Photo via MerCari

Mercari Station takes the online flea market offline, providing an opportunity for customers to learn about and experience the brand

As the world of retail shifts towards online models, Japanese online flea market platform Mercari is opening a shop to connect more deeply with customers, providing them with a physical opportunity to learn about and engage with the brand and the experience of buying and selling their second-hand goods online.

Located in Marui department store in bustling Shinjuku, Mercari Station will allow people to sell their used goods on the eBay-like e-commerce platform on the spot.

From a booth where people can take promotional photos of their goods to a “Mercari Post” mailbox for people to drop their goods in to be wrapped and sent, the Mercari Station transforms the usual hassle of starting an e-commerce shop into a physical experience.

Photo via MerCari

Besides the Experience Zone, the shop is also a place for learning, with a separate area dedicated to helping customers understand the platform and how to use it. Shop staff are on hand to help visitors understand how they can use the Mercari app, look for products and sell items on the platform. They can also join the “Mercari Classroom” via the Mercari app and sign up for workshops focused around running an e-commerce shop such as how to take better photos of products and tips and tricks for wrapping. Reservations are required for the learning zone, and face-to-face learning services are temporarily on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo via MerCari

Following the opening of the flagship store, more pop ups will open in shopping malls and commercial facilities in major cities in Japan by summer 2021. The company is also looking to set up about 5,000 Mercari Post mailboxes around the country by 2023. Each mailbox features a QR code reader and shipping label printer to allow users to easily print out shipping labels for packages.

This is not the platform’s first exploration in adding physical experiences to e-commerce, having partnered with convenience store chain Lawson’s Natural Lawson arm on an initiative to encourage consumers to reduce the use of plastic bags in April. Called “Monogatari by Mercari”, or “Story by Mercari”, the initiative asked 10 authors to write short stories around the theme of “goods” that were published exclusively on the Mercari platform. Three short stories were then chosen and printed on plastic bags that are available for a limited three day period at all Natural Lawson stores.

Photo via Natural Lawson

As the COVID-19 pandemic pushes the world of retail into unexplored digital spheres, it has also fundamentally altered the principles of attracting customers to brick-and-mortar shops. 

From Mercari Station to e-commerce platform PINKOI, focused on original design goods, opening a physical store in Hong Kong, physical retail is no longer about the sole procurement of products and services, but creating human connection through storytelling and personalized experiences.  

Learn more about the future of retail with PINKOI’s head of business development, who will be speaking at FabCafe Hong Kong’s FabMeetup in July. This event is also available online, RSVP here

‘FutureCity’ is Loftwork’s brand new global initiative, explores life in and after the time of corona – and the new possibilities we must traverse. Join us in looking at the challenges and innovations in education, remote work, smart living and more, as well as the ways in which we can overhaul flawed systems of yesteryear. Subscribe to FutureCity for more stories in designs & innovation here

Go to The Future of Retail: Main Page
Go to FutureCity: Main Page
Go to Online FAB Meetup “The Future of Retail”

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Loftwork is a creative company dedicated to making a positive impact through design with a global community of innovators. Aside from providing innovative design solutions to global clients across various industries, Loftwork also operates a number of owned services and platforms. Learn more

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