Poshmark is one of the key names on resale shoppers’ tongues — and for good reason.
To Manish Chandra, the peer-to-peer resale platform’s founder and chief executive officer, commerce is a “very active thing,” a perception shaped by his upbringing in India, shopping in markets and witnessing vibrant exchanges between community members and his merchant father. In his eyes, selling was — and is today — propelled by social interaction.
Speaking at the WWD Apparel & Retail CEO Summit held virtually last week, Chandra shared insights on the resale zeitgeist, TikTok-inspired fashion and how brands can get involved in resale.
Poshmark, which sprung into public trading last December, is a translation of a real-time zeitgeist if the data is any indication.
“What you are seeing with Poshmark, [is] really what’s happening in broader society whether it’s about cutting-edge styles — or return to basic styles,” Chandra said.
The TikTok-ification of Poshmark
Streetwear, for one is here to stay.
According to Chandra, the category saw order volume increase twenty-eight-fold on the platform. Alessandro Michele’s Gucci has been seeing droves of searches, with a 150 percent increase year-over-year on Poshmark.
But the real kicker is the influence of TikTok.
“More recently, you see the zeitgeist moving to platforms like TikTok. For example, TikTok-inspired style has increased as a search on the platform by 1,500 percent over the past couple of years,” Chandra said. “Bama rush [University of Alabama sorority rush outfit videos], which is one of the TikTok trends happening, has taken a brand like Lucy in the Sky [known for its minidresses and affordable prices], and driven it 133 percent month-over-month and 33 percent year-over-year…You’ve got TikTok hairstyling trends and holiday gifting like Dyson and increasing its order volume over 200 percent month-over-month.”
While Poshmark doesn’t list off detailed demographic composition of its some 80 million users, Millennial and Gen Z consumer sets make up the majority.
In its 2020 social selling report, Poshmark found that 57 percent of Gen Z discover new brands via influencers on social platforms, and 34 percent of Gen Z consumers get their style inspiration from social media influencers.
“The advent of social media, the advent of [what’s] trending, the ability to take something very [high in demand or price] and drop it, will make the velocity of fashion happen faster,” according to Chandra. “We’ve seen that growing every decade and in the last five years. What that means for a platform like Poshmark, which is driven by the consumers, [is] that acceleration of velocity will allow both buying and selling to happen faster.” And the shift toward sustainability redirects some of that velocity into resale (as has been documented).
Looking beyond TikTok to broader economic trends, Chandra believes “there is a little bit of a return to normalcy,” judging from the confidence in customer inquiries around Halloween, NFL gear, men’s dress shirts and wedding dresses on Poshmark, compared to 2020’s dip in consumer sentiment.
Poshmark’s Brand ‘Fan Base’ Opp
Debuting a slew of new seller tools earlier in October, Chandra also gave the scoop to WWD on the platform’s entry into the brand space.
“A lot of kids are restyling stuff from their mom’s and dad’s closets, and that’s really bringing old into new as a remix but with a twist,” Chandra said. Brands, too, are getting to cultivate their own one-on-one, closet-swapping relationship with these highly desirable Gen Z customers with the advent of the “Brand Closet.”
The program is designed for handling the back-end operations for high volume transactions (typical of brands with many listings of the same style) while helping brands establish an extended “fan base,” in Chandra’s words, on Poshmark.
More than 140 brands have already opened up shop on Poshmark, a motivating reason for launching the Brand Closet platform. The Brand Closet program kicked off first in the U.S., with open sign-up starting Oct. 26. There’s no cost to register for the program and, already, several brands, among them Free People, Lucky Brand and Dose of Colors, have participated in the pilot.
In an exclusive interview with WWD, Chandra described the new offering as “a full stack that we’ve been working toward over the last year.” “What we’re announcing is pretty deep integration, which allows brands to populate their closets, to fulfill order processing — connect to their e-commerce and warehousing systems — and then manage customer engagement at scale,” he said.
Official closet buttons will mark the brand experience, as well as trunk show opportunities to make the experience as authentic as possible. Video is a huge component Poshmark is embracing, further rolling out full-scale listing video modules on the first section of brand pages, which will work alongside the company’s Posh Stories feature.
“If you think of Poshmark, our focus is to be the social marketplace, focused on fashion and lifestyle products. And both of these are really pillars of our growth strategies: One is continued strength in our category expansion, and the second is really to continue to strengthen our partnerships with all kinds of sellers, including brands,” said Chandra, adding that brands “love the fact that we have high quality, more authentic products on the platform.”
To further aid its authenticity stamp, Poshmark recently acquired sneaker authentication company Suede One.
For More, See:
Poshmark Opens Up to Large Brands
How Fashion Is Simultaneously Becoming More Social Yet ‘Dehumanized’