Those of you who follow me on Insta know I fell in love with selling my clothes online. You also know it took me awhile to get to the place where I could sell on Mercari, the selling app that really streamlines the process and makes it as easy as can be. I want to share with you a step-by-step process so you can avoid my apprehension, start selling today and receive some cash for clothes you no longer wear or your kids grew out of.
What I want to do with this post is show you:
- Why selling on Mercari is a good idea
- How to sell on Mercari step-by-step
- Some selling tips when using Mercari
- Bonus: Get a free online sales tracker
Before we get started, I recommend having a goal for your money before you get started. Just like I advocate having a budget to guide where money from your paycheck goes, it would serve you to know what you want to accomplish with this money. The money I earned from selling on Mercari went toward my house savings goal. Perhaps yours will be to pay down student debt or save for a vacation. Have a plan before you begin.
Why selling on Mercari is a good idea
When I first started selling on Mercari, I sold six items in two days. I was excited to make $100 on those sales. In the past, it seemed like buying clothes was a one-way street. You spend your hard-earned money at a store, wear your clothes, then get rid of them, either giving them to a thrift shop or selling them for pennies on the dollar at garage sales.
Mercari now provides an easy way to recoup some of those dollars we spent on clothing. This is especially good news for those of us who have kids, because you know how fast they grow out of the outfits we buy for them. Selling on Mercari is a good idea because it can help put cash back in your pocket.
Here is a second reason why you should sell your clothing on Mercari: It will help you organize and declutter your life. When I went through all of my family's clothes, it felt so good. As you organize and declutter your clothing, use the ACT NOW method (it is useful for deciding on what to do with clothes, too).
A third reason is its simplicity. You might recall, when I started sharing my stories on Insta about selling clothes, I intended to use a different service. Many of you steered me toward Mercari, saying how you had success and it was easier. I feel at The Budget Mom, we are a community. It is not a one-way street. You learn from my experiences, and I learn from yours. It has been a great partnership.
So, when all of you told me I needed to sell on Mercari, I listened. And, because of my penchant for organization, I also streamlined some things and created the online sales tracker (you can never be too detailed, can you?).
On more thing to like about Mercari: Everything ships. No one comes to your house, and you don't go to their house. The seller and buyer never meet. You sell; it ships.
Ready to make some money on clothes (not to mention electronics, toys, cosmetics, shoes, and other household goods)?
How to sell on Mercari step-by-step
Here is how Mercari describes the entire process: Sell it. Ship it. Get paid.
Mercari calls itself The Selling App. You can work sell on Mercari via the web, but the iOS or Android app will make it easier.
Sign up for Mercari
Be sure to sign up for Mercari, you can list items for free and start making money from items you thought you were going to have to get rid of, either by throwing them out or donating them to a thrift store.
- People want to know what they are buying, so take lots of photos, showing every side.
- Photos can be taken from inside the Mercari app, and your first photo is the main photo.
- Use a variety of angles. Start with a wide shot, your main photo, then get in closer to get details.
- Use natural light to capture the best images of your clothes.
- You want your clothes to stand out, so use a neutral background. This means don't take photos of your flowery shirt on top of your printed comforter.
- Also, make sure your photos are in focus so they can see the quality. Mercari has a magic wand feature to enhance your photos. Try it.
- It is a good idea to look at how other sellers are photographing similar items. See what works and improve upon it.
Add a Title
Mercari will ask you “What are you selling?” This is the title area. Try to say as much as possible in 40 characters. If you are selling a name brand, include it. You might want to use abbreviations. Here are some common ones:
- Sz = size
- NIB = New in Box
- NWT = New with Tag
- NWOT = New without Tag
Write your description
You will want to include the brand, the style, the model name, the color, the condition, the fabric, the size (consider adding measurements), whether it is used, and if it has any flaws or defects. When you bought it, what did you like about it? Feature what you liked. Include anything they need to know about the item. In the description, you have to write at least five words, and you have up to 1,000 characters. You can also add up to 3 hashtags.
Choose a category
Based on your title, Mercari will recommend which category your item should be listed in. You will need to make sure you agree with Mercari's suggestion, so double-check it. Sometimes you will not be able to find an appropriate one. If this is the case, then choose “Other” and do a good job with the title and description.
You will have a chance to add a brand name separately, but to capture attention and retain interest, be sure to use the brand name in the title and description whenever possible.
This is where you will let them know if the item for sale is new, like new, good, fair, or poor. Be honest so the seller knows what she is buying. This will reduce the chance of a refund.
Be descriptive. Is it pink? Mauve? Salmon? Coral?
Provide shipping information
We'll go into detail about how to ship what you sell a little later. But, when you list a product, you need to answer two questions related to shipping:
- What ZIPCODE will the item ship from? This is an easy one to answer.
- Who pays shipping: The buyer or seller? This is not as easy.
Mercari says when you offer free shipping, your item is five times more likely to sell. If you have purchased anything on Amazon Prime, then you know shipping is not really “free.” Those who sell items under the Prime program mark items up a little to cover the cost of shipping. This is something to consider.
