“We are excited to bring our social marketplace to Australia, extending Poshmark’s simple, social and sustainable shopping and selling experience across the globe,” he said.
“Poshmark’s community has only become stronger and more dynamic as it has grown and we are thrilled to welcome Aussies to join us as we shape the future of shopping, together. Today’s launch is only the beginning and we look forward to building a thriving and successful community in Australia.”
What’s driving the resale boom
Poshmark’s expansion is just the latest sign of the booming resale market. Last year saw the launch of a high-profile partnership between upmarket resale platform TheRealReal and Gucci, as well as secondhand offerings from Levi’s and Cos, which launched branded resale platforms for their own products.
According to ThredUp, a leading resale platform in the US, the secondhand market grew a staggering 21 times faster than the retail market overall in 2016-2019. ThredUp expects the market to be worth US$51 billion by 2023.
This is being driven in part by a growing demand for sustainable fashion from younger consumers. ThredUp claims that if everybody bought one used item, instead of buying new, it would save 449 million pounds of waste.
At the same time, the rise of online platforms like ThredUp, Poshmark, TheRealReal and many others, has made it incredibly easy to shop for secondhand clothing. Customers can shop online and search by brand and size, just as they would if they were buying new.
But as the resale market expands, the competition for customers – and their unwanted clothing – is increasing. In Australia alone, there are at least a half dozen online resale platforms, including global players, such as Vestiaire Collective, Depop and now Poshmark, as well as local startups, such as Airrobe. Not to mention the likes of Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree.
How Poshmark can stand out
“Different players have used different approaches to stand out of the crowd. A great user experience and convenience in product upload and shipping are considered the basics,” Anna Forster, sustainability strategist and co-founder of The Purpose Agents, told Inside Retail.
“On top of that, some players such as Depop, Poshmark or Facebook Marketplace have leveraged the ability for users to engage with the community to drive sales in what is called ‘social commerce’. In times of social distancing and closed stores, players are looking to translate the social aspect of offline shopping into an enticing online experience.”
With over 70 million users in the US and Canada, Poshmark’s strong focus on social connection could help it compete in the crowded resale market in Australia. It offers a range of community-hosted virtual events, including Posh N Sip, Posh N Coffee and Posh N List, which are designed to help sellers grow their network and ultimately drive sales.
According to Poshmark, 87 per cent of items purchased on the platform in 2019 were preceded by a social interaction, such as a like, comment, or offer.
“Beyond that, driving engagement via unique offerings is key and some players have harnessed partnerships,” said Forster.
“The Real Real’s partnerships with designers such as Stella McCartney, Burberry or Gucci is offering customers credit with the designer when consigning old garments from that particular designer. ThredUp has similar partnerships with Reformation or The Gap.”
Volume and quality
One of the challenges many resale platforms face is the sheer volume and variation of products on their platforms, and how this impacts the customer experience.
“A great challenge remains categorisation, especially online, where customers rely heavily on tangible information to make a purchase decision. In response, recommerce players have been investing heavily in technology to help connect the right customers with the right product,” Forster said.
Another challenge is quality. Without being able to touch and feel products before buying them, customers rely on sellers to be honest about the condition of their listings. TheRealReal and Vestiaire Collective, which both cater to the luxury end of the market, handle quality control for customers, while Poshmark offers buyer protection and authentication services.
But despite these hurdles, sustainability experts like Forster don’t expect the resale boom to slow down any time soon.
“There is a rising awareness among consumers that fast fashion is bad for the environment and that buying second hand keeps items out of landfill. Paired with the continuing growth of social media (see the stellar rise of TikTok) and not repeating an outfit even in the socially distant world of the pandemic, resale is an attractive and affordable proposition,” she said.