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develop an app like mercari
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How To Develop An App Like Mercari? Cost & Features

Sanjay Kidecha,

What if I tell you that you don’t need a big team, great vendor partnerships, or excellent infrastructure to start a buy or sell online marketplace by making an app like Mercari? It’s not bluff; it’s the freakin truth that next-gen entrepreneurs need to believe to escape from the startup rabbit hole. This rabbit hole is like you keep throwing your money around for the perfect outcome, hoping it helps your newborn business take off. 

But, hey, there are already so many eCommerce sites, encompassing a broad spectrum of merchants, selling varieties of products. Fashion items, home decor, electronics, sportswear, beauty products, and whatnot available online. Therefore, your creation requires something out of this world to endure the cut-throat market just like Mercari! 

The best way to look stylish on a budget is to try second-hand, bargain hunting, and vintage. — Orlando Bloom

Whether it’s attire or home decor or just replacing the old-age cellular phone with a smartphone, more and more people choose the Mercari-like shopping app. Why? Because new products and fixed product prices do not bind such apps. Buyers can find unique vintage items, bargain, and seal the deal. Besides, anyone can buy and sell their stuff quickly without any mediator. 


Mercari, Vinted, Poshmark, and more are some largest C2C online marketplaces. Users wholly govern them. One user sells, another can buy directly from the sellers. The platforms provide buyers protection against fraud by authenticating the items being sold on their marketplaces. So, when you can buy your dream iPhone 12 pro 128GB in perfect condition at an affordable price, then why do you spend extra?

However, Mercari is quite different from others. Despite being in a country dominated by traditional Japanese companies, Mercari has emerged as a trailblazer. Japan’s first unicorn Flea Market app made it to IPO in 2018. 

Let’s know a little more about Mercari’s business model and features to build a similar one for your target market.

How Mercari Works And Its Business Model
How Mercari Works And Its Business Model

First and foremost, Mercari is a mobile-first marketplace targeting next-gen buyers and sellers who carry mobile phones. It makes selling items on Mercari on the go. Second comes the app UI created focusing on improving user experience. Further, a simple yet elegant app design makes it darned easy for users to sell on Mercari. 

Master the mobile app design process for the sake of your buy and sell app development.

In addition, unlike conventional C2C marketplaces, Mercari focuses more on sellers’ pain points and markets itself as ‘the selling app.’ A seller’s journey includes uploading product photos on the app, adding the product’s essential information, complying with the app’s security measures, and selling the product swiftly.

Behold, the reason behind quick selling on Mercari is that it sends push notifications to buyers based on their previous searches for items they may be interested in. The system saves time and effort for both parties. By following the same or modifying the Mercari app model a little, you can also offer a value proposition for a different customer segment. Who knows your buy-sell marketplace app like Mercari ends up being the next unicorn digital startup!?

When it comes to Revenue Model: Mercari is absolutely free for users to use the app with no registration fees nor subscription fees. It generates revenue by charging a 10% sales commission. Furthermore, it offers logistics services, eliminating the meetups. Like Mercari, you can also partner with the local logistics and courier service and make delivery hassle-free. 

So, how do you want to monetize your app?

Key Features to add to your business model for Mercari app clone development

There are features you must build in the app to make it functional. Then there are features that make your app user-friendly and attractive. Let’s peep into both types of features to develop an app like Mercari.


  • User registration 
  • Login with social media
  • Set up profile 
  • Homepage with the latest listings
  • Buy Now & Add to cart
  • Search bar 
  • Like the item
  • Message the seller
  • Start selling or buying options
  • Upload photos of items
  • Add tags to make the listing discoverable
  • Describe the product
  • Instant pay 
  • Schedule shipping
  • Ship with a prepaid label
  • Rate the seller
  • Customer service


Customizable collection components
Customizable collection components 

Give a glimpse of fresh item collections when a user visits the home page on the app. For example:

  • Latest list of sellers
  • Recent listings and ads
  • New arrivals 
  • Currently available

Allowing them to narrow down their search to a specific product also boosts user engagement. So, let them search by;

  • Collections based on tags
  • Using elements filter
  • Choosing category
  • Ad title keyword
  • Filtering price
  • Location 

Give A Touch Of Social Media 

Users found social media-style marketplaces more accessible as they are already accustomed to the style. Scrolling through feeds, following sellers, and exploring everything available on the app hook them on the app. By integrating the below social media-like features, you can make your app addictive.

  • Like listings
  • Follow users
  • Chat with other users (buyers/sellers)
  • Rate one another products
  • Write feedback
  • Save items privately 

What About The Cost To Develop An App Like Mercari?

Last but not least, for the entrepreneur who wants to build an app like Mercari. You need to consider app prototyping, project management, quality assurance, technology stack, and hiring app developers for flea market app development. Thus, concerning the investment amount is obvious. According to our expertise and experience, you require $10000 to $15000 to create an app like Mercari with general features.

The cost rises with the functionality and APIs you add to your app. However, that can be done later on once the primary product is launched. For example, you can build and launch an MVP in the market. Then, as you receive feedback from early adopters, you can modify the final product. This way, you grow steadily, eradicating the scope for costly mistakes.

We are a veteran software development company encouraging mobile-first service. We help startups to enterprises scale up or build digital products from scratch. You can leverage our vast experience in marketplace app development with exceptional value-added services.

Sanjay Kidecha

Sanjay Kidecha is the Chief Finance Officer at Kody Technolab and a Fintech geek. With one foot in finance and the other in tech, Sanjay likes to write on emerging Fintech trends, ideas, and how-to guides to keep industry leaders updated with the ever-changing world of fintech!

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