The holidays may lie ahead, but Poshmark sellers already received a few gifts: On Friday, at the start of its two-day PoshFest conference, the online resale and social commerce company revealed new tools and a team dedicated to improving their experience.
To lead the team, Poshmark said cofounder and vice president of merchandising Tracy Sun has been appointed its new senior vice president of seller experience. According to Sun, her main responsibilities will be to lead this team, build out the platform and drive innovations to boost Poshmark’s sellers — like the latest My Shoppers and Closet Insights features.
My Shoppers is Poshmark’s version of a clienteling tool. It can generate a personalized list of past and potential shoppers based on who have liked, commented or bundled within a given closet, and it can be filtered and sorted according to other factors, like most recent activity, most likes or most items in a bundle. It also enables mass actions, so sellers can move a subsection of shoppers through to purchase.
In practical terms, the tool helps sellers understand who their shoppers are and determine next steps. They can address shoppers who, say, add a product to their cart but don’t complete the purchase by offering a promotion, or tempt repeat customers with styling advice or personalizing a bundle for them based on what they’ve bought or liked.
Ultimately, the goal is to make the sort of personalized attention customers get in physical stores more feasible online and at scale.
“My Shoppers is really revolutionary, in that we’re taking marketing programs and tools that are typically reserved for large, large, large retailers — we’re talking about clients with digital clienteling,” said Sun. “Major department stores, major retailers are struggling to incorporate clienteling into their systems. And so I’m proud to be able to offer a clienteling tool for all of our sellers for free.”
As a nascent effort, the company’s first to bring this sort of clienteling to its platform, My Shoppers still has room to grow. For instance, it doesn’t yet use machine learning or algorithm-driven recommendations for services, messaging or offers based on what it learns about shoppers’ preferences.
“It’s a tool that visualizes data and makes it actionable in bulk form for sellers, but absolutely, machine learning and using data to even further scale this feature is something that people have asked for,” Sun elaborated, suggesting that more intelligence may eventually come to the feature.
If My Shoppers works as the virtual equivalent of sales floor clienteling, Closet Insights is the back office, but smarter, with a continuously updated dashboard that funnels real-time inventory and sales data. The visualizations come in a variety of charts, from the performance of brands and bundles to comparisons between sales periods.
These updates join a lineup of new features over the past year, including Bulk Listing Actions, Listing Videos, Seller Discounted Shipping and Style Tags, which allows users to shop by trend.
For Poshmark, whose model holds no actual inventory, it’s clear that the platform is everything. This makes its constant drive to develop features a key priority, and that puts a lot of responsibility on Sun and her team.
If she feels the weight of it, she doesn’t show it — perhaps because she views the attention on seller experience as a natural extension of Poshmark’s 10-year evolution.
She explained that the company was founded as a customer-obsessed business. That may be par for the course in retail, but for a peer-to-peer e-commerce platform, the line between customers and sellers blurs. Anyone can buy and sell from their own closets, especially on Poshmark, which made it easy to turn shoppers into resellers. Users can easily post products they’ve bought on the platform in just a few streamlined steps.
In that sense, its obsession with customers also drives its focus on sellers. The latter not only creates the experience that keeps shoppers coming back — core customers spend close to 30 minutes a day on the site — but many Poshmark users eventually see the value of pushing products themselves. That’s no small matter, considering the platform bustles with more than 80 million users, as of the second-quarter 2021 earnings filing.
For Sun, having a team in place to support them only makes sense, especially as the operation expands. In September, Poshmark officially launched in India, adding the region to its existing Canada, Australia and U.S. markets, making for a potential rush of new resale purveyors.
“Sellers have always been and will continue to be our number-one priority,” she explained. “But as we grow, and as our business grows, we’re seeing that there are just more and more demands on our time — and this is not going to go away.
“So this is the context, and the reason we formed the seller experience team is to hold ourselves accountable to our promise to our customer.”
That can be a challenge, as the needs of new sellers vary from existing ones. Poshmark wants to support newcomers, but it’s also “recognizing the need to really focus resources and energy toward supporting our sellers that are more at the enterprise level,” continued Sun. “They require systems integration, they require very sophisticated tools that normally are reserved for larger platforms.”
To date, Poshmark hasn’t really operated on an enterprise or business-to-business capacity, apart from a wholesale portal that allows sellers to stock up on inventory. But there’s no real difference between accounts run by individuals and those by retail merchants. If the latest upgrades deliver the “large store” functionality they promise, however, it’s not hard to imagine bigger retailers eyeing the platform and prompting a shift at some point.
While intriguing, that may be a topic for another day. Today, Sun’s focus is all about PoshFest, the new seller tools and the official start of her new role at the kickoff of the company’s second decade.
Naturally, it all conjures a little nostalgia. Because for the veteran Poshmarker, the new senior vice president position represents a full-circle moment.
“When we founded Poshmark, I was the one holding happy hours and recruiting our first five customers by teaching them how to take photos of themselves. Because at the time selfies didn’t exist yet,” Sun added. “And so it’s like, ‘OK, well, let’s style this sweater that you’re selling and not throw it on the floor. What if you wear it and show us your inspiration?’ — all that stuff.”
Across her work in recruiting, the men’s business and its boutique business, she always saw herself as a champion of Poshmark’s community.
“Now I have the opportunity to really make it my my main focus, my only focus — to help sellers of all kinds to thrive on Poshmark,” she said.