Poshmark, da good, da bad & da fugly

by Tania Ginoza on June 4, 2013 · 168 comments

Do you ever get the urge to invite people over to shop your closet or wish you could shop a fashionable friend’s closet? Welcome to Poshmark…

poshmarksite

Poshmark is a social marketplace where women’s clothing, shoes and accessories are sold and bought by individual sellers. It’s like the love child of a clothing swap meet and Instagram. There is a website for Poshmark but most of the real action, including listing new items and loading photos is done via mobile device. Currently Poshmark only has an app for ios (apple) but promises an android version is in development. I downloaded the app when it was brand spanking new and wasn’t that excited about it initially. I revisited Poshmark recently in my effort to sell my heels and was amazed at how it’s grown. I loaded my first listing ~ 9 days ago but read a ton of forum threads and blogs to familiarize myself with community etiquette and things to watch out for. I’m ready to share my initial take on the good, the bad and the fugly of Poshing.

Good

The Poshmark app is supa easy to use. I used to sell items on ebay and found I can list an item on Poshmark ten times faster. Pics are snapped  and loaded with your phone or ipad. You write a title and description. You then select the brand, category and size. There’s a field for retail value, price and whether or not your item is new with tags (a great selling point as the buyers don’t need to worry about the condition).

Each item has a ‘cover shot’. This is the pic that will show in your follower’s feeds or in posh parties (more on that later). It can include additional items if you’d like to help potential buyers visualize how your piece will look in an outfit. You can apply filters on your cover shot to make it more appealing as poshers scroll through their feeds. I love that Poshmark has this feature, which distinguishes this app from other marketplaces. It makes browsing much more fun and encourages interaction amongst the members. A good cover shot can also increase the possibility others will share or like your listing improving your chances for a sale. Posh also allows three other photos that are unfiltered and should be focused on providing your buyers with enough detail to see the color, condition, brand labels and any other relevant information. As a buyer, read the description carefully because some of the items in the cover shot are for styling purposes only and aren’t for sale.

When your item sells, Poshmark emails a prepaid priority mail shipping label. Having a completed prepaid shipping label ready to print eases the selling process even more. The buyer pays the initial shipping charge up to two pounds ($4.99 for orders >$25, $6.99 on all other orders). The seller pays any additional shipping charges. You can request a higher pound label via the app.

Poshmark has a huge community and certain labels are available in abundance including Michael Kors, Coach, Seven For All Mankind, Kate Spade and Juicy Couture.

It is easy to modify or delete a listing. There is no time minimum  or maximum a listing remains up and changing the price or deleting a listing takes seconds.

Many sellers will bundle for a discount. If you see two or more items you’d like to purchase from a seller, just inquire in the item’s comment section. Once the negotiation is done, the seller will add the additional items to one listing, edit the agreed upon price and bam, you can purchase in one transaction.

You don’t need a paypal account to purchase or sell. You input your credit card info in the app to buy. Sellers can redeem sales in purchases, via direct deposit or check draft. Poshmark doesn’t release the buyer’s funds to the seller until the item has been received. If the buyer doesn’t mark the item received with no issues by three days (each shipment is tracked by Poshmark using the USPS routing number), then the funds will automatically be released to the seller.

Negotiation on price is expected, quick and easy. Most items are listed to negotiate although sellers may indicate in the description if a price is firm on a specific item. Once an agreed upon price is reached in the comments, the seller will edit the price in the listing and the buyer can proceed with the purchase. Many sellers are actively checking their newsfeed and do respond fairly quickly (within a day).

Bad

Although it’s fast to list an item, it can take some effort to get that item to sell. The idea is you want as much people as possible to see your listing. Unlike ebay where you list and forget about it until an inquiry or a sold notice shows up in your inbox, poshing is social. You follow others’ closets and they follow yours. Sharing is caring…you share an item you like in someone’s closet and they’ll likely return the favor. Sharing is important because it exposes your listing to other poshers that may not be following you or searching for your particular item. Each day there are also several themed posh parties. There is a time limit in which you can share your closet items in the party but again by making this effort, it increases your likelihood to get a sale, encourages others to browse your closet, to share your item with their followers or to follow you. I included this in the bad section for those who just want a platform they can list and forget but I see the opportunity to work harder to get an item to sell as a plus also.

