Mid-November, the Japanese marketplace app Mercari began offering cross-border sales through its consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketplace app. It did this in partnership with Buyee, a proxy service for cross-border e-commerce.
Mercari is Japan’s largest C2C marketplace, with approximately 14 million monthly users, a gross merchandise value (GMV) of approximately 530.7 billion JPY, and a total of over 1.1 billion items listed to date. The marketplace app has seen a large amount of interest from overseas, with a sixfold increase in visits to Mercari’s web version from outside of Japan since 2017. It indicated a strong potential demand for purchases by users abroad. Based on this potential, the Japanese marketplace app decided to start offering cross-border sales through proxy service Buyee.
Buyee is a proxy service with over one million registered users, available in over 100 countries and regions throughout the world. Through this partnership with Buyee, users outside of Japan can browse and search items listed on Mercari in Japanese, English, and Chinese (traditional and simplified). They can purchase items using payment methods like PayPal, Alipay, and UnionPay. Offering cross-border sales will allow people all over the world to purchase items from Mercari, instead of limiting this only to users in Japan. The company expects this to lead to increased sales opportunities. Items will only become available for purchase on Buyee if a certain amount of time has passed since their listing on the C2C marketplace.
How It Works
1. When an international user places an order on Buyee, an official Buyee account purchases the item on Mercari for the user.
2. The seller of the item on Mercari ships the item to Buyee’s warehouse in Japan.
3. When the item arrives, Buyee staff checks the item and rates the seller, and the seller receives sales proceeds.
4. Buyee ships the item to the buyer overseas, and handles all further steps.
Cross-border Sales focusing on Japanese pop-culture items
Starting in August 2019, Mercari carried out a proof-of-concept study on cross-border sales of items that had been listed for a certain amount of time on the C2C platform. From this study, the company identified item categories popular among users overseas. The most popular category among international users was merchandise featuring popular characters. Many of these users are interested in things that can only be bought in Japan, such as merchandise from Japanese animation works and games.