Steps That May Help You Sell More On Mercari

Steps That May Help You Sell More On Mercari

On a daily basis I read comments by sellers on a Facebook Group for Mercari Sellers that often remind me of my early days as a seller on and eBay. 

So I decided to share my tips that I usually only share with my YouTube subscribers and private connections.  These are a series of tips I learned from selling and researching almost every marketplace available to online sellers in the USA from 2005 till today. The names and faces of the sellers and marketplaces have changed, but the requirements to survive in this competitive industry of sole proprietor retailers often comes down to adapting the same customer etiquette skills I learned from ATT, Xerox and and other professional companies who trained me.  

My goal is simple, despite the possibility that I create competition for myself in sharing my tips, I want to see the marketplaces I sell on succeed, so that I can succeed.  

I see a positive environment building on the Mercari Marketplace as it moves towards expanding from being centrally APP driven to also being website accessible.  Mercari gives me hope after fifteen years of neglect by eBay towards small retailers.  2017 was the year I accepted the inevitable, that eBay cared little about the small sole proprietor in favor of medium to large companies, LLC's and importers who can discount and sell in quantity.  This is why I think Mercari becoming website accessible is so important. It is a light arising in the days of darkness.  I am not alone in my sentiment about eBay in particular.

What follows is a post, I wrote to help fellow Mercari sellers participating in a Facebook Group. I decided I might as well bring it to my blog since I had already written out the core for the Facebook group, though here on the SellerThink blog, I am expanding on the topic.  

Writing A Professional Biography

Mercari gives every seller an opportunity to create their own bio.  The bio is a great tool for Mercari sellers if they utilize it correctly.   I recommend writing a professional sounding bio for your profile (your bio should give your basic policies, how long you take to ship, how you ship - do you ship in old coffee containers or do you ship with bubble wrap, boxes, padded envelopes?, do you bundle upon request? Do you negotiate prices?, avoid hostile and negative and passive-aggressive statements),

Here is an example of Bio Text that I posted recently when replying to a comment on a SellerThink YouTube video.   

Selling Online Since 2010
Shipping is USPS First Class and Priority Mail Only
Bundling Available Prior To Purchase Only
All Prices are firm
New Manufacture Sealed products can not be returned if opened or used. Shipping prices are based on label weight.
Ships in a box or padded envelope.
Purchases PROCESSED for shipping Within 1 to 3 Business days. Monday thru Friday till 2 PM PST (excluding Holidays) 
Buyer Ratings to complete the sale are appreciated within 3 days after your package has been delivered.

Compare the sample Bio text to this real Bio I screen captured on Mercari recently. I come across similar Mercari biographies as the one shown in the photo below on a daily basis, and I cringe.

Make your Bio count, be professional, it's what we call a "Policies Page" on other marketplaces.  It should give the potential customer confidence that you are going to deliver the product, how long it will take for you to take it to the shipper, etc.

Photos Matter

Take clear photos with good lighting against a solid white or at least non-distracting background.
On the Facebook group where I originally posted these recommendations, something all to common occurred, a seller attempted to contradict and dispute everything I wrote, including my suggestions for photos.  They started with, "I've been selling for X many years and I'm a professional seller", then they suggested my recommendations of shooting products against a white or solid non-distracting background were wrong, and that Mercari wanted all the photos to be "environment" oriented, or in other words, taken against the carpet on the floor or in front of a bed.  Even after I posted Mercari's new photo recommendations which are the same as my recommendations, they continued to dispute it.  Flexibility and the ability to adapt as Mercari moves to expand it's marketplace to the web and beyond will be needed to succeed.

Titles and Keywords

At the time of this article, Mercari primarily uses the title (similar to eBay) for its search results. Despite during recent versions of the Iphone and Android app having three "HashTags" for keywords; at the moment, these Hash Tags do not show on its website version. It's likely Mercari will modify its search and keyword filtering methods for product listings in the near future: Until that time, Product Titles are still you best place to use specific and accurate Product Keywords.

Create titles for listings that have keywords (research and use titles others have used on products that have already sold)
Product Descriptions

Give details in the description - size, color, weight if applicable, flaws and blemishes, smells (does it smell), condition (new, like new, very good, good, fair/acceptable), quantity being sold. I also recommend repeating the products title on the first line of the products description.

The photo below is of a handmade wooden welcome sign featuring a dog. The actual description says, "Indoor use only - Measures 10”x5.25” based on Mercari's previous App update in which Mercari began requiring a minimal line of text in the description field, this is a step in the right direction. However, when the full website comes online, I suspect Mercari will adjust it's search algorithms to check the description for keywords. Regardless, this items Description is going to waste, when it could be helping to sell this product.