There are a ton of cheapskate low-ballers on Posh who have no shame. For every new with tags Marc Jacobs bag at 50% off of retail, there will be a low-baller out there who will comment, $20? No joke. There are also sellers who expect to “make back their money + the 20% commission for Poshmark”. As there are no returns allowed unless a listing was inaccurate, there is a bit of a buyer risk that an item won’t fit or won’t like it as much in person as they thought they would. To counteract that risk, the price needs to be a deal. Also, the minute you buy something at retail, it depreciates in terms of market value, even if it just sat in your closet. The one exception would be a luxury item that is hard to find and currently sought after. The idea someone could buy a piece during sale or on a flash site at 30% off a year ago and then expect a buyer to pay the same price they did, sight unseen, blows my mind. Most people won’t even pay 70% of retail in a consignment store where they can examine the item fully before buying. Consignment prices usually start at 50% of retail and go down from there depending on condition and brand. That said, don’t let a high listing price discourage you as many sellers will put some cushion in their prices for negotiation or may reduce if the item doesn’t sell after a few months.  However, don’t be surprised or embarrassed when you encounter a seller who thinks you should pay over 50% for a used item or the full retail price (because that’s what they paid for it). Give a fair offer and if your offer is rejected, move on with your head held high. I would advise to not offer a price that’s much lower than what the seller is asking for however. Only negotiate if your desired price is within a reasonable range of their listed price. The seller may be willing to keep that listing up until the right person comes along who just has to have it and will pay a higher price so they will not appreciate a 50% offer.  As some sellers may have unrealistic expectations of what the market value is for their item, do your homework. Google the item and see what it’s selling for now. Be aware or ask the dimensions of the item (some brands like Kate Spade will offer the same style in different sizes at different prices). Search for the same style online at the brand’s site or via a reputable retailer. Many of the Michael Kors styles can be found brand new but marked down during end of season in different colors for the same price, less or slightly more than a posher’s hopeful inflated price. You may discover something on Posh but decide you’d rather pay a retailer $10 more for a brand new one or for the option to return if you don’t like it. Search on poshmark to see if any other sellers are listing the same item for less. 

People negotiate before they are ready to buy. Don’t get me wrong, I love interaction but no seller wants to engage in a negotiation only to eventually hear “can you hold it for me until Friday, I’m waiting to get paid”. Or worse, you accept a lower offer or counteroffer and the other posher doesn’t even return. Posh does not allow you to delete the comments for your item so if you negotiate with someone and it doesn’t end in a buy, you’ve now automatically marked down your item for any potential buyers as well. Want to quickly know how low a seller is willing to go? Make sure to read the comments on each item you’re interested in before leaving an offer as it can already give you insight into what the seller’s tipping point is. Speaking of holds, a seller can choose to reserve an item for a buyer by editing the price to a crazy high amount and then editing it again when the buyer is ready. I personally don’t accept holds unless I’ve done business with the buyer in the past. I’ve seen many people request a hold and then disappear.

While certain brands are plentiful, other brands are nowhere to be seen. Brands sold by Macy’s, fast fashion and certain luxury brands are plentiful, while other boutique or less distributed brands are almost MIA. For example, I was searching for Superga sneakers and there were almost no listings. Brands that are interesting to me and those into fashion are harder to find on Posh if not common or widely distributed.

FUGLY

I wouldn’t buy a high end bag on Posh because it’s filled with counterfeits and replicas. I am of the humble opinion Poshmark needs to expand and improve its efforts on delisting questionable closets and items. I suspect they have grown at such a quick rate and are possibly catching up on certain backoffice functions. Their policy disallows counterfeits and replicas yet many listings will include in the description the term “inspired” or “replica” or straight out list it dishonestly as authentic. It is my hope Posh will have the resources someday soon to search via programming for questionable listings and have qualified staff to examine these listings and take them down. I’m conservative though about this type of issue given my past experience with Prada. I prefer to buy certain items from authorized retailers or directly from the brand. At the very least, I’d rather see it in person at a consignment store if it’s a brand I’m familiar with enough to spot a fake. I also never purchase replicas or fakes knowingly. I’d rather have a lesser known emerging brand of bag from a style standpoint and also because counterfeiting supports some heinous activities and participates in labor exploitation. Poshmark does provide a way for members to report questionable items and closets, at the very top right there is a box with arrow icon. You can also block a user by using that same icon when viewing their closet.

