MF 426 : Poshmark update: back to basics
Today, I celebrate five years as a Poshmark seller by sharing what I would do differently (and the same) if I were launching a business on Poshmark today. I'll also go over important considerations for solo sellers and retail businesses. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
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Looking back on five years (and ahead)
Starting Yesterday today
As I'm recording this week's episode, we (my dad and I) are celebrating five years on the Poshmark platform. We launched our online store in May 2018 after spending two years trying to crack the ecommerce code for small businesses, experiencing a lot of starts and stops along the way. If you've followed our journey, you'll also know that even once we found Poshmark, we had a steep learning curve to surmount and didn't close our first sale until later that fall; several months after we posted our first listing. Since then, we've established a steady revenue stream selling everything from blue jeans to high end wedding gowns. I've documented our journey on this podcast and to date, the Poshmark episodes are among the most listened to on the podcast. I also wrote a book to help individuals and small businesses get started, and created a companion seller journal to help sellers keep track of their inventory and negotiate more effectively.
It's hard to believe how much time has gone by so quickly, and how much our business has evolved along with the platform. Thus, to celebrate this milestone, I thought it would be interesting to put myself in the shoes of someone just starting out on Poshmark in 2023.
Back to basics
"Different but same." -Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid (1984)
If I were starting today there are certain things I would keep the same and several I would do differently. For purposes of starting over, I won't throw in the kitchen sink of five years as I believe certain best practices and lessons have to be learned through experience and doing. Further, to even attempt to summarize dozens of podcasts and a book's worth of experience into one episode would not only be futile but not very helpful to someone just starting out. So, I'm going to stick to the basics with one asteriks (*) at the end.
As with any endeavor or platform start with your own research and due diligence. While I'm a fan of Poshmark as an ecommerce solution, it's not the only avenue available to you. Today, there are many ecommerce and sales platforms to choose from, far more than when we started in 2018. I encourage you to read articles, good and bad, on all of them and to try more than one to see which one(s) work best for you and your items.
I recommend you articulate and write down your goals, both immediate and long term. A solo seller looking to clear out space will have very different goals than a local mom and pop shop that needs to expand online. Write down your goals and refer back to them as you start spending time building your online store.
One thing I would keep the same is the time we put into branding. Once we downloaded the app and set up our account, and before we posted our first listing, we spent a few minutes branding our closet. I recommend you do the same to make a good first impression. If you're doing this as an extension of an established business keep the branding, including your Posh handle, header and avatar photos consistent with the business's brand.
Poshmark handle (store name).
I also recommend spending some time on your "about" section, which you can supplement with links to your website and social media handles if applicable and appropriate. Second, fill out the "meet the posher" post, which is standard on all new accounts. This is where we you can tell a little of your story, and add additional images (including a video).
This was admittedly our biggest mistake and lost opportunity when we started on Poshmark. We treated it as a "list and leave it" platform, creating listings every week but not engaging or exploring the community. The key to standing out and generating follows, momentum, and eventually sales is to be proactive. This starts on day one with welcome messages you'll receive on your "meet the posher" post. You'll also find opportunities to engage with people who like, share, and comment on your listings. More on this later.
When you start, keep in mind ecommerce safety. Don't transact outside of the app (narrow exception: if you're a retail store and you gain an in person lead through Poshmark). For more on this, check out MF 206.
Pre-planning and preparation
Items: Clean and repair any used items to make them as presentable as possible. For any flaws you can't fix, be sure to disclose in the listing copy and in the photos. Today, Poshmark is more than just clothes. You can list everything from home goods to electronics to pet goods on your store.
UPSP: As all Poshmark sales are shipped through USPS, find and visit your nearest location. See if they have a self-serve kiosk and after hours access for evenings, Sundays, and holidays, especially if you're doing this as a side hustle. It's also a good idea to identify one or two backup locations just in case.
Shipping supplies: During your USPS visit, pick up free shipping supplies. You can order boxes, priority mail tape, and more from store.usps.com to. I recommend stick with priority mail boxes.
Studio: Pick a corner of your home (or shop) with good lighting to use as your studio.
Mannequin or model: Clothes are best marketed showcasing angles, contours and as 3-dimensional objects.
When it comes to listings, start by taking stock of what you have to sell, the condition of the item(s), and your schedule. I'll briefly talk about each below:
Schedule: Identify pockets of time to devote to Poshmark. This may be an hour or a few minutes in your day to reply to messages or share listings. If you're doing this as side hustle, evenings and weekends may be optimal times to ship out sales.
Photos: You get 16. Make use of these with multiple angles, close ups, and take clear photos of any damage or flaws that can't be repaired or cleaned out. Leave a few slots to answer questions that are best answered visually with an extra photo(s).
Video: If I were starting today, I would add a video to every listing. Keep the videos you create on your phone so you can reuse them as stories to re-up your marketing as needed. For more on videos, check out MF 330.
Style tags: Add these markers to each listing to enhance their searchability. Optional: add hashtags to your descriptive copy.
Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) markers: Keeping organized is key to running and growing a Poshmark business. Add a unique SKU to each listing's description, whether a code or style number from a hang tag or your own coding system. Keep track of your inventory in a log or journal. Even if you only have a few listings, get into this habit early.
Sharing is more than caring
This is part of engagement but deserves it own mention. Share your listings regularly, both at large and at Posh parties. Sharing is not just for marketing your listings but to keep them SEO rejuvenated. With features like "bulk share" and "select all," sharing is that much easier for closets of all sizes. Be sure to reciprocal share fellow Posher's who share your listings as well.
Set negotiating guidelines
As Poshmark is a true marketplace, you'll discover there is a lot of bargaining between buyer and seller. If you're not used to this, it can be daunting or frustrating trying to navigate offers, counter offers, and more. Set guidelines for your items, including upper and lower bounds to take the guesswork out out of it and make negotiating a strategic process. I cover this more on prior episodes and in my book. I also created a seller journal to help track inventory and set negotiating guide posts.
As you grow your listings, keeping organized and managing your inventory become that much more important. As mentioned above, start early by tagging your listings with SKUs. For solo sellers, try to keep your Poshmark listings in one place or pre-pack them and indicate the item and SKU on the boxes. Be sure to take extra photos before you ship for evidence of condition in the event a buyer opens a case. For retail stores, come up with a system to make sure what you have listed reflects what you have in stock. If an item sells in store, update the listing and vice versa. We use check marks on item tags to identify that they're listed on Poshmark.
Poshmark Live (*)
One big change from 2018 is that Poshmark Live is now available an add-on feature for sellers. According to a recent article, Live is expected to bring in $32M of additional revenue this year. If I were launching a Poshmark store today, I would give serious consideration to making Live a part of my sales plan. I put an asterisk on this because we have not yet tried this feature ourselves so I can't personally report on how effective it is yet. However, I've spoken to one seller who has made Live a regular part of her schedule and according to her, Live shows now drive most of her sales. Currently, Live requires an application and there is waiting list to be approved. For more information, check out the Poshmark Live hub.
When it comes to starting out on Poshmark, certain things are the same today as they were in 2018. Putting time into your branding, being proactive, and sharing your (and others) listings are tried and true fundamentals that will help you establish your presence, find your audience, and close sales. What's changed is that there are now many tools and enhancements to make this process easier and to reach potential customers. Whether you've been on the platform for a while or are just starting today, keep at it and keep moving forward.
My books on Poshmark
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The Poshmark Guide for Individuals and Small Businesses (Apple audiobooks)
The Poshmark Guide for Individuals and Small Businesses (Paperback, Kindle, Audible)
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