A better description for the product below, could include the title of the product, the size as already provided, the materials used, etc.

"Handmade Miniature Pinsetter Welcome Sign, Size 10 x 5 x 25, Made of Compressed Wood, Yarn hanger and acrylic paint.  This product should only be used indoors."


Similar to eBay, sellers are given an avatar photo slow to use.  Many Mercari sellers use this for a "Selfie Photo", others simply place a landscape background like the ocean with a sunrise.   The Avatar is your second most important seller location to customize your store.  First you have your Bio, then you have your Avatar.

A good avatar will get you more business than a bad avatar, despite the arguments I often encounter from those sellers who would argue the paint off a piece of wood.

Have a nice avatar (selfies are not always the best option, consider having someone on make you a logo), if using a selfie try not to look trashy and keep your Miley Cyrus tongue inside your mouth behind a smile)

Another common problem with using a personal selfie is safety and security purposes.  Mercari has a large community of women selling on its platform and many are very attractive. Attractive Mercari sellers receive additional visits to their bio and product page than less attractive sellers, sellers using a logo, or sellers using a generic landscape of an ocean.  But that also means these sellers are getting stalkers, so Let's talk about that!

Let's take this into consideration for a moment. A very attractive woman has their selfie photo as their avatar image. A stalker type now knows what you look like.  Most likely if you are using a selfie on Mercari, you are also using your real name (discussed below) for your store name.  Now, you have someone make a purchase and you're really happy when that sale comes.  You package it nicely, put in a thank you card, ship it.  You get rated and the money is now in your Mercari account waiting to be deposited or spent.  Sounds good?  Now lets think about this.  Your stalker now knows what you look like, knows your name, your package confirms your name, but they also now have your home address. Get it?  

Use A Store Name (aka closet name) that Sizzles and Tells What You Sell!

In film school, you learn that to actually sell your screenplay to a studio for potential movie consideration, you have to give what filmmakers call, SIZZLE in your title and treatment of the script. For reasons previously discussed about why you need to skip using a selfie for your avatar photo, the same applies to your closet and store name.  For safety reasons at the very minimal, you don't want everyone (and were talking millions of people) to know your name and be able to Google Search information about you, including your social media information.  So use a store name.

The seller presented in the photo below has named their store "Dog's Rule" and its entirely appropriate since their focus is on products for Dogs.  Anyone shopping from this store will remember Dog's Rule much easier than Lupita Gonzalez for a store name.   Of course a trendy name that Sizzle's can work just as well, consider the Retail Store, Forever 21 as an example.  What you want to do as a seller, even in your early beginning on Mercari, eBay, Etsy or anywhere else, is to establish a name, image and hopefully customers who will follow you when you decide to expand, sell on other marketplaces, or perhaps open up a Retail Cart in your local shopping center.

Your store name is your third tool in creating your stores identity and customization.  Rename your "closet" store to something meaningful and / or related to your products.

In my thirteen years of selling online, in all honesty, I've never come across a group of sellers with less comprehension of customer service etiquette. Some sellers on Mercari are straight out rude, seemingly over privileged people. It's utterly shocking some of the screenshots Mercari sellers take of their own messages to customers or potential customers.

The seller in the following photo received a warning for being rude and hostile towards a customer. They start off attempting to solicit sympathy to their defense, and then concede that they treated their customer like a jerk.

Make the grade! If you are receiving GOOD or POOR ratings, you're doing something wrong, Treat your customers better than you expect to be treated when you walk into Nordstroms, or at the very least Walmart.

When you sell on Mercari you are not only representing yourself, you are also representing every single seller on Mercari, and the Mercari Corporation.  No one wants to encounter a rude, hostile or immature seller, yet, often that is what many experience.

Take it to the next level.  Treat your customers better than you expect to be treated, whether you are shopping online, visiting Nordstroms, or walking around in your pajama's at WalMart.

To be fair, many people come from environments where courtesy, manners, common etiquette are never learned.  The moment you become a seller on any marketplace, you are expected to have some of those skills, and on Mercari in particular, you're lack of common kindness may end up getting you banned.

I came from a family where basic courtesy was learned, but to learn how to provide customer service, to realize how my personal presentation in person, on the phone, or in written text affects business and sales, I had to receive training.  Fortunately, several of the companies I worked for over the years, took customer service very seriously and sent me and other on their team to Xerox, ATT and college workshops to learn the skills we needed. They may seem trivial now, as some sellers think, "this is just a hobby", but it is often today's hobby sellers, that become tomorrows leading companies. Amazon is a perfect example, started by a former eBay seller who got fed up with eBay's hostile seller polices and launched a marketplace out of a home garage.

I didn't address other area's of selling online that are are already covered in the SellerThink YouTube videos, such as Shipping.