News Article

Mercari to lure more into its online marketplace with new Tokyo store

Mercari, the popular online flea market operator, have said they will try their hand at brick and mortar operations in the hope of targeting tens of millions of untapped customers on the Japanese market, enabling them to sell their used goods on the spot and manage anything from imagery to shipment.

The physical store is one of the new programs of the company that seek to attract new users of its iconic internet service by reducing the thresholds for adoption. The move is expected to increase the use of its online secondhand market for both novices and busy operators.

According to a recent survey, there are 36.1 million “potential users” who are willing to sell items on the Mercari app, however, they haven’t yet taken a shot at it. “These customers feel the hurdle of using our service. Some of them don’t know how to wrap the items,” said Mercari Japan CEO Hirohisa Tamonoki.

The physical store, which is set to be called Mercari Station, will allow people to take photos of their products in a booth so they can post advertisements online, and will wrap and send the goods for customers who place them in a “Mercari Post” mailbox. Company staff will also be on hand to show customers how to use the Mercari app.

Mercari, headquartered in Tokyo, said the first store would open in the Marui department store in Shinjuku this spring before more pop-up in shopping malls and other commercial facilities in 10 major cities by the summer of 2021.

Mercari also made further efforts to increase its offline presence, including the establishment by 2023 of around 5,000 Mercari Post mailboxes across the country, in addition to the one at Mercari Station. The mailbox includes a QR code reader and a label printer for delivery. Users will print out a label using the QR code shown on the screen. They then place the parcel inside the mailbox with the label attached.

Yamato Transport Co. will work with Mercari to pick up and deliver the packages, while Mercari will also collaborate with NTT Docomo Inc. to install the mailboxes in Docomo shops.

The app has attracted 15.38 million monthly active users in Japan since the launch in July 2013 and has built a trading value of over ¥490 billion per year.

Mercari CEO and founder Shintaro Yamada said at the Mercari Conference 2020 at the Toranomon Hills complex in Tokyo, where he clarified his business vision and strategy, that the online second-hand market “still holds growth potential.

According to data released in April 2018 by the Ministry of Economy, Japan has produced use goods valued at an estimated ¥7.6 trillion in the past year, excluding cars and other vehicles.

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