Poshmark vs. Mercari: Which is Right For You?
If you have ever wanted to make some extra cash or declutter those bulging closets, you may have thought about listing your unwanted items on an online resale site like eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, or Thread Up, to name a few.
A Brief History of Online Consignment Shopping
While Poshmark and Mercari are both newer than eBay (eBay started in 1995, the others in the 2010s), both platforms have become strong contenders on the online consignment scene. Poshmark, a play on the words posh and marketplace, began as a mobile app in 2011 promising to turn women’s closets into stylish boutiques, where they could offload their high-end goods for quick cash, all from the ease of their smartphones. Two years later Mercari exploded onto the online shopping scene, with the aim to “establish a society where resources are circulated and where people can accomplish their goals”, whether that be to earn money, minimize clutter, or focus on sustainability.
Out of all the options for online retail consignment, Poshmark and Mercari definitely top the list for ease and use and popularity. Both are also free to use for both sellers and buyers. However, choosing which platform can be a difficult task. Which is better for your specific needs? This article will break down both platforms so you can make an informed decision.
Tip: Before making a final decision, go to both websites, download the apps, and make an account. It’s free on both platforms, and you can get a better feel for the user experience, which is also an important factor in deciding on a platform.
Poshmark: The Breakdown
In 2011, Poshmark became the go-to for buying and selling clothing and accessories online, a sleek, easy-to-use app to replace eBay’s more time-consuming website. The app was a huge success because of its simplicity and ease of use, especially for sellers, when compared to eBay. In minutes, sellers could snap a picture of their item for sale, upload it to the app, write a quick description, and make a quick sale.
Poshmark is aimed at delivering high-end, expensive fashion–think Gucci or Chanel–at much better prices. However, other mid-range brands do well on the platform, like Anthropologie, Loft, Banana Republic, etc. Designer and on-trend pieces will sell the fastest, especially if the price is right.
Poshmark does limit on what you can list as a seller, however. The platform will only allow clothing and accessories like handbags, jewelry, and shoes for men, women, and children. They also allow the sale of select home goods and new, unopened and unused personal care items like makeup or skincare.
Poshmark does prohibit the sale of electrical items like gaming consoles, video games, cellphones, DVDs, etc; knock-off designer goods (designer items must pass a certification process), nail polish, perfumes, or aerosol items.
If you are in the market to sell your designer clothes, shoes, or handbags, then Poshmark might be a great fit for you.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of the platform to help you make a more informed decision.
Pros of Poshmark
- It’s free! It is free for both users and sellers to download the app and set up an account. Sellers can list as many items as they wish. Simply snap a pic, upload it to the app, give it a quick description, and voila!
- You stay in control of your closet. As a seller, you keep control of your closet, listings, transactions, and sales. You can offer discounts for bundles, offer private discounts to buyers who like your listings, or share directly to a buyer’s dressing room.
- Poshmark is social. Poshmark made a name for itself immediately in the online resale game because it is, first and foremost, a social network ( like a love child of Facebook and eBay, if you will). Poshmark allows users to like and comment on listings, just as they would interact on Instagram. You share not only your own listings, but you share other sellers’ listings as well, creating a collaborative community of sellers that support, instead of compete, with each other. Do you love to do Reels on Instagram or have fun, interactive sessions on Facebook Live? Poshmark allows sellers to host live virtual parties to help increase sales. Posh Party Live also tours the U.S. to allow sellers to “up their closet game” while meeting other Poshmark sellers; however, due to the pandemic, live events have been postponed until further notice.
- Easy shipping, no returns. Poshmark simplifies the shipping process for sellers by shipping using USPS Priority mail only. Poshmark provides the shipping label for you, and you can order Priority mail packaging on the USPS website for free. Once you sell your item, the buyer cannot return it, even if they don’t like it or it doesn’t fit. The buyer knows the risk before they purchase, so there are usually no issues there. However, a buyer can open a case against you to get a refund, but those are rare. Disputes are solved by a Poshmark employee.
- Social media marketing. Poshmark has built-in features in the app that allows you to seamlessly share listings or your closet across all the social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr. With one click of a button, you can increase your sales in seconds. You can also add a widget to the closet on your website to share from there as well.
- Easy payouts. As soon as you make a sale, Poshmark immediately processes your payment. A buyer has three days to accept the item; after that, it is automatically accepted by Poshmark, and you can immediately cash out if you want to, without having to wait weeks for your money.
- Become an ambassador. If you meet certain criteria as a seller, you can become a Poshmark Ambassador, which means your closet is shared with new users (more sales!), and you receive a newsletter.
Cons of Poshmark
- High commission fees. Poshmark does charge a fee once you make a sale, which is scaled according to the amount of the transaction. For sales under $15, Poshmark keeps a flat fee of $2.95, and for sales of over $15, they keep 20% while you keep eighty. The marketing and customer base alone is worth the twenty percent, as you would pay more than that if you had to market your own clothing resale business.
- Higher pricing on items. While sellers may immediately see this as a pro, having higher prices on your Poshmark items may deter buyers and send them to different platforms entirely.
- High shipping costs for buyers. On Poshmark, buyers pay for shipping. As of press time, shipping costs were $7.11 for all packages, which may deter buyers who are buying lightweight packages like earrings, for example.
