for this.
Facebook: Since most people shopping on Marketplace are interested in local pickup/drop off, you can determine how you want to get paid. Most people use person-to-person payment methods like PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, and even cash to get paid. If you decide to use Facebook Buy, your money will be deposited into your bank account within 15-30 days of marking the item shipped and entering a valid tracking number.
Mercari: Mercari has a new feature! You can now set and track your selling goal within the app! It’s super easy to create too! All you do is set the type of goal it is (i.e., declutter, vacation, gift, treat yourself) then set how much you want to earn. This feature will provide selling tips and will keep track of your progress and tell you how much more you have to earn to reach your goal…right on your dashboard!
Facebook: …I’ll wait.
And the Winner is…
Mercari! Even with its slightly higher selling fee and shipping requirements, Mercari offers more functionality and choices than Facebook Marketplace. Not to mention, listing on Mercari puts your items in front of more people, which increases the likelihood of actually selling your items. Mercari wins when it comes to safety as well, eliminating the need to meet up with complete strangers, since all transactions are done in the app.
If you’d like to give Mercari a try, you’re welcome to use my referral link to sign up! You’ll get $10 off your first order and another $20 when you make your first $100 selling on Mercari! Plus, when you refer your friends, you’ll get $10 when they make their first purchase and another $40 when they make their first $100!
Well there it is folks! I’ve laid out some important features for both Mercari and Facebook Marketplace. But no matter which platform you choose, here are a few tips and resources that can help you be a successful seller:
- Communication is the key to great customer service. Be proactive and upfront when communicating with buyers, especially if you may experience a delay in shipping and delivery.
- The US Postal Service provides free shipping boxes. Just stop by your local post office or go online at USPS.com to order the boxes you need.
- Check out the Mercari Help Center for additional information on how to sell on Mercari.
- Check out the Facebook Marketplace Help Center for additional information on how to sell on Facebook.
- For more pro tips for selling on Facebook Marketplace check out my 5 Tips for Selling on Facebook Marketplace!
If you have additional selling tips, comments, or questions…drop them below!