MF 204 : Why Poshmark isn’t just a sales platform
It takes a lot more than simply listing a product to get this stamp.
In this episode, I share the mistake I made when starting out on Poshmark (hint: it’s not just a sales platform) and a mindset shift that helped us get traction. More at bemovingforward.com.
Part I: Contradictions
Like many of you, I was trapped in my home during the big snowstorm. Although I tend to be a bit of a homebody during wintry weekends, preferring a good movie or book to venturing outside, I’m not a huge fan of being trapped indoors. In fact, I tend to get a little stir crazy.
A good time to film that ‘Star Wars’ fan film set on Hoth.
It’s a weird contradiction that I’ve noticed in other areas, including my movie watching habits.
“Calm down, buddy! The snow won’t last forever.”
A movie I’ve been chain-watching recently that’s currently available on Amazon Prime is ‘12 Angry Men,’ a 1957 black and white film starring Henry Fonda in the lead role. It’s one of my all-time favorite legal thrillers and favorite movies in general. I actually own an old VHS copy but don’t have it on DVD or Blu Ray. I thought about this over the weekend. Movies I love and own, I usually don’t brush off to watch, relegating them to my media shelf where they collect dust. However, if a favorite movie happens to be on TV or available on streaming, I’ll take the time to watch it, regardless of whether I own it on physical media. It’s a weird quirk and as a result, I don’t buy movies as much on physical media anymore; probably a good thing for space and my wallet.
How did you spend this past weekend, especially if you lived in an area blanketed with snow? And what weird, quirky contradictions did you discover about yourself?
Part 2: Poshmark isn’t just a sales platform
Last week, I talked about the advantages of setting up a store on Poshmark, highlighting it as a true “out of the box” platform to sell clothes. While the setup was easy and listing products was a matter of snapping a few photos, writing simple copy, and using pull-down menus, sales didn’t just rain in.
You may recall from last week’s episode, we started in May 2018 and over subsequent weeks, I worked with my Dad to create new listings every Wednesday.
As we did, people started following us, liking items and leaving comments. However, we didn’t generate any sales. In fact, we didn’t hit our first sale until August.
Why? Why did it take us so long to generate a sale?
I made a mistake.
I treated Poshmark like a sales platform; a place to list products, slap a price, and nothing more.
The problem with this approach is that it misses an important aspect of the platform that’s key to generating momentum and sales.
Poshmark isn’t just a sales channel. It’s an entire community that shares attributes with today’s most common social media platforms. Unlike Amazon or Shopify, where you might use external social media (Facebook, Twitter, IG) to promote your listings, Poshmark has these features baked right in.
I didn’t engage in this community as much as I could or should have. When someone liked our products or followed our store, I didn’t engage, I didn’t follow back. When someone shared our listings, I didn’t share back.
In other words, I was passive, sitting back, waiting for sales to happen.
It took a while but once I understood that Poshmark isn’t simply a virtual table to put out your wares, but rather a community within its own social media ecosystem, I changed my approach.
I followed people on Poshmark, both sellers and buyers.
I shared other people’s listings when they shared ours.
I proactively started sharing other people’s listings even when they didn’t share ours.
And the biggest game changer, I started attending Posh parties – designated hours where Poshers can engage and share items that fit within a specific category or a theme.
Once I took this approach, our listings got more followers, more likes, and more shares. This led to our first sale in August: a pair of designer blue jeans. It wasn’t a huge sale, it wasn’t a ton of money but it was a wonderful breakthrough and the first proof we had that this was a viable sales channel for us to invest time and energy into.
While Poshmark has proven to be a wonderful platform and solution to enhance my Dad’s brick and mortar clothing business, it is not just for those who are in retail. In fact, my Dad’s business is not really representative of the average Poshmark seller demographic. Most of the people selling on Poshmark are just like you: individuals who have day jobs or other businesses who want to dip the toe into starting a business or side hustle.
If you’ve been following the podcast over the past few weeks and if one of your goals this year is to start an online business or side hustle, Poshmark may be a great platform for you to consider.
Below are my tips for getting started which you can also download, as a worksheet:
Step 1: Download the Poshmark app (if you plan to shop with it, you can save on your first purchase by using my referral code available here).
Step 2: Set up your account and store: you can do so thru Facebook or email.
Step 3: Spend some time on branding:
Create a cute or clever name for your store – if you already have a brand, you may want to piggyback off that.
Add images to your profile and a header image. You can upload images you have already on your phone or snap new ones. The profile can be a logo or you. Don’t just leave it blank as Poshmark will fill in a generic colored circle with your initials, which looks bland.
Best Practice Tip: take a panoramic photo from your phone for your header image (eg your closet or collection of clothes you plan to sell). It will give your profile some extra pop.
Step 4: Create a listing:
Photos: Poshmark gives you 8 photos per item. Make use of these. Take multiple angles of each item.
Title: create a simple but descriptive title (50 char limit). Don’t just list “dress” or “jacket” but describe it – eg “Red prom dress with spaghetti straps and sequins.”
Description: here, you get a lot more space to fill in the details on your listing. Be robust with a fuller description containing details such as brand name, fabric, measurements, etc.
Use the menus to fill in the rest of the details.
Set a price.
List the item.
Step 5: Engage in the Poshmark community:
Share your items and listings on a regular basis. Don’t just let them sit there. Try to do this at least once a day, if not a couple times a week.
Follow people who engage with you and your store: likes, shares, comments.
Reciprocate: if someone shares your item, share some of theirs.
Communicate: if someone posts a question, it means they’re interested. Answer questions in a timely manner.
Attend Posh Parties: Posh parties are a great opportunity to showcase your listings. Every day, Poshmark has specific theme or item category parties and more general parties where all listings can be shared. Attend these to share your items. Be sure to share items of people who share your items during the Posh party hours.
Homework: set up a Poshmark store and create your first listing(s). Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll cover best practices, tips for pricing and negotiation and more.
If you want to save these tips as a worksheet, you can access it below:
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll breakdown how we gradually built up an online business that generates 1-5 sales a week and continues to gain new followers and higher engagement every day. It wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight but the effort, time, and energy have been well worth it.
Next week, I’ll share some best practice tips for creating product listings that stand out.
Part 3: What I’m reading / read
Star Wars: Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn (** 1/2). Less enjoyable than the first book. The storylines are a bit disjointed and it drags in the middle. Not a fan of the Luke, Han and Lando arcs as they feel like retreads of what we’ve already seen in the original trilogy films. On the plus side, I enjoyed what this book series has done with Leia. We see wonderful character development as she steps into the role of galactic ambassador. I also like the exploration of Chewbacca as a character and insights into Wookie culture, particularly the “life debt” philosophy – the book does a much better job with his character than the new films.
Dracula by Bram Stoker (*** 1/2): A slow burn and very different than the film incarnations. Don’t read this book expecting a fast-paced horror novel. This book takes its time and should be read more for the rich, descriptive language than the plot. The story is told in letter and journal format from the various characters and interestingly, Dracula is hardly in the book and is more of a looming presence throughout. An engaging read.
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