Speaking of policy enforcement, Poshmark clearly states they do not allow a seller to negotiate with a buyer on Poshmark then transact off the app (i.e. via paypal). Yet there are buyers and sellers openly discussing moving a transaction to paypal in the item comments. Sellers are even listing in their closet header they will do paypal. Why would a seller want to do this? They want to avoid the 20% commission Poshmark charges. I personally feel if you don’t want to pay the 20%, list your item elsewhere. It is the cost of doing business. Anyone who knows me well knows I’m a very compliant person. I don’t believe in cheating. All this frequent and flagrant violation of the community rules drives me freakin crazy. As a buyer, be aware you may be able to negotiate a better price for yourself by asking the seller to transact off the app but will also lose the protection Poshmark offers as well as risk pissing off Poshmark if someone reports you or they flag it down. In this area of enforcement, I also suspect Poshmark is experiencing growing pains.

Many members will also ask sellers if they’d like to trade. I love the concept of trading and clothing swaps but again you lose the protection of Poshmark as the app doesn’t currently transact trades so you have little recourse if you send your item and never receive the item that was promised to you. Poshmark also discourages and prohibits trades as it is an offline transaction that offers no protection for its users.

There are other frauds like buyers receiving the item they purchased, wearing it right away to an event and then claiming your item wasn’t new as described for a return. Other variations of this dishonest switch is receiving the item, experiencing I spent my rent money remorse and damaging the item, followed up by a claim to Poshmark it was received with damage not listed in the description. On the seller side, I saw a listing where a blogger sold a dress as brand new and then the buyer allegedly received the dress with food stains and lint all over it. The seller insisted back and forth in a shocked tone that she in no way wore that dress until another member provided a link to her blog showing her wearing the dress ( and not in a look what I just bought modeling way but in the midst of a party or other event).

If you are currently in the throes of a shopping addiction or can’t resist something on sale or marked down, step away from your phone. Poshmark will be dangerous territory for you.

Wrapping it up

So, that’s it, my take on Poshmark. I hope I didn’t scare you away! Because I’d really like you to visit my closet (especially if you like heels and are a size 5.5/6)! Here’s a few other tips for new poshers:

Like an item if you’re thinking of buying. If you’re not interested in buying or it’s not your size but you think it’s cute, share it instead. If you like every item you think is cute, you’ll be bombarded with sellers commenting to you “interested?” or “make me an offer”. Sharing gives a shout-out to the seller and gives your followers some eye candy while liking tells the seller I like it enough to mull it over for awhile.

In your ‘feed’ area, you can click on the top to view your likes, view listings of closets you are following or search. The search function isn’t robust so if you’re looking for an army jacket you should do several searches (army, military and cargo). The function isn’t as smart as google and cannot relate a search for military to similar search terms.

In your profile, setup your size information, this will filter your search results.

In your ‘news’ area, there is an all feed or comments feed. Once you begin to be active, you’ll gain new followers quickly and it’s easy to miss a comment in all the ‘now following you’ activity if you don’t filter to the comments screen periodically.

Share your items as much as you can on your app (although I wouldn’t recommend flooding your twitter and facebook with poshmark shares). I’ve listed items for just a little over a week and already sold a pair of wedges, a sunnies and a wallet. I shared each of these items to as many posh parties where my items were a good fit for the theme.

This app sucks up battery power. So you may want to turn off your notifications and not check it too much during the day if you don’t have any way to charge your battery. If an item does sell, you’ll receive an email. However, if someone mentions you in a comment or leaves a comment on our item, you’ll need to check in to the app or site if your phone notifications are off. If you’re actively trying to sell, you want to respond to all inquiries timely. If a buyer is ready to buy after an acceptable price reduction, you may want to strike while they are still on the app.

For a potential buyer to see a comment you’ve left for them on a listing, you need to type @ followed by their handle. If you are leaving a comment on a seller’s listing, your comment will show up in their news regardless, it’s not necessary to type out their handle.

I hope to see you on Posh (I’m Mauishopgirl, natch) and if you have any questions or need any help with the app, feel free to ask below.

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