MF 205 : How to create listings on Poshmark that will get noticed
“The “sell button,” the tool of the Poshmark knight. Not as a clumsy or random as html code. An elegant sales tool for a more civilized time.” –Obi Wan
In this episode, I break down the process of creating listings on Poshmark, including some best practices to get them noticed. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
Part 1: It’s only funny when hearing it second hand at Panera
Last Friday, my officemate / former MBA classmate and I caught up over lunch. He’s a serial entrepreneur with a business and science background, and is currently working on three (or more, I lost count) start-up projects.
One of his ventures, a biotech company that received investor funding, brought him on board about a year ago to handle operations and business development. Over lunch, he shared a pickle of a situation he’s facing with the company’s CMO (Chief Medical Officer).
The CMO is a medical doctor with an accomplished prior career and credentials to boot. He was brought on board to manage the science operations, including building connections and relationships within the scientific community.
Unfortunately, this relationship hasn’t worked out. On paper, he looked like an ideal fit: great credentials, experience, a friendly personality, and more.
In reality, the person hasn’t lived up to the promise. Moreover, he’s made some outlandish and unreaslistic requests including a high salary, a house, a driver and business class airfare. To put in perspective, my friend revealed that this is far above what the CEO of the company gets!
To make matters worse, the person doesn’t want to put in the work. This isn’t a conclusion or inference. My friend shared that the person admitted upfront that he wants to simply be the “face” of the company, appearing on television and media, and to socialize and schmooze, but not do any heavy lifting.
The ridiculousness of this situation sounds like something right out of HBO’s Silicon Valley.
When my friend told me this story, I laughed and hearing it second hand, it sounds really funny. But I realized, it’s only funny when you’re listening to this story as an outsider, sitting at a cafe.
My buddy is now in the unenviable position of having to fire this person. Easier said than done. The person is not simply a bad employee but a bad partner, someone has invested some of the startup funds for an equity stake. And if that wasn’t enough, he’s not answering any of my friend’s phone calls.
I know I used this on last week’s blog but somehow it works here too. And yes, I did watch it again on Prime. Love this movie!
I thought back to my own entrepreneurial journey and some of the wrong partners I’ve gone into business with early on. I made a mistake that I see a lot of new entrepreneurs make. They go into business with people they like and get along with, often a really good friend or former work-place colleague, without thinking thru how they will actually get along in business, how they will handle difficult situations, and more importantly setting the right expectations.
To this day, I have friends who casually say to me “oh we should go into business together …,” “we should do X project or Y venture.” Many of these people are in day jobs or careers, daydreaming about venturing out on their own. They see me as someone who made the break, someone they get along with, so ergo, I’m a good person to go into business with.
Let me save those friends who happen to be reading this the suspense: the answer is no.
Entrepreneurship sounds fun. It looks glamorous and who wouldn’t want to build the next garage startup with their two best friends.
The reality is quite different.
I made the mistake of not vetting or asking the hard questions with business partners in the past. The results were neither fun nor pretty. Though I never had anything quite as crazy or blatant as what my friend is dealing with, the problems I faced with early business partners weren’t that far off.
From listening to my friend and other entrepreneurs, and my own experience, I’ve come up with a rule that I follow when it comes to considering a business partner:
Hungry: someone who wants to build and isn’t afraid to get his or her hands dirty. Someone who takes responsibility and knows that it takes a lot of eating dirt to build something from the ground up. You may not agree on everything and in fact, you should have healthy contrasts but you should agree that it takes time to build, brick-by-brick, step-by-step. Ideally, the hungry partner brings a unique skill or experience to the table that you lack.
Complacent: someone who rests on their past accomplishments or laurels. This is especially true if someone has an advanced degree and believes this gives them a pass to do any hard work. Past accomplishments, past laurels, and degrees mean very little when you’re starting something new. They tend to sit back and expect others to do the dirty work, seeing themselves “above” doing the menial or unsexy tasks.
Desperate: on the other end of the spectrum, avoid anyone who is desperate to have things happen overnight, especially someone who wants to become an entrepreneur as a knee-jerk reaction to escaping a job he or she hates. Desperate is not the same as hungry. Hungry people put in the work and understand, exercise patience and don’t give up when things don’t happen right away or worse when there’s a setback. Desperate people watch the clock and complain that things aren’t happening fast enough. They also tend to be very anxious and stress out others around them.
In many ways, choosing a business partner is like being a long term relationship or marriage. Once the honeymoon period is over, you have to know how you’ll function as a unit; how you’ll handle bills, responsibilities, emergencies and more.
Part 2: The art of listing on Poshmark
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve shared the advantages of setting up a store on Poshmark. Today, I want to break down the listing process with some best practice tips to make your listings stand out.
To get started, open the app and click the sell button.
Photos: Poshmark gives you 8 photos per listing. Take photos of each angle of the item: front, side, back.
Best practice tip: I take 7, leaving room for one more. When I get a question asking for greater detail such as a measurement, I will use the extra slot to update the listing to answer that question (eg showing a tape measure measuring a certain part of a garment). Going above and beyond to answer a question can often lead to sales.
Best practice tip: Use an app like Canva if you want to create grids so you can combine photos into one square.
