Mercari reverses itself on returns for any reason

I just received an email from Mercari. It doesn’t say anything about changes to their new fee structure, however:

"We recently announced a “returns for any reason” policy in an effort to make it even easier to buy and sell on Mercari. After careful consideration and listening intently to feedback from our seller community, we have decided to reinstate our prior return policy effective May 22, 2024 at 12:00 AM PST. “Returns for any reason” will no longer apply.

Starting May 22, 2024 at 12:00 AM PST, buyers will have a 3-day period to return inaccurately described items. This allows for some flexibility for buyers, while respecting sellers’ time and effort in listing, packaging, and mailing items.

We remain committed to piloting policies that benefit our entire community, and we’ll continue to act swiftly to adapt when needed."

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A pretty-stark contrast to what SEAmod said about Amazon policy (link, NSFE) earlier today:

Sigh.

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That is quite the response, isn’t it? The one thing that would make all of that more acceptable is if Amazon consistently applied its promise to cover INR claims if Amazon Buy Shipping is used.

I honestly believe that if INR claims were not so easily won (particularly on Amazon, but this applies to other merchants as well), more buyers would wake up and realize they have to take some responsibility for making sure their parcels are delivered (use delivery lockers, get a PO or UPS Store box, buy one of those locking boxes or mailboxes, keep better track of what you’ve ordered and when it’s arriving, etc etc).

I’ve been shopping online for decades and have had only one parcel never arrive (not sure if it never got to my house or was stolen). And that’s while living in apartment complexes and a single-family home. I’ve even had parcels delivered to other houses on my street that neighbors I don’t even know brought to me.

I do understand that thievery is rampant and that buyers can’t always control everything, but I also think there is a gap to be narrowed. Too many people leave too many things to chance. A little bit of tough love is in order – for buyers. There is so much online buying now that I think the merchant platforms could put more responsibility on buyers. The retail apocalypse continues to claim brick-and-mortar stores, so there are fewer and fewer alternatives, therefore online buying is not likely to take a hit.

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Wow, this seems like a terrible business model. They have it all backwards.

I checked, the zero selling fee is a lie. They charge the buyer a “service fee” which is essentially the same as a selling fee except it makes the buyer feel bad. A seller selling an item for $50 and who pays a $10 referral fee nets out to be the exact same financial situation as that same seller selling it for $40, pays no referral fee, but the buyer gets a $10 fee tacked on, except the latter situation increases the chance the buyer abandons the purchase when they find out they have to pay more than they thought.

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Mercari said that they made that change intentionally, to attract a higher quality clientele.

Some Amazon 3P Sellers intentionally charge shipping for the same reason.

Personally, I neither shop nor sell on Mercari, but I generally think fee transparency for consumers is a good thing.

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While most people can figure out that $50 free shipping is the same as $40 + $10 shipping, there’s a significant proportion of the population who think the free shipping is a better deal, and I want their money.

Same goes for the buyer fee. At the end of the day it’s the same thing, but I’d want the business from dumb people.

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I cannot imagine buying or selling on Mercari. It is a total mismatch for what I buy and what I would want to sell.

The demographics which it appears the merchandise appeals to is one that I have no interest in selling to or buying for.

Some Ebayers have commented that they see no reduction in prices in the categories they have checked on Mercari. I assume that may be because there are few volume sellers who feel it is worth repricing.

It is probably too soon to tell if they make any gains.

I assume that the backpedaling on the returns policy was because they realized the fee elimination for sellers was not enough to make it worth the added burden on sellers.

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I recently looked at the site to determine if it might be a good platform for my products, both handmade and destash/vintage.

Nope. The prices were alarmingly cheap. Making $2 profit on a just-one item, when you had to take/edit pictures, write a description, and then package? Just no. I’d rather give it away.

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Well, as someone who’s never heard of this site, when I visited it my first impression is a negative one.

The first thing I see is a big banner advertising how resale is better than retail because it’s cheaper. This gives me the impression that they’re aiming to be a cheaper, crappier version of ebay that primarily/exclusively sells used items.

This is basically them branding themselves as a flea market.

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Unfortunately, dumb people are often high maintenance customers. Some of us are more tolerant of the needs of the stupid than others are.

I try to heed the old antique dealer’s advice - No business is better than bad business.

Fortunately, I have never wished to be as rich as Jeff Bezos or even Pierre Omidyar.

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Really depends on the product and your volume. For antiques, yes, you don’t want PITA customers. For almost any mass market good you do want that business. If you’re selling used stuff online, as is the case with mercari, I would think you do want that business since you’re selling something that’s kind of low quality (used items), and you want the eyeballs on listings to increase the odds that it moves.

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Mass market requires you make low margin high pain sales some if not all of the time. It is why I have never been involved in a true mass market business.

Even when I sold commodity mass market products, they were sold as premium quality, premium priced products which appealed to buyers who would never buy a mass market product.

It is not clear to me that anyone could successfully implement such a strategy today, though I sometimes do see a product which tries to do so.

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We sell a fair amount on Mercari; since it’s supported by the cross-listing service we use, very little effort to list there along with eBay and Poshmark. And we’ve sold some fairly high-end items (including a $200 set of books). But by no means are they near the top in regards to making sales; but again, no downside to listing there as well as other places.

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Exactly this. ^^^ People shopping for vintage or high-end gently used clothing, jewelry, and accessory items at more affordable prices (than brand-new) definitely shop several different sites, including eBay, Poshmark, and Mercari–and “flea markets,” estate sales, auctions, etc.

Why not advertise to them at all the places they might try? :woman_shrugging:

And if those aren’t your products/customers, why take the time and energy to be snobbish about a sales channel you clearly are unfamiliar with, both personally and professionally? Business is business.

Congratulations on your Mercari success @Picks_by_Nisha, and thanks for keeping SellersAskSellers updated @Bird_of_Paradise ! Who knows, you might have tipped off a fellow community member to another platform option for their own success. :sunglasses:

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I will say that if we had to create the listings from scratch, Mercari would probably not be worth it. But since it’s supported by the listing service we already use, it’s a no-brainer. But Poshmark is the big winner in this regard (we sell a lot of costume jewelry, which does well on Poshmark, and okay on Mercari).

I think the only one that we ended up trying and dropping was Depop; I think we’re a few decades too old to appeal to their market, and not quite seamless in using.

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