When you sell an item on Mercari, you have three days to pack it up and ship it. While Mercari works to make the shipping process simple, there are several things to consider. You already know you need to decide about whether to offer “free shipping” or have the buyer sell. Other things to ponder:
- Do you get a prepaid label from Mercari or ship it on your own? Mercari says if you take advantage of their prepaid labels, you will save about 30 percent of the retail cost of shipping. They have a chart that breaks down the pricing. Depending upon the size and weight of the package, you might have to ship it on your own. All items shipped with a prepaid label come with insurance for up to $200. If you ship it on your own, you will need to get your own label and tracking number.
- Do I need a scale? Like I said, Mercari tries to make this simple. Based on its history of shipping packages with a variety of items, it has a pretty good idea of what a package will weigh. You can use its averages. However, if you plan on selling a lot, you might look into getting a scale, either a postage scale or a digital kitchen scale will be helpful.
- Should you use a tracking label? Yes. You must use one. If you ship an item you sold without a tracking ID, the order will get canceled — even if the package is en route.
- How do I pack my items? You want to make sure whatever items you are shipping will not break or bend. If you are shipping clothing, then poly mailers and soft-pack envelopes are fine … that is, if your item will fit in one. Cardboard boxes should be sturdy. If you are shipping toys or electronics, be sure to have some kind of packaging material inside to protect the items. Be sure to tape up and secure those boxes.
- Ship on time: Remember, you have three days to get the package in the mail. The sooner you get it in the mail, the sooner it will arrive, and the sooner the buyer will rate the transaction so you can get paid. Time is money.
Mercari will take a 10 percent commission on everything you sell. You don't pay to list your items for sale. You only pay the commission when your items sell. You will get paid when the buyer rates the transaction. You might be thinking, what happens if the buyer doesn't feel like it? Mercari has taken this into account. The buyer has three days to rate the transaction, and if it does not get rated, then Mercari automatically rates it as approved.
Mercari offers two ways to pay:
- Direct deposit into your checking account: There is no fee for this, unless you request less than $10, in which you will pay a $2 fee. It can take up to five days to be deposited, and it can only be transferred into a checking account. Make sure you have your bank's routing number and your account number handy. You will also be charged a $2 fee if your bank rejects the direct deposit.
- Instant Pay, through a linked debit card: Mercari will charge a $2 fee for this convenience, however, the money will get into your bank account in minutes. So, if timing is important, the fee might be acceptable. Mercari allows for up to $500 a month to be paid out via Instant Pay. You can only make one Instant Pay request per day.
Some tips when on selling on Mercari
Mercari is a wonderful place to sell your stuff. Some women make serious money selling on this platform. This can be whatever you want it to be. It can be a place to get rid of stuff so you can declutter your home and make some quick cash in the process. Or, it could be a side light for you where you create a steady supplement to your household income. No matter which option you choose, here are some tips when you sell on Mercari:
- How much to charge: Determine what a fair price is. If you are paying for shipping, remember to add enough into the price to cover the cost. If you are selling used clothing, then price appropriately. Nobody wants to pay full retail for used clothes. If your item is new and unused, they can get up to 80 percent of the retail value. Slightly used can get between 30 to 60 percent. If the clothes have a lot of wear and tear or are damaged, maybe 20 to 40 percent.
- Should I post a firm price? Some sellers will put in the title or description that the price is firm. However, that will not stop people from sending you a message asking if you will take a lower price. Use your discretion. Also, see who else is selling similar items.
- What if my clothes don't sell? Consider marking down the price, just like you would do at a garage sale as you are ready to wrap things up. If you reduce the price, and it still does not sell, then remove the item for sale. Evaluate your title, description, photos, and other elements to see if you can improve the chances of selling your stuff. Then, relist the product again at the original price.
- Understand retail arbitrage: This is a fancy way of saying there are people who buy and sell on Mercari, eBay and Amazon who look for deals, then turn around and sell them for a higher profit. It is very popular with high-end athletic shoes and clothing lines. Sometimes this is referred to as flipping. So, before you agree to lower your price, check out the potential buyer to see how active she or he is on the selling sites.
Bonus: Here is your online sales tracker
As you know, I'm obsessed with organization and productive systems. As I started listing more and more items to my Mercari account, I found myself losing track of what I posted, what I sold, my fees, and my profit. It gets confusing if you cross-post items on other selling platforms.
You know I had to find a way to organize all of this. That is why I created my Online Sales Tracker. It's perfect for keeping track of your online sales, and where your items are listed. It also helps you keep track of what items you have shipped vs what has sold.
Get your free Online Sales Tracker in our Free Resources Library. You can sign-up or sign-in here.
Start earning money by selling clothes you no longer need when you sign up for Mercari.
This was so helpful! I have felt kind of overwhelmed with the task of listing my stuff but I appreciate the step by step guide.
I wish we owned a ton of decent clothes to sell. I don’t think people would want to buy our used walmart clothes though, lol!
Thank you, regardless
Devon Baeza says
Love love love Mercari! I’ve sold everything from old nail polish to my husband’s ugly sunglasses 😎 I recommend it to my clients as well! This is an awesome article that makes it easy for anyone to understand.
This article was super helpful! As a somewhat discouraged person trying to sell on Mercari my faith has been restored! I found your tips on creating price points for clothing items especially helpful. I have always felt like I was arbitrarily charging for items and never felt confident in my prices. Going to apply your methods and tips later today. Thank you, thank you, thank you Mike!
I downloaded the app yesterday to try it out! But when I go to list an item, I push the list button, and it says, Oops, Sorry for the inconvenience. Thank you for your patience. For two days straight!!! Am I doing something wrong?