Poshmark ‘Stories’ are a big step forward for social commerce

Poshmark announced a new feature to be added to their platform (the Poshmark App) called “Posh Stories,” which most closely align with Instagram or Snapchat stories, where the user has the ability to post a video to their account within the “stories” section that will only last for about 24-48 hours and will then disappear.

Brands on Instagram have had the ability to post products to their stories that can be accessed either on Instagram’s Shop or the brand’s website by simply “swiping up,” making many Poshmark users familiar with the process and idea, however, because Poshmark is an app dedicated solely to resale, it will have a unique advantage and power when compared to other resale companies or even social media apps for the time being.

Poshmark has made a significant contribution to the push for and growing popularity of social commerce. Ordinary people can list essentially any kind of clothing or accessories on the app and can set pricing however they feel appropriate, which has given the overhead power of selling and consuming to the general population. There’s no consigning or having to deal with the Poshmark company unless something goes very wrong (in which case the Poshmark employees are beyond helpful and considerate- I speak from experience), and shipping is incredibly simple and dependent on the seller,which means that instead of having to track down a “Questions?” or “Help” email or page from a standard company, one just just send the seller a chat as would normally be done with friends on social media.

Both the trend to buy second-hand items and Poshmark’s popularity have grown over the last few years, and in my opinion, Poshmark is one of the easiest platforms to use as it is accessible and straightforward for all. It has always felt like the majority of people on Poshmark truly identify as part of the Poshmark community which helps drive the social commerce train forward.

The current state of the U.S. has pushed all consumers who are still spending to ecommerce-based sales with some opting for delivery and others opting for curbside pickup if available. Some notable changing consumer mindsets that Poshmark can benefit greatly from at a time like this would be:

  • The consumer who shops in-person for everything they can and maybe uses Amazon if they have to
  • Those who have been hesitant about resale but now have the time to truly give it a go
  • Those who are familiar with resale and just aren’t getting the push needed to make confident purchases right now

Social commerce can greatly benefit all of these consumers as we are living in a time where social interaction seems lacking, and Poshmark Stories can help to both ease the mind of shoppers weary of resale and can help distract the minds of those stuck at home who need more content in order to make a purchase.

Posh Stories help the potential buyers of Poshmark see how a product looks in different settings, see how it moves, and possibly even see how it looks on the seller, which can be a compromise for those who prefer to shop in-person and try things on. Seeing a product move in a video or even just listening to someone talk about the product can help give the buyer that push of confidence needed to transition over to e/social commerce.

Another interesting concept brought up in this Retail Brew article is that the short lifespan of these stories can drive the feeling of exclusivity of the products on Poshmark, which may push that consumer who’s been on the edge of making a purchase to finally do it because they figure that others may buy it after looking at the story. The potential for flash sales through Posh Stories is also immense.

While Poshmark is not usually the place that people go when they are looking for luxury resale, it does actually have quite and expansive lineup of luxury products. Poshmark unfortunately does not have the authentication infrastructure of sites like The RealReal, however, sellers are usually quite good at posting proof of authenticity on their listing via receipts or item numbers. This being said, I foresee a big increase in Poshmark-based luxury sales because of the new ability to put videos of these products on a seller’s account. To my knowledge, no other luxury resale platform does this and the closest that I have seen in terms of video commerce (outside of Asia) is Nordstrom’s few and far between videos of store associates describing some of their most popular luxury items in a video at the bottom of a product listing on their webpage.

The last point that I would make is that these Posh Stories give Poshmark a pretty significant advantage over a company like eBay. Both have pretty janky websites/apps and require a detailed eye when browsing for the best deals and products. While eBay sells significantly more categories of merchandise than Poshmark, it still has a strong apparel, accessories, and luxury resale sector and is often thought of as the first place to go for secondhand items in good shape on the internet. The concept of video commerce is not something that eBay has embraced and I think that this will accelerate Poshmark to be more of a competitor in the apparel space. My only concern is that Poshmark does not do returns unless an item is truly not what the seller listed it as.

Overall, I think that video commerce will be a powerful tool for retailers to embrace going forward. The pandemic has accelerated the adaptation of both ecommerce and social commerce in the U.S., and Asian countries have been on top of video commerce for years. While this isn’t live-streaming quite yet, I think that is is a big step forward to being close, and kudos to Poshmark for stepping up to the plate.

Featured image taken from Adweek.

Published by Emma Irwin

Emma Irwin is a passionate student of the retail industry. Freshly graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Retail Merchandising, she will be pursuing an M.S. in Apparel Studies with a concentration in Retail and Consumer Studies in fall 2020. Career ambitions include writing a formal research paper, becoming a retail writer and reporter, and maybe being a CEO someday.

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