Selling goods online: A highlight on Mercari

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Selling goods online: a highlight on Mercari, online shopping

Whether you’re using a yard sale app or a sell and ship app, selling online can be lucrative. Online selling has been around for a while, but it is still new to many people. This article will break down how to successfully sell your used possessions online using sell and ship type apps with highlights on the Mercari app.

What are sell and ship type apps?

Sell and ship apps are the simplest form of selling online. After a buyer purchases one of your listings, you print the label and confirm shipment of the item all online in one app. The most common apps in this category are Mercari, Poshmark, and Facebook Marketplace. The only leg work you have to do is list the item and ship it once it sells. Thankfully, USPS and most other carrier services offer package pick up, so you don’t have to go farther than your mailbox to ship sold items.

Be realistic about what you’re selling

People buy almost anything as long as it is in decent condition. Some broken items such as electronics can still be sold for parts, just don’t expect to get a lot for them. Tattered clothes, shoes, scratched up CDs and DVDs, and anything else that is beyond use should be thrown out, recycled, or upcycled if possible. Try to choose potential sale items that are in good condition. New products with or without tags sell well as long as they’re in great condition.

Be honest when selling goods

It may be tempting to “forget” to disclose a minuscule flaw in the item you’re listing. Always. Be. Honest. Leaving out even the tiniest flaw could result in a bad rating. In most sales apps, the buyer is required to leave a rating after their purchase has been delivered. If a buyer is dissatisfied because of a flaw, they may call you out on it … publicly. We’ve all seen how nasty Yelp reviews can be, so always be completely transparent about any flaws the item may have!

Great photos make great sales

It’s 2020 and almost everyone has a smartphone with ridiculously awesome camera features. Take the time to capture great photos of your listing item. Pick an area with good lighting that doesn’t cast too much of a shadow. Make sure your photos are in focus and don’t look fuzzy. Fuzzy photos may obscure flaws and leave you with a dissatisfied buyer.

Pricing your sale items fairly

Mercari’s pricing feature is my favorite part of their app. When I am deciding on a price, this tool will show me similar items that have sold and for how much. This information helps me to fairly price my listing so I’m not overpricing nor missing out on a potentially bigger sale. If you’re still uncertain, look up the item in question on multiple websites to get a better idea of its value. If the item is new with tags, don’t expect it to sell for the price on the tag. Unless it’s a discontinued item or in high demand, expect it to sell for at least 10% less than its retail value.

Often times, potential buyers will send you an offer on a listing. You can counter or accept. I despise bargaining, but I’ll do a little haggling until we settle on an agreeable price. If you don’t want to accept an offer for any less than your original listing price, stay your ground. If your price is firm, stick with it.

Packaging and shipping

Don’t waste your money on packaging supplies from your local USPS or office supply store. People are constantly ordering online, and they almost always throw out or recycle the packaging. Ask friends and family to save all their boxes, padded envelopes, bubble wrap, etc. for you. The original labels can be easily peeled off so no one’s identity is at risk. The only items I suggest purchasing are packing tape, thank you cards, and possibly wrapping paper from the dollar store.

Cards add a lovely touch and tell the buyer that you’re genuinely appreciative of them doing business with you. Wrapping paper can be used to disguise silly boxes that you’re repurposing as packaging supplies. For example, I had so many sales one month that I used a clean cereal box to ship a sold item! Another reason to use wrapping paper is if you’re shipping purchases around holidays. People love receiving their purchases all wrapped up in Christmas paper! It was pretty much like gift wrapping and it cost me less than a dollar.

Conflict with a buyer

You’re bound to have at least one customer that isn’t satisfied with their order. Our first instinct might be to get defensive. Give yourself at least 12 to 24 hours to consider the complaint. If the problem is with the item itself, try to resolve it. If the problem is with shipping or delivery, that’s out of your hands. Once the package is picked up by the mail carrier, you can’t control how quickly or when it gets delivered. Most apps will provide a tracking number on all shipping labels. The tracking number protects you as a seller.

A few years ago, I made a sale and shipped it. The post office marked it as delivered a few days later. The seller sent me a complaint that they never received the item. Since USPS had scanned it into their system, the responsibility was no longer on my shoulders. The app forced the sale through so I would get paid. The buyer, on the other hand, had to wait 48 hours before filing a claim with Mercari. Whether the buyer was telling the truth or not, I don’t know; but Mercari is pretty good about helping out both parties during and after a transaction.

Ratings the buyer

Just like any review or rating, be honest. There is no need to be nasty if you had an issue with the buyer. Simply state the facts as to why you gave them a high or low rating. Mercari uses a five-star structure along with a few key points such as a quick shipper, communicative, understanding, etc. You also have the option to type in a personalized review.

Always remember, even though you are not a storefront or a big commercial store, you’re still required to have some level of common courtesy and professionalism. Selling online can be a financial game changer if you maintain good customer service.

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