As far as ecommerce has come over the last decade or so, there's still a tremendous opportunity to make it easier for people to buy and sell goods. That's especially true when it comes to shopping apps, which should only continue to increase in popularity for at least the remainder of this decade.
One such app that has attracted a fair bit of attention as of late is Mercari. Though the app has been around for several years, it's shot up the App Store chart in recent weeks, becoming the number one app in the shopping category on iOS and hitting the top five among all free apps.
What has helped Mercari enjoy such popularity, and is it really as easy to get started selling as its description claims? We took a look for you, and we can tell you that this is all you have to do to begin:
Sign up with Facebook or an email address
Mercari is one of many apps that would prefer you use Facebook to identify yourself. If you do, it pulls in your name and some other details automatically.
Simply signing up with an email address is also possible though, so no worries if you don't worship at the House of Zuckerberg.
Create a listing
It's not hard to start the process of selling an item on Mercari, since all you have to do is tap the large red 'Sell' button in the lower-right corner of the screen. That initiates a 'Create Listing' pop-up that has several required steps.
The first is to take a picture. Mercari asks you to take at least one, but as many as four photos of the item you wish to sell, and you don't need to exit the app to do so, which is nice. For especially common items, you can also use a default photo without taking your own.
Other required selling fields include:
- Item name
- Category - Mercari has many categories from which to choose, arranged in a hierarchy not unlike the one eBay uses. You can use the browse the category menu or use a search box to find the one most appropriate for your item.
- Condition - New (which means with tags and in unopened packaging), Like New, Good, Fair, and Poor are the choices here.
- Shipping - Mercari uses fixed shipping rates based on the weight of the item sold, via FedEx or USPS. You can also choose to ship the item on your own, but that means you assume responsibility for providing tracking info and insurance if the item is over a certain dollar amount, and the sale can be canceled if you don't comply. The default options seem like the wiser way to go.
Set your price
Since this isn't an auction app but a fixed price affair, you need to pick a price between $3 and $2000 for which to list your item. Mercari offers a guide to pricing based on a percentage of its original retail value, modified by the condition. It also suggests browsing the app for similar items, setting a slightly lower price to increase the odds of selling and taking seasonality into account.
You can also adjust the price of your item if it hasn't sold in a few days.
The good news is that for the time being, 100 percent of that sale price will go into your pocket, since Mercari isn't collecting a commission on sales. That will change in time -- it almost has to for Mercari to monetize the process -- but it makes the app an attractive alternative to eBay and other similar apps. And as it turns out, it really is easy to get started selling in a matter of minutes.