Choosing the right online selling platform will make the difference between earning top dollar for your store’s inventory vs watching it sit idle.
Ebay, Poshmark, and Mercari are among the largest online selling marketplaces out there, serving a combined 266 million customers. Clearly there’s no shortage of customer loyalty across these platforms, but how do they each fare with sellers?
As a part-time online seller myself, I have tried and tested these platforms over the years, and will break down which is the best reselling platform so you can maximize your income.
- Ease of Use
- Special Features
- Audience Sizes
- Experience for Sellers
- Access to Funds
- The Verdict
1. Platform Fees
Every selling platform has a different fee structure, ranging from monthly store fees to insertion fees for products listed.
It’s important to understand how these fee structures compare between platforms so you won’t be blind sided and can decide if the fees justify the service.
Unlike its counterparts, eBay fees will vary. On average they are around 13%, but can range all the way from 0% (shoe category on sales of $100+) to 15% (watches category).
eBay now manages the entire check out process (cut out Paypal), so eBay fees jumped from their longtime amount of 10% to today’s 12.5% as a result.
Sellers have several opportunities to decrease eBay fees, such as signing up for an eBay store which can bring fees down to around 10.5%.
Mercari charges sellers 13% on sales. Learn why Mercari fees are so high.
For sales under $15 Poshmark charges a flat fee of $2.95. For sales over $15, the seller fee is 20%
Winner: eBay edges out the competition when it comes to fees, which is a big reason selling on eBay for beginners is recommended.
Although Mercari also has 13% seller fees, several product categories charge sub 13% fees on eBay (shoe category on $100+ sales are 0% seller fees, and guitars are only 5.85% seller fees).
Platform Ease of Use for Sellers
The easier a platform is to use, the quicker sellers can list items, find out their store metrics, and handle tasks like shipping and responding to customers.
Each platform offers a desktop and app version of their marketplaces so sellers have options when it comes to when/how they list and run their business.
Being the most mature platform in the bunch (marketplace is 25+ years old), eBay is still going through some growing pains as it evolves the seller experience from the late 1990s days.
When listing items, eBay’s mobile app requires the most input fields of these 3 marketplaces which can definitely slow down the listing process when compared to Mercari and Poshmark.
As a result, a lot of sellers handle listing on their computer for a quicker experience. eBay’s seller hub is pretty good these days, and centralizes things like shipping, returns, messages and listing in one place which is helpful.
Mercari excels when it comes to ease of use, since it was designed to help sellers to list as quickly as possible.
Keeping it simple is one of the biggest tips for selling on Mercari.
To do so, only must-have input fields are required when listing (photos, title, description, delivery method, and price), not to mention the app itself is very minimalist and intuitive.
This platform is perfect for the no frills seller who wants to get up and running quickly and is interested in streamlined but modern online marketplace. Learn how to sell on Mercari today.
Similar to Mercari, Poshmark has a simple and intuitive design making it easy to use for beginner sellers. Poshmark is geared towards clothing and fashion, so a few more input fields exist on the listing page such as “Size” and “Style Tags”.
A core feature of Poshmark is it’s social media flair when it comes to selling clothing online.
That’s just one of the many tips for selling on Poshmark.
Sellers are encouraged to visit other seller’s closets (online stores) and like their listings and can even comment on their listings with questions to build their stores following.
This means sellers also need to be social on the platform if they want to generate serious sales.
Winner: Merari takes the cake on this one, due to it’s intuitive and no frills experience for sellers. You’ll be able to get up and running in minutes.
Although snazzy features are not more important than core marketplace functionality, they can make the selling experience far more fun and enjoyable. Let’s explore what bonus features are available to sellers on each platform.
- Auction style selling available
- Ability to generate more visibility for listings with promoted listings and offers to buyers
- Time away settings available (a.k.a vacation mode)
- Free authenticity checks for high priced items to protect buyers and sellers. This feature is most used when selling shoes on eBay.
- Mercari Local, automatically schedules an Uber driver to pick up and drop off local sales, so you can skip face to face meetups. Making local selling incredibly convenient whether you’re selling an Apple Watch or used furniture.
- Ability to send offers to buyers and promote listings
- Free ad network promotion through Google Shopping
- Social network capabilities provide opportunities to connect with your store’s audience and followers (using Posh Stories)
- Vacation Hold option for sellers to pause their store and prevent new sales when needed
- Posh Parties are live shopping events hosted on the app as another outlet for sellers to generate sales
Winner: There’s no clear winner when it comes to features, because everyone will value these features a little differently. Regardless, each platform offers a great suite of features to aid in the selling process.
