Social shopping platform Poshmark just took a page from Instagram and Snapchat with a major expansion of its own social powers. On Wednesday, the company introduced Posh Stories, a new social feature that lets users create and share shoppable video clips and photos.
Poshmark describes the feature as a way to bring listings to life. The company developed a video tool that allows for captioning as well as tagging, plus the ability to directly tie product listings to the Story.
According to the company, video has been one of the most requested selling tools by the community.
“This thing has been in the works for about a year,” Manish Chandra, founder and chief executive officer of Poshmark, told WWD. “We actually tested out four stories at PoshFest, our annual conference in the fall, and got just tremendous positive feedback.”
Sellers can use the tool to shoot live, 15-second video clips or photos, or upload visual assets from their phones to show off a new product or look, or share styling or beauty tips with their followers. They can also write a short message and tag listings, people and brands to the Story.
Users can find Posh Stories at the top of the Poshmark feed, framed in a vertical slideshow that should feel familiar to those who flock to other social networks. The clips disappear after 48 hours.
The company hopes that the overall effect will make the shopping experience feel more personal and engaging, while giving its eight million sellers an expanded way to merchandise their inventory.
“More interestingly, you can also link it to other people’s stores and other people’s listings, so it kind of follows the same curation paradigm we follow in our photos and our listings,” explained Chandra. “But it also brings it to the video, so I can tell a story that I may be getting a top, [and] I can put a necklace from somebody else’s store, and sort of put the whole outfit together. That drives demand for both the stores, and it gives them an inspiration that they are seeking on how to do things.”
Not that the company is eschewing traditional social media entirely. The ceo noted that the community can still share listings on other platforms, and the ability to do that for video will be coming in the future.
Finding new ways to improve online commerce and merchandising just can’t come too soon for some sellers, as the world battles the turbulent economic effects from the coronavirus. Chandra hopes that the tool will help support people who have come to rely on Poshmark for income.
The company itself wasn’t immune to COVID-19’s ill economic effects either. Like others, the platform — which ushered in more than $2 billion in earnings for sellers last year — experienced disruptions to its business as the pandemic got under way in March. But now it appears to have weathered the storm.
According to Chandra, Poshmark is even seeing quite the comeback. “Since March, it’s been steady and strong to the point that the last couple of weeks have been some of the highest in our history,“ he said.
Part of the reason may be the diversity of offerings in the marketplace, which spans fashion, beauty, home goods, art and other categories. But crucially, Chandra attributes the bounce to consumers’ need to feel connected during an isolative time.
“I feel that on our platform of social commerce, people are sort of feeling that connection. And they can reuse stuff that we have and also participate and get stuff right from their home,” he added. “People seem to be participating at a deeper level. And both transactions and engagement numbers seem to be both normal and actually reaching some sort of local highs.”
Amping up that feeling of connectedness with video has become a conventional sort of retail wisdom in recent years. For a business like Poshmark operating in a climate with a heightened need for e-commerce, it may be more important than ever.
Posh Stories starts rolling out Wednesday and will become available to all Poshmark users in the U.S. and Canada over the coming weeks.