Poshmark’s secondhand sales platform goes to the dogs

Discussion
Photos: Poshmark
Feb 15, 2021
Tom Ryan

Poshmark, the resale platform, last week launched a pet category as it continues to branch out beyond its roots in women’s fashions.

Poshmark, which went public in January, launched in 2011 with a focus on secondhand women’s apparel, shoes and accessories. The retailer followed with men’s and kid’s in 2016, home décor in 2019, and beauty and toys in 2020. Poshmark writes in its IPO prospectus, “We anticipate adding new categories to expand our product offering and continue to serve demand from our diverse community.”

In 2019, apparel represented 45 percent of sales for Poshmark; shoes, 21 percent; bags, 17 percent; accessories, 12 percent; and other, 5 percent.

Poshmark stands out from competitors such as RealReal and thredUP by positioning itself as a “social marketplace.” The prospectus states, “We enable our buyers to grow their personal networks on our marketplace, driving positive social feedback, long-term engagement, and repeat purchases.”

The company employs a variety of social actions, including Posh Parties and styling “Bundles,” to encourage interaction. In 2019, 87 percent of items purchased were preceded by a like, comment or offer on Poshmark, and its community of over 30 million active users spent an average of 27 minutes per day on the marketplace.

Poshmark encourages its sellers to style and promote each other’s items. Poshmark wrote, “Sellers often send personal, handwritten notes to buyers along with their item, while buyers often write digital ‘love notes,’ commenting on the purchase or seller experience.”

Items available under Poshmark’s new pet section include collars, carriers, toys, brushes, bowls and beds. As with other categories, pets will include some new merchandise but mostly secondhand offerings.

Poshmark noted in a statement that 67 percent of Americans are pet owners and that ownership grew “exponentially” over the last year due to a record number of COVID-19-era adoptions.

“It’s important that our social marketplace addresses the needs of the entire family,” said Tracy Sun, co-founder and SVP of new markets at Poshmark. “We’re excited to offer pet owners a fun and social way to shop, sell and connect in a way that builds community, considers personal styles and budgets, and drives sustainability.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does the pet category offer potential for resale platforms? Does Poshmark’s focus on combining social and marketplace features offer more opportunities to support categories well beyond fashion?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Terrific move by Poshmark. Massive market. Passionate shoppers. Reaches across all socio-economic strata. This should be a huge success."
"What a fun idea – between an increase in pet adoptions and the desire to look for other social outlets over the last year, this seems like good timing."
"Having planted its flag initially in fashion, Poshmark needs to manage its brand positioning carefully as it pushes into new categories."

Join the Discussion!

10 Comments on "Poshmark’s secondhand sales platform goes to the dogs"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I go back to that old survey that found women spend more time choosing a gift for their pet than they do for their spouse or significant other, so I guess Poshmark catering to pets makes sense. If I am clicking around the app looking for clothes, I might click over to see what’s new for my pets. But I kind of doubt it. This addition helps Poshmark continue to round out its assortment to provide its customers with a one-stop shop, but there are already so many great places online – and locally – to buy things for pets I think Poshmark would be the last place I would look.

Suresh Chaganti
BrainTrust

It would have been odd for an apparel retailer to have a pets section, but not so for Poshmark because of the generic positioning it has. Poshmark is not particularly tied to any category, so it is natural to find as many adjacent categories as it can in order to expand into them.

Steve Dennis
BrainTrust

Having planted its flag initially in fashion, Poshmark needs to manage its brand positioning carefully as it pushes into new categories. But certainly there are a number of adjacent areas that can both leverage existing customer relationships (and having already spent the often high cost of customer acquisition) and its operating model. The total addressable market sounds large at first blush, but there are a few important things to consider. One, most of the pet industry is consumables. Second, non-consumable pet products don’t have the same pace of obsolescence as apparel and accessories do owing to fashion cycles, wear and fit. Third, resales for pet products is not an existing habit for consumers. All of this adds up to an interesting, but likely rather small incremental volume opportunity. But it can solidify more customer engagement.

Scott Norris
Guest

I’ve been seriously impressed this past year with the service’s ability to draw the right eyeballs to well-composed and shot listings for men’s suits, shoes, and coats — I have no doubt the buyer demographics overlap well with people who want the best gear and outfits for their pets, and there’s a level of trust in the platform that there isn’t on eBay or other auction sites. Will pet gear be a huge segment for them? No, but as you say, customer engagement is key, so for those who know how to sell, they’ll be pleased.

Kathleen Fischer
BrainTrust

What a fun idea – between an increase in pet adoptions and the desire to look for other social outlets over the last year, this seems like good timing.

John Hennessy
BrainTrust

Terrific move by Poshmark. Massive market. Passionate shoppers. Reaches across all socio-economic strata. This should be a huge success.

Evan Snively
BrainTrust

I see ups and downs to the pet category. Pet items do tend to get a lot of wear and tear so I see a relatively small window of items which are seen as desirable (especially being paid for vs. free). On the flip side, the pet space provides a lot of upside for the social/feel good community, so there is opportunity for Poshmark and others to capitalize on that.

Overall, Poshmark utilizing social aspects to take some of the mercenary/lowest price sting out of selling goods online is a good strategy – but it has limitations as at the end the day people are still trying to sell their goods, not make friends, and that will take priority.

David Adelman
BrainTrust

Brilliant addition! Long before the “COVID-19 pet boom,” animal ownership continues to grow at an amazing pace. Being a forever pet owner myself, they definitely become one of the family. Why not cater to them as well?

I believe the key to Poshmark’s success will continue to be using social media to engage consumers with personalized interactions, which help seal their brand. Communication with human interaction along all platforms is the key to success at any retail level.

We see explosive growth in Asia with the development of live streaming e-commerce selling platforms through brand influences such as Alibaba’s Taobao Live, Kuaishou (Kwai) and ByteDance’s Douyin (TikTok).

Time will tell whether North America will adopt these highly social live interactive platforms, but I think it’s inevitable given the great success overseas.

And by the way, if you think dogs, cats or any pet owners don’t want the latest fashions for their pets, you are sadly mistaken! Fashion abounds wherever you may look.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

I can see the value of adding pet products to their assortment, the issue is that it’s not the first place or a place top of mind to do that. I will be interested to see how this plays out.

PJ Walker
Guest

Kids and pets are always popular and with reality shows incorporating coordinating pet accessories with their owners, it only supports the idea that consumers will spend for their pets as much as they do for their kids.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Terrific move by Poshmark. Massive market. Passionate shoppers. Reaches across all socio-economic strata. This should be a huge success."
"What a fun idea – between an increase in pet adoptions and the desire to look for other social outlets over the last year, this seems like good timing."
"Having planted its flag initially in fashion, Poshmark needs to manage its brand positioning carefully as it pushes into new categories."

Take Our Instant Poll

How do you rate the pet category opportunity for Poshmark?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...