Mobile selling app Mercari is dramatically raising shipping costs for those who use its prepaid shipping labels, leaving users worried that some items will become too expensive to buy and sell through the venue, which is like a mobile version of eBay with a flavor of Craigslist thrown in. The changes take effect in one week on February 25, 2019, and we checked in with the company to learn what was behind the changes.
As a reminder, Mercari does shipping differently than other venues; here’s a brief explanation:
“Mercari allows sellers to choose who pays for shipping. If the seller picks up the tab, their items will have a “free shipping” icon. Or, they can choose to have the buyer pay for shipping. Mercari works to make shipping simple for sellers, offering prepaid labels or “ship on your own.” It also offers “Pack and Ship,” where sellers can take their item to a The UPS Store location so they don’t have to find a box and package the item.”
Sellers got the bad news about shipping costs last week:
Effective February 25th at 9 PM PT, prices of shipments using our prepaid labels are increasing. We are moving our shipping prices closer to market rates, while still offering approximately 30% off retail. We’ll continue to offer the option to ship on your own.
We remain committed to making shipping easy – even if it’s your first time. We offer a single price for shipments to any of the 50 states. This allows you to sell to the millions of people using the app for one price. If you’re shipping across the country or around the corner, the price is the same. No surprises.
$200 Shipping Protection now included
To provide peace of mind for your shipments, we’re introducing $200 Shipping Protection. Your shipments using Mercari prepaid labels will include insurance up to $200 for items that are lost or damaged in transit. You can file claims right from the app.
There’s no need to update the Mercari app – you’ll see these changes on February 25th. Any listings made before February 25th at 9 PM PT will not be impacted at this time.
We recognize these price increases will be difficult but believe they are necessary to continue improving the marketplace. We appreciate your support and look forward to selling together long into the future.
Note that while the comparison to USPS “retail” rates is applicable for consumer-sellers who would otherwise bring their packages to the post office, shippers like Mercari (and its business sellers) who purchase postage online receive “commercial” rates that are lower than retail.
Also note that in the email, Mercari announces it’s improving shipping insurance for those who continue to use prepaid labels. But the rate change will likely move sellers who do any kind of volume on Mercari to opt for the “ship on your own” – especially if they use third-party services to manage shipping, which can offer better rates and greater convenience.
Some sellers compared Mercari’s new rates to those of its rival Poshmark. A seller on Reddit said, “Just noticed the 1-3 lb shipment is $11! Oof. Poshmark was able to negotiate a USPS flat rate of $6.79 for everything up to 5 lbs. Wonder if Mercari will ever be able to swing a deal like that for 1-5 lbs.”
Some Callouts in Changes to USPS Rates
Current USPS rate: Under 1 pound: $4.25
New USPS rate: Under 0.5 pounds: $4.25 (no change); 0.5 – 1 pound $5.25 (23.5% increase)
Current USPS rate: 1 – 3 pounds: $8
New USPS rate: $11 (37.5% increase)
Current USPS rate: 3 – 10 pounds: $13
New rate: $16 (23% increase)
Some Callouts in Changes to FedEx Rates
Current FedEx rate: 1 – 3 pounds: $6.50
New FedEx rate: $9.90 (52% increase)
Current FedEx rate: 3 – 10 pounds: $9.80
New FedEx rate: $11.50 (17% increase)
Some Callouts in Changes to UPS Rates
UPS rates aren’t changing for packages up to 3 pounds ($20)
Current UPS rate: 3 – 10 pounds: $20
New UPS rate: $30 (50% increase)
Current UPS rate: 10 – 20 pounds: $30
New UPS rate: $40 (33% increase)
Mercari sellers should check the notification they received to see the complete rate list to determine how they will be impacted by the changes.
Bradford Williams, Head of Communications at Mercari US, said the company is adjusting its shipping prices to bring them closer to market rates. “These new rates are still an average of 30% lower than retail. Sellers can continue to ship items on their own using their own labels if they choose,” he said.
“We work hard to make shipping easy – even if it’s your first time selling. We offer a single rate to all 50 states (including Alaska and Hawaii). Prices on the app are the same for items shipped across the country or around the corner.”
Williams also compared Mercari fees to competitors. “Mercari sellers tell us they love our flat 10% selling fee and the absence of additional fees. Mercari’s selling fee is half of Poshmark’s. And eBay’s complex pricing is exacerbated by zone-priced shipping, which can be expensive and unpredictable.”
“We recognize these price increases will be difficult for some,” he said, “but we believe they’re necessary to continue improving the marketplace.”
You can learn more on how shipping works on Mercari on the following pages.