Are you still paying full price for designer clothes, home goods, and electronics? There’s a better way! With so many options for shopping online, you can often find the item of your dreams at a low-low price. The only downside is the potential time drain of deal-hunting.
So, where should you shop?
When it comes to variety and price, there are few destinations more popular than eBay. But there are also intriguing new competitors on the scene — like the Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark app, and now Mercari.
Whether you’re looking for coupons, rebates, or discounts, Mercari and eBay are both great money-saving resale . In this guide, we’ll cover the pros and cons of shopping on these two platforms so that you can speed up the process of scoping out deals online.
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History and User Base
First things first: in eCommerce, variety is key. After all, where there are more users, you’ll find more options—not to mention that sellers will have to adjust their prices to the market rate.
Of course, it takes time to build up an active user base, which gives eBay a leg up.
- Fun fact: the first sale on eBay was a broken laser pointer back in 1995. The site has come a long way since then, now selling pretty much anything and everything and reaching over 170 million active buyers across the globe.
- Founded in 2013, Mercari is a newer online marketplace. Originally focused on high-end fashion, it has since expanded to include home goods of all kinds. As of January 2020, Mercari’s scope reached 15.38 million active users a month.
As you can see, eBay’s storied history has resulted in 10x as many monthly users as new-kid-on-the-block Mercari.
However, some users might prefer Mercari’s streamlined approach to buying and selling.
How Each Platform Works
So let’s look at the platform functionality of eBay vs Mercari. If you’ve visited eBay recently, “modern” may not be the first adjective that comes to mind. While the website has definitely gotten a facelift since 1995, it’s not ideal for browsing on your phone.
In contrast, Mercari is primarily app-based. While you can use your web browser, the Mercari app is ideal to use on the go and if you prefer a mobile platform.
Besides this major difference, there are a few other differences in your experience as a buyer.
Buying on eBay
eBay is most famous for its bidding option—which can result in stellar deals or all-out bidding wars. To make bids, you’ll need an account. Then, choose one of the following options.
- Manually bid. Propose an offer and cross your fingers that no one one-ups you!
- Enroll in automatic bidding, entering the highest amount you’re willing to pay. Then, eBay does the rest for you so you don’t have to watch the auction all day.
There is no platform-wide minimum for bids since each seller sets their own minimum amount. This might mean better deals than Mercari, especially since some auctions start as low as 99 cents.
Don’t want to get caught in a bidding battle?
You can also buy items at their listed price without haggling by using the Buy It Now feature. This guarantees you can buy the item right away. As an added bonus, you don’t need an account to Buy it Now (as long as you’re purchasing items that cost less than $5,000).
The eBay platform itself accepts most forms of payment, but it’s up to sellers to decide which payment methods they accept. Payment options include:
- Credit/Debit cards
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
There are a few other alternatives for high-value purchases.
- Escrow.com can be used on purchases of vehicles or $10,000+ wristwatches.
- Checks, money orders, and bank wire transfers can be used when buying “vehicles, capital and business equipment, real estate, and items you pick up in person.”
Buying on Mercari
Another major difference between Mercari vs eBay? You always need an account to buy on Mercari. Once you’ve created yours, you can enjoy the multiple options for buyers, depending on the urgency of your purchase. You can also think of Mercari as an newer eBay alternative– with several differentiators.
- Buy Now is the most straightforward way to buy and allows you to make a purchase right away at the list price.
- Make an offer allows you to ask the seller to part with the item at a discount. But there are some things you should know before you start making offers left and right.
- Offers are binding – if the buyer chooses to accept your offer, the transaction automatically occurs.
- There’s a minimum – Offers have to be at least 75% of the listing price.
- It can take some time – Sellers have up to 24 hours to accept, decline, or meet you in the middle.
There is no bidding option, so you’ll never be directly competing against other prospective buyers.
In terms of payment processing, there are several ways to complete your purchase on the Mercari mobile app.
- Credit/Debit cards
- Apple Pay
- Mercari Credits
Keep in mind that there are no in-person transactions on Mercari, which means there are no in-person payments.
Pros and Cons of eBay
After this rundown, you already know that eBay offers unparalleled stock with convenient buying and bidding options.
There are a few other things to keep in mind when purchasing on this platform.
- Notifications – You can “watch” items and receive alerts of price drops and auctions nearing close.
- Buyer Protection – The eBay Money Back Guarantee allows you to get a refund on items that don’t arrive, are damaged or faulty, or don’t match the listing. But there are some restrictions, so make sure to read the policies. Overall, eBay has great customer service for a selling platform.
But keep the following negatives in mind, too:
- Bids can get pricey – Bids don’t usually have maximums. In addition, sellers may have a private reserve price (the lowest they’re willing to go in an auction). May the odds be ever in your favor!
- There are buying limits – it’s rare, but eBay can limit your buying activities if they notice certain shopping behaviors. Follow the rules, though, and you’ll be shopping smoothly.
- Scams happen – Beware of deals that seem too good to be true. With so many sellers, you may encounter fake listings or counterfeit items.
Besides these clear-cut pros and cons, consider the risks and rewards of in-person shopping. Sellers can list in-person meetups as an option for buyers to receive their item—but meeting people from the internet always holds the potential to be risky! Always take caution to stay safe.
The Pros and Cons of Mercari
While eBay has much to offer, some shoppers may find Mercari a better fit thanks to its streamlined, app-based model for browsing and purchasing. Likewise, the added security of an account-holder-only model can add a community feeling and an increased level of trust.
Along with these benefits, Mercari offers a few additional perks like the following:
- Buyer protection – You have up to 3 days after you receive an item to ask for a refund based on certain criteria. In fact, payment isn’t even released until the buyer confirms the delivery and that the item is as specified in the listing. So, Mercari also offers great customer support for a selling app.
- Fewer scams – Mercari Authenticate enables sellers to verify their higher-end or designer items for a flat rate of $15, ensuring that you get the real thing.
- Bundles – If you like several items listed by a seller, you can request that they create a bundle for you. This combines the items into one listing so you only pay one shipping fee.
But beware of the following limitations of your Mercari account:
- Limited alerts – You can save a search and Mercari will let you know when new listings that match your search appear, but that’s about it in terms of notifications.
- No meetups – Mercari only ships items through the mail. Even if you’re buying from someone down the street, you’ll have to pay a shipping cost and wait for the USPS to deliver your package!
RebateKey: Helping You Shop Smarter Across the Web
So, which is right for you when it comes to eBay vs Mercari? If you want variety, eBay is a stellar go-to option. But if a smaller, fashion-focused community is calling your name, sign up for your Mercari account and start browsing!
Regardless of where you choose to shop, you’re probably looking for deals, and RebateKey is here to help you save.
We allow you to get cashback when you shop online. Then, you’ll receive your savings in a monthly check. Whichever marketplace wins your heart, sign up for RebateKey and start saving now!