There’s no doubt the recent year has been tough for some industries, but it is safe to say that e-commerce or social commerce is not one of them. Online shopping, even before the pandemic hit, is a booming business for the convenience it offers consumers. Virtual marketplaces and boutiques all the more became relevant and appealing to consumers cooped up at home as it promotes a safe shopping experience.
When it comes to pre-owned clothing and personal items, buyers are spoilt for choice. There’s a wide array of online marketplaces and resale sites available to scour for practically every item they might have in mind or fancy. From peer-to-peer resell marketplaces (Poshmark, Mercari, Tradesy), consignment marketplaces, thrift stores (ThredUP, RealReal), to the more established, traditional channels (eBay, Amazon), even sellers might find it challenging to decide on a selling platform.
To help in finding the right fit, consider the platform’s customer base, the fees involved, the shipping options, how they protect sellers, and the factors that contribute to seller success. In this article, we will be focusing on Poshmark and Tradesy. If you’re interested in Mercari and ThredUP, do read our articles about them here and here.
Touted as a “Vibrant community powered by millions of sellers,” Poshmark is one of the key players and top-of-mind platforms in the online marketplace scene with over 70 million community members in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Its decade-long industry experience has enabled it to continuously improve the platform with new features and to strengthen its positioning within its market composed of women and men who are mostly Gen Z and Millennials – social-media-savvy demographics that thrive on Poshmark’s dynamic environment.
The platform boasts a listing of approximately 200 million items, a combination of new and secondhand, across a broad range of categories. Here, items for both women and men, as well as kids’ clothing, are available. Certain items for pets and the home, and for beauty and wellness (including brand new makeup) are also allowed. Poshmark is not for those planning to sell electronics or used personal care items or other items under their restricted categories.
Consistent with the wide array of categories is the range of brands available on Poshmark closets. Buyers go for a mix of fast-fashion brands, popular sportswear labels like Nike and Adidas, and some labels from the higher end of the spectrum like Gucci or Tory Burch.
As of the moment, selling and buying in Poshmark is available only for those located and residing in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Officially launched in 2012 as an online fashion marketplace “built by and for women,” Tradesy is the largest peer-to-peer luxury platform in the United States. It has a straightforward product offering (designer items only, either brand new or secondhand) and a concentrated customer base (women), which makes it an ideal platform for those in the business of selling only guaranteed authentic luxury items for women.
This platform is known for handbags, jewelry and accessories, shoes, and designer clothing from luxury labels like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, and Christian Louboutin. It also carries mid-range brands like Zara, J. Crew, and Lululemon, from which the bestselling clothing items come from.
What’s also distinct about Tradesy is its selection of wedding items, from bridal gowns to everything one might need for a wedding either as a bride, part of the entourage, or a guest looking for the perfect gift. Sellers who have some elegant pairs of shoes or high-value evening dresses worn only once or twice and are now left forgotten at the back of your closet, might have better chances of selling them for a good price on Tradesy.
On the other hand, this platform is not for those planning to offer men’s items (except for watches and wallets), unbranded old clothes, fragrances and cosmetics, health and beauty products, swimwear, electronics, and kid’s clothing.
To list on Tradesy, sellers must be located and residing in the United States. Buyers, on the other hand, can come from any part of the world as long as they’re willing to shoulder the corresponding international shipping fees.
There’s no listing fee on Poshmark. Sellers have the freedom to list as many items as possible, and will only be charged once an item sells. The listing price of the item dictates the type of charge it will be subjected to. Poshmark classifies its fees into two types only: Either a single flat rate or a fixed commission rate. There are no transaction fees or any additional or hidden charges.
For transactions involving items worth less than $15, Poshmark takes $2.95.
For transactions involving items worth more than $15, Poshmark takes 20% of the listing price.
In return, sellers get to enjoy a seamless selling experience, as the platform will handle the financial nitty-gritty such as credit card fees and sales taxes; provide pre-addressed and prepaid shipping labels; lend customer support; and provide sellers’ protection.
This simple commission framework makes it easy for sellers to determine the listing price for each item. They just need to set listing prices that will allow them to pocket healthy profits even after the corresponding Poshmark fees have been applied. They can also easily refer to this as a guide in helping them decide whether or not to accept a potential buyer’s offer, or how low to drop the prices when they are offering discounts.
Sellers’ earnings are credited on their Posh account, which can be used to purchase from fellow Poshers, or directly deposited into their bank account.
Likewise, an unlimited listing is free on Tradesy. Its commission framework is also quite similar to Poshmark, but it is a bit more complicated because the earnings would also depend on the shipping method chosen by the seller.
For transactions involving items worth less than $50, Tradesy charges a flat commission fee of $7.50.
For transactions involving items worth more than $50, Tradesy pockets a 19.8% commission.
