Is Whatnot Legit? A Review For Buyers And Sellers

Is Whatnot Legit

Here’s a fun fact: there are more than 26.5 million e-commerce websites around the globe, with more than 21% of them falling under the multi-vendor e-commerce marketplace category – like eBay and Poshmark.

And yet, new e-commerce marketplaces keep popping up, trying to carve their own space in a highly saturated market. Whatnot is one of the latest such platforms which has gained a name for itself by offering live video shopping.

But using new marketplaces – whether as a buyer or a seller – is always a bit of a gamble. So, we put together this review on Whatnot to answer all your questions about the platform and discuss its pros and cons. Hop on and let’s begin!

What is Whatnot?

Whatnot is an e-commerce marketplace app that lets people buy and sell products – mainly collectibles – through live video shopping.

In addition to offering a unique shopping experience, Whatnot also aims to bring like-minded people together so that they can geek out over shared interests.

WhatNot App

While the focus for this app is on live video shopping, it also features a marketplace (just like traditional e-commerce platforms) where buyers can browse product listings and shop for items. In short, Whatnot combines live shopping with your typical online shopping elements.

Items you can sell (and buy) on Whatnot

Whatnot began its journey in 2019 as a place where you could buy and sell collectibles. Since then, the platform has expanded and currently has 50+ selling categories.

Here are the most popular ones:

  • Toys (Funko pops, action figures, etc.)
  • Trading card games (Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering, etc.)
  • Sports cards
  • Comics and manga
  • Watches
  • Vintage and thrift items
  • Video games, music, and movies
  • Apparel
  • Wrecked & salvaged motorcycles
  • Bags, jewelry, and other fashion accessories
  • Sneakers
  • And Whatnot 😉 (even food and drinks!)

How does Whatnot work?

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, Whatnot is pretty easy to use! To get started, download the app or sign up directly on the Whatnot website. Once you’re in, here’s what you can expect from the app:

For buyers

After you create your account, you’ll be prompted to select all the shopping categories you’re interested in.

Shopping Categories

For a smoother shopping experience, head over to Account Settings and enter your delivery address as well as payment details before you start browsing.

Shipping Address

You can also fill in other details such as bio, profile picture, etc. But I’ll leave that up to you!

Done with this? Cool. Now head back to the home page and you’ll see a host of different livestreams happening. You can easily browse between shopping categories by using the navigation bar on the left side.


To join a livestream, simply click on it. Once the live video opens up, you’ll see that it’s flanked by a list of products being sold on the left side and a chat box on the right side where you can ask your questions or simply nerd out about shared interests.

Livestream Example

On the bottom of the video, you’ll see several buttons, including one called Bid (this will show up only if you’ve already entered your payment info).

You can use the bid button to place a bid. There are two ways in which you can bid: a) you can let Whatnot automatically bid a number higher than the previous bid, or b) you can place a custom bid.

If the seller accepts your bid, you’ll be charged for it! You can also set a max bid amount, and the app will keep bidding for you in increments till it reaches the max amount.

If you’re eyeing a particular product, but won’t be able to come live to buy it, you can also bid on an item before it goes up for auction. If you win the bid, your card will be charged.

Clicking on the Shipping and Taxes button will let you know the delivery fee + tax based on your location.

Heirloom Chattanooga

What we really liked about Whatnot’s live shopping scene is that the sellers are super friendly and engage with you directly.

It feels like a fun group party. You also get to see what the items look like in real-time. No more wondering if the product photos have been heavily edited!

Another thing that Whatnot has going for itself is that sellers can require buyers to be verified before they’re allowed to place a bid on their live videos. This increases sellers’ trust in buyers and ensures that the purchase won’t fall through.

Verified Buyer

Here’s how you can become a verified buyer on Whatnot:

  • Have a history of successful purchases on the app (or)
  • Submit a government-issued ID card for automatic verification

If you don’t fancy the live auction-style shopping, you can shop the classic way. Go to a buyer’s profile, click on Shop, browse through their listings, and buy the product(s) that you like. You can also access the Whatnot marketplace by typing the word Marketplace on the search bar.

WhatNot Marketplace

For sellers

To start selling on Whatnot, click on the Become a Seller button on the top right. You’ll be prompted to answer a few questions about your reselling business and add some details such as a return address and a payment method.

You’ll also have to agree to certain conditions set by Whatnot, such as not selling counterfeit items and shipping the products within 2 days of purchase.

Becoming A Seller

Once you fill out all the details, your seller application will be sent to Whatnot. Their team will review it and get you approved within 2 weeks. That’s right! You need to be approved by the Whatnot team before you can start selling. This is another thing about this app that we really liked.

Note: Currently, only people residing in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, and France can apply to be sellers.

