Mercari, Fril, Otamart and Rakuma – The 4 Big Names in Japanese Flea Market Apps
You may have heard of these flea market apps that have been making waves on the secondhand market.
But, what are these apps exactly?
Well, to put it simply, they are similar to auction/secondhand websites such as Yahoo Auctions (Japan’s version of Ebay). C2C (customer to customer) flea market apps are made up of hundreds of thousands of regular people selling their own goods in a massive, online flea market. Unlike Yahoo Auctions and Ebay, there is no bidding. Instead, the seller sets the price, and it’s sold on a first-come-first-served basis. Of course, you can try to barter just like at a real flea market, and sellers can reject and accept offers.
The thing that makes these apps so popular is how easy the process is for sellers. Everything from photographing the product, negotiating, messaging with buyers and “marking as shipped” can all be done from the convenience of the phone. Nothing else is needed!
For the buyers, the process is a little more involved than buying from an online shop. Sometimes sellers want you to ask permission before purchasing, and there is an etiquette involved in the correspondence and negotiation. On the upside, bargains abound on these market apps. You can find some real hidden treasures! Just keep in mind the best bargains often get snapped up fast!
Of course, just like any secondhand marketplace buying comes with some risk involved. However, the bigger apps like Mercari, Fril, Otamart and Rakuma do offer some buyer protection. Most don’t release the money to the seller until the item has been confirmed as received by the buyer. Just don’t expect easy returns in every case!
So, what is the difference between these apps?
Mercari is a more generalized marketplace app with a strong focus on buyer and seller security. They deal in everything from electronics, to clothing, to toys and so on. Their marketing style and branding reflects this general outlook, and they are probably the most popular and well-known marketing app at the moment.
Fril focuses on young women’s fashion, and the company’s feminine style and branding reflects this with light colours and plenty of fashion recommendations!
Otamart is short for “Otaku Market”, which, you guessed it, is for anime goods and other traditionally “otaku” hobbies. If it’s models, anime and cosplay you’re looking for, Otamart is the place to go!
Rakuma, like Mercari, is for a broad market. The app has been developed under the umbrella of Rakuten (a huge Japan-based marketplace similar to Amazon), so they already have a huge customer base in place and a large selection.
So, if it’s bargain Japanese goodies you’re looking for, or perhaps rare and difficult-to-find collectibles, why not take a gander at these apps? The only problem is, the users are Japanese and generally do not ship abroad. That’s where our service comes in. We offer a proxy shopping service at a flat fee of only 850 yen per transaction. The price of the item doesn’t matter so no matter how expensive the item is, our fee stays the same.