These are the three shipping options:
- Ship using a Tradesy Shipping Kit or a pre-paid shipping label – Tradesy will add the shipping fee on top of the selling price, and together these will show up as the listing price. The corresponding commission fee will be deducted based on the selling price.
- Ship using your shipping – The seller will factor in the estimated out-of-pocket shipping fee in setting the listing price of an item. Tradesy will then deduct the corresponding commission fee based on the listing price.
- Sell during a Tradesy Sales or Promotion – If the seller opts in for any sales or promotional event, the deduction will be based on the final discounted price for which the item sold. To better manage sellers’ expectations and let them adjust their prices as necessary, the breakdown of the projected earnings and commission is shown before the listing goes live. It’s important to note that the earnings breakdown also includes the 2.9% Safe Transfer Fee, which is automatically factored in whenever a seller lists an item. Tradesy charges this additional, mandatory fee to cover the fees incurred in processing the payment.
After each successful sale, the earnings will reflect on the seller’s account where it serves as good as cash in snapping up a new luxury item on the platform. Otherwise, it can be transferred to the seller’s PayPal, checking account, or debit card.
Shipping costs may be used as leverage in strategizing as a seller on Poshmark. There is the option to make an item irresistible to buyers by offering free shipping, to position a discounted shipping as a freebie when a buyer purchases two or more items, or to set a competitive listing price and let the buyer shoulder the flat rate USPS shipping cost at $7.45 for a package no heavier than 5lbs. Poshmark will provide the shipping label, but it is the seller’s responsibility to make sure the correct box is used (USPS Priority Mail for US orders) and that the package is dispatched within two to three days of purchase.
In case of returns, Poshmark will shoulder the shipping of the item back to the seller if the cause is proven valid under the Poshmark Return Policy. A full refund shall also be awarded to the buyer.
The three shipping options mentioned above are available for all listings, except for items under the Wedding category wherein sellers must take care of shipping.
Sellers who opt for a free shipping kit (buyer shoulders the shipping fee) will receive it within three to five days of the Order Date. The kit includes a pre-paid USPS label with tracking and must be filled with the purchased item and mailed to the buyer within 10 days from the Order Date.
Returns are likewise handled by Tradesy at no cost to the seller and buyer. It also covers the shipping costs incurred when a buyer reports a suspected counterfeit item that needs to undergo an authentication check by their team of experts. Since Tradesy specializes in luxury items, it upholds a policy of Zero Tolerance to Fraud. Shipping and other expenses will be extracted from the Tradesy account of the seller found guilty of retailing a replica or misrepresented an item.
To be covered by Poshmark in case of loss of package, sellers must use the shipping label provided by Poshmark and have the package scanned into the USPS tracking system for visibility. Buyers will be notified of the delivery (orders worth $400 and up will require a signature) and be prompted to review and accept the order within three days. Otherwise, they can open a claim for a return request. Sellers are encouraged to respond promptly and with sufficient documentation to help defend their case. Poshmark will then review the case and come up with a fair resolution.
Helpful resources like its in-house blog also somehow add to the Poshmark sellers’ confidence and contribute to their sense of protection while using the platform.
Tradesy seller protection is not clearly and sufficiently discussed on their website, unlike Poshmark. Instances like delayed or missing shipment may be reported to the Tradesy team by email or phone. Buyers unhappy with their purchases can file a claim for return within four days. Returned items to the seller may be relisted on the platform.
Effort as Seller
Sellers are guided every step of listing an item. There are prompts to ensure your description is complete and accurate, cues to help sellers set the right price, and a feature that lets sellers enhance their own photos to make them appealing to buyers and at par with Tradesy’s luxe look and feel.
When it comes to boosting sales and promoting one’s listings, Tradesy offers sellers minimal opportunities. There’s the Smart Pricing feature that sellers could opt-in for all or specific items on their closet. This helps optimize an item’s price by gradually reducing it by 10% week after week until it gets sold or until it reaches the floor price set by the seller. The participating items will get a chance to show up more on users’ feeds with an “On Sale” badge. Promotion is limited to sharing a seller’s personalized link on Facebook or directly to prospective buyers.
Tradesy is ideal for sellers who are fine with letting their items sit idly on the site, alongside competition, while waiting for their chance to be organically discovered by interested buyers.
On the other hand, Poshmark is for sellers who enjoy working in a fast-paced environment and bustling community. Here, a seller’s chance of making a sale hinge on how actively and consistently she shares her closet, as well as other Poshers’ listings, in a day and how she takes advantage of opportunities to sell and network, like joining Posh Parties and Posh Fest. Becoming a Posh Ambassador also helps, if the seller is willing to put in the time and effort to achieve that status.
Some tasks that contribute to seller success on Poshmark do require time and effort but can be automated: Sharing, growing followers and following back, sending offers, and more. OneShop helps sellers list to both marketplaces, getting the best of both! Try OneShop, an intelligent assistant designed to do the work even as you sleep. Register for a 7-day free trial to see if it’s a good fit with your business!