Whether you are looking for a side gig or want to develop your own business, you’ll need a marketplace for your goods and services.
Here we’ll compare these three selling platforms so that you can make an informed choice for your new income stream.
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The Poshmark Basics
Poshmark was the first of its kind app that started in 2011 in California. It began as a place to buy and sell high-end fashion items and quickly became the place for brand name shoes and designer clothes.
Unlike many clunky websites, Poshmark allows people to list their items for sale directly from their phone. This encouraged thousands of people to log into the app and sell clothing for cash.
This responsiveness and innovation lead to Poshmark gaining industry attention almost from its immediate launch.
Poshmark is a little like Material World, but rather than selling clothing to a company; you will be in complete control of your listings. Even used designer clothing commands a substantial price, but Poshmark allows you to keep up with styles, allowing you to buy and sell slightly used items that are still in great condition for reasonable prices.
It is important to recognize that the Poshmark app is designed to help women enjoy fashion. Style is a greater priority than cost, so used or second-hand clothing must be in good condition.
Now, you can buy and sell new clothing in the “Boutique” category, but it tends to be wholesale or overstock items that maintain the lower price profile compared to what you would see in stores.
Poshmark is a draw for specific customers, including fashion-minded, budget-conscious women, people who own designer brands, and clothing enthusiasts. This makes it a great option to make extra money from your closet, but it has limited scope for those wanting to set up a full-time business or a consisent side gig.
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- A Social Network: Poshmark has been designed to be a social marketplace; you can comment, share, host virtual parties, and even welcome new Poshers. There are even real-life Poshmark events and parties in different cities.
- Easy Listing: You can list as many items as you need, and the process is remarkably easy. You simply need to snap some pictures on your phone, speak or type a description and click a few buttons. This means that it only takes a minute or two for each listing without needing to log onto your computer.
- Lots of Selling Features: You can offer private discounts, offer discounts for multiple purchases, and directly share your items. Poshmark also offers free authentication for luxury items over $500 to provide buyers with more confidence on bigger purchases.
- No Returns: Once your buyer has received and accepted your item, the payment is yours. There is no need to worry about keeping the funds to one side in case of returns. The exception to this is if a dispute case is opened against you, but generally, no refunds or returns are accepted.
- Only Good Feedback is Shown: Love notes or good feedback is the only thing displayed, with negative comments or ratings not available for public viewing.
Fast Payouts: Payments are processed immediately when an item is purchased. When a buyer receives an item, they have three days to accept the item before it is automatically accepted.
- High Commission Rates: There is a flat commission rate of $2.95 for items under $15, but for sales over this amount, the commission rate is 20%. While this isn’t the highest commission for resale sites, it will cut into your profits. If you sell an item for $7, despite the buyer paying $13.79 including shipping, you’ll only receive $4.05.
- Offputting Shipping Costs: For anything under 5 pounds, the shipping is $6.79. While this is a great for a pair of boots or other heavier item, this is far too much for a bracelet or pair of earrings.
- Time-Consuming Sales Process: If you want to develop a serious side gig, you need to be aware that Poshmark can be quite time consuming. While the listing only takes a couple of minutes, you need to dedicate time to publicizing your items. This means that you need to spend a significant amount of time on the app, which breaks down into very little per hour if you analyze your profits.
- Lack of Immediate Customer Service: Poshmark customer service is limited to email, and it can often take 2 business days for a reply. These replies are often generic that may not address your question directly.
- Lots of Wholesale Items: Since the Boutique segment opened on Poshmark, the wholesale portal has become filled with sellers. This means steep competition that makes it harder to make a profit.
The Mercari Basics
Mercari began operating in Japan back in 2013. While Poshmark was well established at this point, there was no place in Japan for people to easily sell their used items online.
Mercari launched with the tag of being a “flea market app” and aimed to allow users to sell whatever items they wanted. Just like Poshmark, Mercari allows buying and selling directly from a phone, making it very convenient for users.
Since Mercari was quickly very popular in Japan, it soon became available in other locations, primarily the United States and the United Kingdom. Today, ten billion items are sold every month on Mercari. This impressive figure is largely due to the thriving Japanese marketplace, but sellers from around the world have recognized the potential of this platform.
There is some overlap with Poshmark users, but Mercari is aimed at people looking for a great deal, collectors, and people who enjoy shopping and like to get rid of their extra items.
Generally, Mercari is not the market for designer clothing. Although you can sell clothing on Mercari, they tend to have a broader appeal compared to Poshmark.
Mercari lives up to its “online flea market” tag, and you can find almost everything on sale from sports apparel to baby clothing. There are some exceptions to this, but the list is short. Items that are not allowed to buy or list are counterfeit goods and weapons.
Unlike Poshmark, which requires items to be in almost new condition, Mercari allows less than mint items to be bought and sold. So, you can sell a genuine Persian rug or an iPhone with a cracked screen. However, you need to be honest about the condition of the items you’re selling.
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- Low Commission: At only 10%, Mercari has one of the lowest commissions around.
- Easy to List: Mercari has made some great improvements, and upgrades include allowing up to 12 pictures. You can list using your phone, or a computer and Mercari continues to make it easier and faster to list items.
- Promos: Mercari also offers some great promotions for listing items. This can include discounts on commission for certain categories on certain days.
- Private Chat Facility: You can directly message sellers to ask questions or privately negotiate the price.