Seller Approved

But what does the e-commerce platform look for in sellers? We dug through Whatnot’s FAQs and found the answer:

  • Significant online selling history or experience creating content in the categories in which they wish to sell.
  • Reputation within the category’s community (such as a strong social media following or a reference from one of Whatnot’s partners).
  • Evidence of a strong inventory (both in quality and quantity) which shows that the seller has enough goods to go live frequently.

If you have one or more of the above qualifications, you’ll get approved to sell! Once you get the go-ahead from Whatnot, you can start selling (and connecting with people) through livestreams.

Once you’ve been selling for a while, you can get a Verified Seller badge by Whatnot if you have a stellar reputation with zero reported issues.

Whatnot fees: how much does the platform take?

You can’t use an e-commerce platform without paying a commission fee 😉. Whatnot is no different. But compared to some other platforms like Poshmark and eBay, the selling fees on Whatnot are pretty reasonable.

The app charges:

  • An 8% commission on the selling price of an item
  • The only exception is if you’re selling Coins and Money. In this case, you’ll only be charged a 4% commission fee
  • 2.9% + $0.30/ £0.30 payment processing fees for each transaction
  • The payment processing fee is applied to the subtotal. i.e. selling price + shipping fee + tax (for U.S. and Canada residents)

The shipping fee and tax, however, are always paid by the buyer.

Here’s an example: Let’s say your item is priced at $30. The shipping is $5, and the sales tax is $5. The buyer will pay a total of $30 + $5 + $5 = $40.

The commission fee would be 8% of $30 = $2.4. The payment processing fee would be $2.9% of $40 + $0.30 = $1.46. The amount you’ll take home is $26.14.

Whatnot return policy and buyer’s protection

The mark of a good e-commerce platform lies in its ability to protect buyers (and sellers) from fraud. It seems Whatnot is doing well in this regard with some protections in place.

Return policy

Once you bid on something on Whatnot and win, the bid is binding. You can’t cancel an order because of buyer’s remorse once the seller has printed the label (or once 24 hours have passed) or shipped out the order.

In case you want to cancel a couple of hours after your purchase, you can request the seller to cancel it. But, the final decision is up to the seller. If they reject your cancellation request or don’t respond to it at all within 48 hours, the sale will proceed as normal.

However, if a technical error results in your bid, you can contact Whatnot support within 2 hours and get it canceled. You can also request a refund if your item was damaged or lost in transit.

This way, buyers are protected from purchasing damaged goods, while sellers are protected from frivolous buyers.

Product authenticity

Another major issue that comes with buying online is the question of whether you’re buying authentic items. Whatnot has some policies in place to prevent scammers.

First up, all sellers need to get approved by Whatnot and verify their phone numbers before they can start selling. Sellers also need to take product pictures directly from within the Whatnot app. Uploading photos from external galleries isn’t allowed.

This ensures that they really do have the inventory they’re planning on selling. Finally, all sellers have to package and ship items according to Whatnot’s guidelines and provide a proper tracking number.

But what about seller protection, you ask? Whatnot has that, too! All buyers are required to enter an address and payment details before they can make any bids.

If a bid is approved, their card is automatically charged. And they can’t cancel the order unless the seller agrees to it.

Moreover, sellers can also add the option of letting only verified buyers bid on their items. All of these rules prevent fraudulent buyers.

Now that we have reviewed the Whatnot app, it’s time to answer the most important question…

Is Whatnot legit?

Yes, Whatnot is a legit live video shopping app, and it’s safe to use. While not at the level of other popular marketplaces like eBay and Etsy, Whatnot has been steadily growing since its inception in 2019. Today, the app gets more than 5 million monthly visitors and has a 3.6 star rating on Trustpilot.

However, much like everything else in this world, this platform also has its ups and downs. Let’s take a look at them.

Pros and cons of using Whatnot

For buyers

All sellers are verifiedYou can't return items because of buyer's remorse
You're protected against damaged items/products lost in transitSome users have complained that sellers pressure you into giving 5-star reviews
Live videos are fun and engagingYou have to watch a live video to shop, which can be time-consuming
You can find hard-to-get collectibles for a stealThese aren't as many people using it
You can be sure that the items are shown exactly as they are in real lifeReports of customer service being bad

For sellers

You're protected from fraudulent buyersYou're responsible for paying for items lost in transit
You can clear your inventory pretty quickly through live auctionsLow profits per sale
You have the final say when it comes to canceling ordersYou need to learn how to market yourself to get a bigger audience
Fun and energetic environmentYou need to have a lot of inventory ready to sell
Shipping labels are prepared by WhatnotYou need to ship your items within 2 days
Platform fees are reasonable compared to many other platformsYou need to attend an hour-long seller onboarding meeting
It's easy to make product listings and host livestreams
Buyers can send you extra tips during livestreams
If you don’t want to host live videos everyday, you can also add your product listings to the Whatnot marketplace

What do you think? Is Whatnot for you? Or do you prefer to stick to the classics?

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