- Time-consuming. One of the biggest complaints about Poshmark is how much time it takes to like, share items, follow, and unfollow. The social aspect of the community is great for sales, but you do have to pay for it with time. It has become so time-consuming to manage their closets that many sellers have turned to Poshmark automation software to help.
- Boutique/wholesale competition. Poshmark now offers a wholesale market where sellers can buy goods wholesale and sell them from their closet for retail prices. However, margins can be slim here, as the wholesale offerings in the wholesale portal are expensive, and you will be competing with hundreds of other boutiques that carry the same merchandise as you.
- Limited customer support. Customer support can only be reached by email, and it takes up to two days to receive a response. Sellers complain about receiving generic, blanket-statement emails that offer no help at all. This is a drawback if you need a dispute or issue resolved quickly.
Poshmark is a great marketplace for fashionistas who want to sell their high-end, luxury items for a great price. This platform is suitable if you primarily have clothes and accessories to sell and will have the time to spend on the social aspect of the site to gain sales.
This Japanese reselling app offered up its app first in 2013, with the purpose of being an online “flea market.” While Mercari (which means “marketplace” in Latin) does not have the glossy luster of Poshmark or the street cred of veteran eBay, the platform saw over 1 million listings by the end of its first year.
Mercari’s standards for items are much broader than Poshmark, making this a better option for sellers with a wide range of goods to sell, not just clothing.
According to Mercari’s TOS, if you can ship it, you can sell it on their platform. Their prohibited items are basic common sense–nothing illegal (drugs, stolen goods), no weapons or alcohol, counterfeits, or any items that are safety hazards. Of course, items that are sold need to be in good, usable condition for your buyers or you won’t make sales.
If you are a seller interested in offloading not only clothes and accessories, but gaming consoles, video games, kitchen and household items, even those old, dusty DVDs sitting in storage, then Mercari might be what you are looking for. Designer clothing, trendy home goods, and electronics do very well on this platform.
Pros of Mercari
- It’s free! Just like Poshmark, the app is free to download and listings are free.
- Ability to sell more items across categories. One perk of Mercari, despite its lack of glitz and glam, is that you can sell nearly anything you have in your house as long as you can ship it.
- Lower prices. Since items are listed in a lower price bracket, you have the option of opening yourself up to a different kind of bargain shopper, who might be looking for a good bargain without looking for designer items, for instance.
- Low commission. Mercari only takes a 10% commission, which is much lower than Poshmark or eBay, which means you pocket more of your own profits.
- Listing options: Sellers are impressed with Mercari’s recent upgrades to the uploading/listing process within the app, making listings even easier and faster to create. You can now upload 12 pictures at once to upload, move them around, instantly improve the lighting on your photos, and use a square or rectangular format for pictures.
- Private chat with buyers. Unlike Poshmark, which only has a semi-private chat, you can chat with buyers privately within the app, making it easier to negotiate prices or create custom bundles for your customers. Also, having great communication with your customers will keep your ratings high.
- Promotions: You can send offer promotions on your items privately to buyers who have liked your listing, or you can promote a sale publicly, which bumps your listing back to the top of searches, which makes for faster sales.
Cons of Mercari
- User experience. To some buyers, the app is more challenging to navigate, and the default when you search for an item is to show both sold and available items. Some users also complain that sellers don’t take the time to take well-lit, attractive photos of their merchandise like Poshmark sellers do, which can dramatically decrease sales.
- Shipping costs. This is a con for both buyer and seller, as the seller has the option to pay for the fees themselves or list shipping for the buyer to pay. As a seller, if you choose to pay the shipping, you may make more sales but you will take a hit in profits. However, it is a disadvantage for the buyer to pay high shipping fees, as high shipping costs may deter many buyers.
- Slow payouts. Your earnings are not released until the buyer receives, rates, and accepts your package. These can mean days, if not a week to see funds in your account. Once in the account, you have to wait another 5 days to have funds released, or pay a $2 fee for an instant payout.
- No sharing feature. Once you’ve listed an item, it gets lost in the millions of other items on the platform, as there is no sharing feature. The only way to get your item pushed to the top of searches again is to lower the price, but you can only do that so many times before the price bottoms out and you’ve lost profits.
- Lower price thresholds. Because Meracari isn’t the designer resale platform Poshmark is, it can lower your profits since you won’t be selling high-priced items here (i.e., a pair of $2000 Manolos wouldn’t have much of an audience here as Poshmark).
- Limited customer service. Like Poshmark, Mercari only has customer support via email, although users agree that Mercari is faster than Poshmark on responding to emails, usually within a day (up to two for Poshmark).
If you have lightweight items around the house that are not designer, high-end, or luxury, and want to make quick cash without hours of sharing and taking stylistic photos, Mercari might be just right for you! Mercari gives you more freedom to list odds and ends around your house, not just clothes, so sellers don’t feel as restricted here. However, profits won’t be as high on Mercari, as this is not a luxury resale platform.
Being a seller in the online resale space has much competition, so understanding the platforms is key to figuring out which one will give you the best earnings and user experience. Now that you are armed with knowledge of these platforms, you can begin scouring your home and have some cash at the end of your next Marie Kondo session.