Best practice tip: For used clothing, it’s best to showcase photos of you wearing the item. For new or retail clothing such as what my Dad sells, I recommend displaying on a mannequin or form. The reason is that clothes on hangers don’t reflect a true form-fitting view of what the item will look like.
Reminder: If you’re selling something used from your closet, take photos of any flaws, blemishes or damage. Be upfront and transparent about what you’re selling.
You get 50 characters: make use of them with descriptive titles. Don’t just say “dress” or “shirt” but write a full description. For example: “Red prom dress with sequins” or “Striped golf shirt, worn once.”
Optional: You can put the brand name in the title though I generally don’t, leaving it for the description field.
Avoid: I’m not a fan of using emojis in the title. The reason is that Poshmark is a search engine, so listings can be search engine optimized. While emojis are cute and visual, they take up valuable space and as far as I know most people don’t search for items using emojis.
You have a much bigger playing field to add a fuller description. Here, you can add a brand, color, fabric, a fuller description of the item, and measurements.
Best practice tip: Add some kind of SKU (stock keeping unit) code to your listings. This can be a style number from the tag or you can create own system. Use these to keep track of your inventory. Even if you have a small closet, get into this practice early so if you decide to grow your Poshmark store, you’ll be organized at the outset. For my Dad’s business, we now have over 600 listings. The SKU allows us to search for items quickly to find an item using Poshmark’s search bar. This is extremely important for updating inventory if, as in the case of my Dad’s business, you sell a listed item in-store or offline. You want to be able to find it quickly so you can update the listing without having to scroll thru hundreds of items. SKU’s become part of your listing’s SEO.
Reminder: If you are selling used clothing, be upfront about any flaws, blemishes, or damage. Always be transparent with the customer about what he or she is buying. This helps ensure a positive experience all around.
Category: Be specific about where the item fits.
Quantity: If you have more, you can specify here.
Size: List out size variations you have in stock, if applicable (this is one of my favorite basic features that puts Poshmark above all of the other platforms we tried).
Note: For similar items with different colors, I find it best to create separate listings.
Brand: Add the brand name. Poshmark will autofill from its library of brand listings so you can choose as you type it in the field. If the brand is not available as a pre-select, you can type it out and add it for the listing.
Color: Choose the color for the item. You can tag up to two basic colors per listing. For blends or unique colors, you may want to use a combination (eg for something like “ivory” or “off white,” I might tag that as a combination of white + cream). Be sure to describe the exact color in the title and/or description fields above.
New with Tags: Indicate the condition of the item.
NWT: New with tags means unused, with the original tags.
Otherwise, choose “No” for new items without tags or for used items.
Note: if you are running a retail store like my Dad or selling items you bought directly from a wholesaler, there is a separate “Boutique” category you can use within “New.”
Original Price: Indicate the original price.
Listing Price: This is what you’re willing to sell the item for.
Note: if you’re open to negotiating price, use this as the baseline starting point. We’ll take about negotiation in a future episode / post.
Note: The Listing Price will show you a calculation underneath showing what “your earnings” will be if sold. This is how much you’ll make in net sales after Poshmark’s commission.
When I started, I averaged 5 minutes per listing. Today, it takes me about 1-2. Once you get into a rhythm, you’ll find that you can list items quickly and efficiently so you can focus on selling and engaging.
A few more best practice tips to consider:
Be consistent: How you list your items: the lighting and backdrop, style of photo should be consistent with all of your other items. Consistency is part of your brand.
Photo filters: I generally avoid them. Use natural or artificial light to highlight what the item looks like. You want buyers to see exactly what he or she is buying.
Transparency: The key to a positive experience on Poshmark is communicating with buyers exactly what they’re getting. Be explicit about flaws, conditions, blemishes, or other details that are important for a buyer.
Overdeliver by updating: if someone asks about a listing detail, add those details to the listing or an additional photo answering the question(s). Remember, unlike visiting a store, your buyers don’t have a chance to see the item in person or try it on. The only way you can provide a confident, satisfactory buying experience is to give as much information as you can so that he or she knows exactly what they’re buying.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll go into the mechanics of selling on Poshmark, how transactions, money and more work. I’ll also share best practice tips on communicating with customers and negotiating price.
Homework: once you’ve set up your Poshmark store, create your first listing(s).
Important safety tip selling on Poshmark
Never respond to posts on your listings from individuals who ask you to contact them outside of Poshmark and post a phone number or email address. Assume it’s spam/scam and hit the red flag to alert the moderators. Posting email, phone numbers or contact info is a violation of Poshmark’s terms. Legitimate buyers can and should purchase from you directly thru Poshmark.
Download my 5-step checklist for getting started on Poshmark
Part 3: What I’m reading / read
Star Wars: The Last Command by Timothy Zahn (**). The conclusion to the Timothy Zahn trilogy that takes place after Return of the Jedi. The first quarter/half was excellent, featuring a gripping espionage tale involving Leia and Mara Jade, a new character introduced in this trilogy. Unfortunately, the middle section of the book suffers from the same problems I had with the second one: it drags and tries to weave multiple storylines without fully succeeding. The final third simply a retread of Return of the Jedi. Overall, I feel these books highlight a problem I have with the new Disney films. They’re a rinse and repeat of what we’ve already seen. The original films played out the arc of having the empire as the ultimate threat. In my opinion, the mythology would have been better served with a brand new antagonist. Continuing the war with the empire restricts where they can go with the story.
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