Marketplace Audience Size
Bigger audience means higher likelihood of sales, so it’s important to understand how the selling platform customer bases compare.
eBay’s marketplace hosts 187 million users.
Mercari’s marketplace boasts 19 million users.
Poshmark’s platform serves 60 million users.
Winner: eBay wins this one by a sizable margin. That said, eBay’s had at least 16 more years than its competitors to grow its user base, and the new kids on the block are gaining users quickly.
For beginners, the shipping process can be intimidating. Therefore, it’s worth knowing which online marketplaces simplify the process and which leave sellers to fend for themselves.
Some platforms take it a step further and will even reduce shipping costs on sellers helping them keep more profit in their pockets. Shipping costs can easily stack up as well.
Sellers have the ability to ship locally (buyer pick ups item), nationwide, and globally (Global Shipping Program).
Within the shipping interface, sellers can view postage pricing for the major carriers such as Fedex and USPS, along with their seller shipping discount applied as well.
New sellers will probably need to go through the process a few times before getting the hang of it.
That said, eBay puts control in the seller’s hands, which helps save a few dollars in the shipping process since you can fine tune package weight/sizing.
For example, sellers have the option to sell books on eBay using Media Mail for maximum savings. Shipping internationally is also possible.
With Mercari, shipping is baked into the seller’s payout, which means you’ll receive a prepaid shipping label. Sellers can opt out of this method if they wish to arrange shipping themselves.
Sellers can save up to 60% on postage with Mercari’s prepaid postage and also receive $200 sellers insurance.
Mercari also partnered with UPS so seller’s don’t have to bother with the shipping label, they just pack it and scan the QR code at a UPS store.
After a sale, sellers are automatically emailed a prepaid USPS shipping label (covered by the sale fee). From there, sellers simply pack the item and slap on the label.
Winner: Each platform’s shipping process is pretty equal when it comes to pricing. However, Mercari has the slight advantage with the number of ways they improve the shipping experience for sellers.
For example, they offer Mercari Local and the UPS partnership in which sellers don’t need to print labels.
Seller Experience & Policies
Not every sale will go according to plan. Sometimes packages are lost and buyer disputes happen.
In these situations it’s important to know what kind of support is available to sellers, because not every platform is created equal when it comes to seller experience.
- Ongoing transaction monitoring to ensure all payments are secure for sellers
- For false “item not as described” claims, eBay supplies a $6 return shipping label credit for top rated sellers.
- Automatic seller feedback correction, when sellers receive bad feedback for reasons outside of their control
- Shipments using Mercari prepaid labels include Shipping Protection up to $200 for items that are lost or damaged in transit.
- Mercari gives buyers a 3 day window to initiate a refund, but after that, all sales are final. Some platforms like eBay have been known to “okay” a refund 30 days past the sale.
- All orders over $400 require a signature upon delivery, which helps protect sellers on larger sales.
- Poshmark will not accept refunds simply because an item does not fit or because the buyer changed their mind. Weak reasons for returns is a common nuisance for sellers. Poshmark looks out for sellers by offering stricter guidelines for what qualifies as a return and what doesn’t.
Winner: Poshmark wins when it comes to the seller experience, due to how fairly they structured their return policy. Mercari and eBay still offer great seller experiences, but not quite at the level of Poshmark.
Access to Funds
No one likes waiting around to access money they have a right to. Understanding how and when sellers can access their earnings is an important part of the overall experience.
After a sale, sellers can usually access their payout within 1-2 days, but it can take up to 3 business days. Earnings are delivered directly to the seller’s checking account.
After a sale, payouts are held in the seller’s balance page, until the seller requests a bank deposit. From there, the deposit will take 2-5 days to appear in the seller’s bank account depending on the financial institution.
Earnings are transferred to sellers via direct deposits usually within 2-3 business days.
Winner: All 3 platforms send payments to sellers as direct deposits. Ultimately, the lag time will depend more so on the financial institution than the online marketplace, this is a draw.
Mercari, eBay, and Poshmark are great online marketplaces, each with its own unique mix of features and target audience. Overall, eBay and Mercari came out ahead, each winning 2 categories, while Poshmark won 1 category.
For me, I like the features that come with eBay a little more than Mercari, so my personal favorite would be eBay.
John-Paul Cody has been an avid online seller for years, across platforms including eBay, Mercari, Craigslist, and more. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from UNC Chapel Hill, and works in data analytics and marketing.