Mercari Review: What Is It Like for Buyers?
What do buyers need to know about shopping on Mercari?
My experience with buying from Mercari in 2018 is generally positive. I would recommend it to anyone looking for good deals on used clothing who is willing to put in a bit of work. I frequent Poshmark and Mercari both as a seller and a buyer. I use both platforms for different aspects of used clothing shopping.
Though my review is generally positive, there are both pros and cons to shopping with Mercari:
- Many shipping options
- Great deals
- Email alerts for search items
- Directly, privately contact seller
- Buyer protection and easy returns
- Allows very used items
- Lower end items aren't worth the shipping price
- Not all sellers communicate
- Search filters are limited
The Pros of Mercari
Let's go in depth with all the good things about using Mercari for shopping.
The seller sets the shipping price on Mercari items. Why did I list this as a pro? Unlike platforms like Poshmark with a flat shipping rate, shipping on Mercari can be more affordable for cheaper items. The flexibility a seller has in setting shipping prices is passed on to the buyer. Light but cheaper items like tops or small dresses can ship for a reasonable price. Or the seller can absorb the cost in the listing price and give you free shipping.
This is important for buyers looking for single, light items. It's hard to get a good deal on those from Poshmark after their $6.49 shipping
Items on Mercari are heavily discounted compared to retail. They claim up to 70% off, which is accurate in many cases. Read the description and review photos to understand the condition of the item.
A handy tool in Mercari is email alerts. eBay offers this, too. Set up a specific search with filters, and then set it to email you with new items. There's a blue "Save Search" button that pops up on desktop and mobile for every search. This will notify you via email when new items meet that criteria. Right now, I'm looking for a new pair of black moto boots. I picked out a few styles from brands I like. So I set up an email alert with the style as the search term and my size, the brand, and the color black selected in filters. Now I only get emails from Mercari for the items I want.
Contacting the Seller
You can contact a seller on Mercari if you need more information on a listing before buying. This is useful for items like dresses and pants where the fit is important. You can ask for measurements of the item to see if it matches similar items from your closet that fit.
Mercari doesn't release your payment to the seller until you receive and approve the item. Poshmark operates the same way. Buyers carry less of the risk this way.
The Cons of Mercari
There are some drawbacks to shopping on Mercari. Here's a summary:
Allows Very Used Items
Mercari does allow sellers to list well-worn items. You can filter these out of search results by using the Condition filter.
There are more off-brand and heavily used items than Poshmark. But the listing price usually reflects the condition. So this can be a great marketplace for bargain shoppers.
Many sellers list items and abandon them until they sell. Understandably, it's a lot of work to reply to all buyers' questions. So sometimes even when you submit a question, you don't get a response. That's annoyed me when I would have bought an item with a little more information.
Limited Search Filters
The search filters on Mercari are not very specific for clothing. There are larger categories like sandals or dresses, but it's hard to specify the style.
Also, there are only standard sizing filters. No petite, plus, or juniors options. "Medium" is lumped in with "8–10". These filters are better on Poshmark or eBay.
What aspect of shopping on Mercari would you like to see improved?
The Mercari app is pretty easy to use. Search results are displayed as thumbnails with prices. You can "Like" items and get notified when prices drop. This adds the item to a list of "Likes" you can reference later.
It can be difficult to navigate and tedious to start new searches. When I first started using it, it took me awhile to understand why I couldn't filter by size. The clothing category (like Tops or Shoes) has to be selected before you can select a size.
My experience with Mercari’s customer service was much more pleasant than similar platforms. Both Poshmark and eBay are so difficult to get in touch with! But Mercari has their phone number listed right on the site. Customer service reps quickly resolve any problems, for both buyers and sellers.
Is Mercari Safe for Buyers?
Mercari ensures that your personal and payment information is secure. Sellers will only receive your shipping address and no payment information.
As with any type of online shopping, it's easy to buy something and be disappointed with what you receive. It's up to you as the buyer to understand the item and the quality of the seller before making a purchase. Mercari will not issue you a refund as long as the item is as described.
Mercari vs. Poshmark or eBay for Used Clothes
You have other options when buying used clothes online.
- Poshmark specializes in new and used clothing, especially for women. Learn about buying on Poshmark.
- eBay has more categories outside of clothes, so that can be distracting. But it's also a much larger market with a variety of sellers.
When I have a specific item in mind, I'll search all three websites. I'm willing to use any of them if they have the best deal on what I'm looking for.
What is your favorite platform for buying used clothing?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Katy Medium