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Poshmark Is Proving Social Selling Works on Mobile

Poshmark is the envy of larger, well established marketplaces as it lands another $25 million from investors to continue on its path to bring ecommerce to the fashion minded. The company calls itself “the largest community marketplace for fashion where anyone can buy, sell and share their personal style.”

That may sound a little like eBay, but Poshmark is very different – it has succeeded as a social and mobile marketplace, and unlike many other startups, it has found ways to scale its business.

The company talks about “building a passionate community of women who can connect, buy and sell from each other – right from their phones.” What’s different from other marketplaces or mobile apps, however, is that Poshmark “Stylists” help each other discover new items, creating a “unique social merchandising engine,” which Poshmark says leads to “better discovery for buyers and more sales for sellers.”

So how does it scale that model? It’s now giving both big and independent fashion brands the opportunity to sell merchandise through Poshmark’s massive seller network. “By adding these influential sellers as a new retail force, brands can now reach a huge mobile shopping audience of millions of women already spending 25 minutes per day in the app and opening it 7-8 times daily.”

Poshmark founder and CEO Manish Chandra said the new retail approach is different. Instead of going around the 1.5 million sellers on Poshmark, the company said, “let’s empower them so they can become a sales force for fashion brands.” Poshmark created a wholesale portal – “it’s like a new set of boutiques for the brands on the platform,” he said. About 10% of the sellers qualify for the wholesale model.

Chandra noted that those 150,000 qualified sellers exceed the number of fashion boutiques in the U.S. A very tiny percentage have started to participate in the wholesale marketplace, leading to an incredible growth opportunity, he said.

Another area of growth, Chandra said, is to expand the catalog – while he did not reveal a timeframe, there are plans to expand into kids and men’s fashion.

You may have seen the company’s brand on television – the USPS is running an advertisement featuring several retail brands, including Poshmark, eBay, Shutterfly, Thred Up, Bass Pro Shops, Stitch Fix, and Harry & David – you can view it on iSpot.tv.

In fact, Poshmark entered into a very unique deal with the USPS in 2014 to launch PoshPost. At the time it explained, “For the buyer, PoshPost is introducing the most inexpensive price for 2-3 day priority shipping, at a subsidized flat rate of $4.99 for up to 5 pounds.” (The cost is now $5.95.)

The new funding round was led by GGV Capital, bringing the company’s total funding to over $70 million. The company also announced the addition of Hans Tung, Managing Partner at GGV Capital, to Poshmark’s board of directors.

Still not sure what Poshmark is all about? Julia Wilkinson interviewed Poshmark cofounder Tracy Sun and Poshmark user Annie Cheng in 2012, who provided a helpful window into what makes the site so popular with fashion shoppers.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.