- Lack of Refinement: Mercari does have a feeling that it lacks refinement. For example, when you search for items, it shows available and sold items by default. This means that you need to search through far more items. Additionally, you need to scroll through all of your listings, so if you need to track a specific item, it can be problematic.
- Increased Shipping Costs: Mercari has raised its shipping prices recently. While it is cheaper than regular USPS shipping rates, it makes items over 1 pound more expensive than Poshmark. This means that you will need to either convince your buyer to pay more or swallow the higher costs.
- Slow Payments: Until you and your buyer rate each other, your funds are held. This is recommended within 48 hours of delivery, but if your buyer fails to rate you promptly, you may need to wait several days for automatic fund release. Additionally, free payment transfers can take up to 5 business days or pay $2 for transfers up to $500 each month within minutes.
- Scammers: While any buying and selling platform is vulnerable to scammers, there have been a number of stories that relate to Mercari. However, Mercari continues to improve policing and procedures to minimize this.
The eBay Basics
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of decades, you’re likely to be familiar with eBay. This online platform has been around since 1995, and from the very beginning, it was designed to be a marketplace to buy and sell goods and services.
As the site took off, the founders brought on an experienced management team who shed the image of only auctioning collectible items to move towards different upscale markets. This allowed eBay to develop a structure for transaction fees that reflected the average sale price along with other factors.
eBay has established a person-to-person online trading community, where buyers and sellers are brought together. You can sell practically anything on eBay and items are arranged into categories or topics, with a category for each type of auction.
eBay globalized and streamlined the traditional person-to-person trading that had previously been limited to flea markets, garage sales and newspaper listings.
You need to go through the registration process, but you can immediately list items within minutes.
Today, there are 250 million classified users on eBay, with 25 million sellers and 12 billion listings. This adds up to a gross merchandise volume of almost $100 billion each year.
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- International Potential: Unlike Mercari and Poshmark, eBay allows you to sell worldwide. This creates more potential for even more sales, and you can sell practically anything.
Phone Customer Service: If you have an urgent problem, you can get immediate answers with eBay phone customer service. It is available between 5 am and 10 pm every day.
- Minimal Time Commitment: While you need to log onto your computer, eBay requires minimal time commitment. You can list your items in minutes, and you don’t need to spend time sharing and promoting.
- Optional Extras: Returns are optional on eBay, and if you use PayPal for shipping, you can gain access to commercial shipping rates. This can not only save you a couple of dollars but make it more economical to offer free shipping and attract more customers.
- Slower Payments: Buying an item or winning an auction doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically receive a payment. You need to wait for the buyer to pay you, which can take days. If your buyer fails to pay, you’ll need to chase them via email or invoice. You can open a case against a non-paying buyer, but you will need to let the item sit there until it is resolved.
- Up to 180 Day Returns: If buyers use PayPal, they have 180 days to file for a return. This means that even if you stated that you don’t accept returns on your eBay listing, the buyer could dispute their payment. This means that months after you’ve spent your cash, you could get a notice that your buyer wants to return the item.
- Slower Listing: Compared to other platforms, eBay listing can be a little time-consuming. There are several screens to go through for each item. However, you can copy listings if you’re selling multiples or alter the listing for slightly different items.
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Which is Best?
Each of these platforms has distinct pros and cons, so it can be challenging to choose the right one for you. Fortunately, each platform draws different sellers that we’ll explore here to help you find which one is best for you.
Poshmark is aimed more at people who want to make money out of their closet. If you have a few designer items that you want to sell to finance your next purchase, then Poshmark could be what you’re looking for.
Although there is a boutique section, it tends to be packed with wholesale items, making it a highly competitive market. You will need to check that your items are in great condition and have the designer credentials to sell on Poshmark.
You may also find that your profits are cut, as you browse through the items for sale and find some bargains you want to buy for yourself.
Mercari does offer greater flexibility. Your items don’t need to be limited to designer clothing that is in great condition. You can sell practically anything, but you are limited to U.S buyers, and you will need to be honest about the item’s condition.
The commission rate is reasonable, and items are easy to list. However, some of the shipping rates can seem costly, particularly if you want to offer free shipping and need to swallow the expense.
You will also need to be prepared to wait for your funds to arrive. You not only need to wait for the buyer to pay, but also wait 5 business days for your funds transfer, unless you want to pay an additional fee.
eBay is a long standing online marketplace that offers the potential to sell practically anything. There is a tiered fee structure that can take a little getting used to, as you will need to factor these charges into your selling costs and you will need to weigh everything to calculate your shipping charges.
Although the listing process is a little clunkier than the other two options, it does allow for selling large volumes of items without needing to promote your items.
While like Mercari, you’ll need to wait for your buyer to pay, if you use PayPal, the funds will be available in your account for other purchases or transferring into your bank account.
If none of the platforms are screaming that they are the right one for you, then you may wish to consider cross listing. With free listings and other promotions, it may be beneficial to list your items on multiple platforms to gain access to a wider audience pool.
You will need to be on the ball, if you have limited numbers of items, as you will need to pull it from one platform if it sells on the other. However, if you’re organized and can keep track of your listings, it could be very beneficial to cross list.
Whether you want to sell a few items to clear out your closet or develop a side gig to supplement your income, there are some great buying and selling platforms available.
Poshmark, Mercari, and eBay all offer some great benefits to suit your specific requirements. Just be sure to explore the full terms and conditions to ensure that you make the most of these platforms and keep your potential buyers happy.