After years of growing its online user base, peer-to-peer reselling platform Poshmark is ready to return to marketing and in-person events.
Resale apps, including competitors Depop and Mercari, relied heavily on digital tools to encourage more frequent use of the application. However, consignment-focused platforms like ThredUp and The RealReal have been testing branded stores and popups to establish an in-person customer base. For Poshmark, the company relies on influencer collaborations and in-person activations as a single format to recruit more users online.
In-person pre-pandemic events were a way for Poshmark to attract and retain top sellers, who attended conferences like the company’s annual PoshFest event to grow their businesses. Now, the company plans to return to these types of events and reinvest in offline marketing. The goal is not only to reach more sellers, but also customers who are unfamiliar with how online resale works.
Poshmark CMO Steven Tristan Young told Modern Retail that the company plans to reinvest in offline marketing this year — and that events will play a big part in that push. The company has experimented with direct mail marketing and outdoor ads in the past, “and this year we’ll be looking to find that perfect mix of digital and offline advertising,” Young said.
For the full fiscal year 2021, Poshmark’s net revenue was $326.0 million, a 25% year-over-year increase from $261.6 million in 2020. The platform also surpassed 80 million registered users last year, reaching 7.6 million active buyers, a 17% year-on-year. – increase over the year.
While Poshmark’s marketing mix has remained fairly stable — both online and offline — Young said “over the past six to eight months we’ve been more focused on the creator economy.” In turn, the marketing team “works externally to get people to come to the platform,” Young said.
It’s a way to expand Poshmark’s audience, which the company relies on for both merchandise listings and sales. “We want to reach people who might not otherwise discover us online and bring them into the fold,” Young said.
To do this, Poshmark is testing seller-focused hybrid events that people can attend in person or virtually. These events are especially for those who may not know what selling on Poshmark entails. “It’s one thing to see resale online, but it’s another to go to an event and get tips and tricks from seasoned sellers,” Young explained.
“Live events have been such a big part of Poshmark’s DNA,” Young said, with PoshFest as the major annual conference held since 2013.. For the past two years, these community events have taken place virtually or have been discontinued. “Now we’re gearing up to creatively bring the offline presence back,” Young said.
Poshmark recently launched in-person events with a community happy hour in Las Vegas, Young said. This month, the marketing team is hosting an exclusive community event in Miami, as well as various happy hours across the country for sellers to attend. “Miami’s activation will include an out-of-home campaign, as well as an event for our ambassadors,” Young said. “We want to celebrate our ambassadors’ advocacy for our platform.” These official ambassadors are often top performing sellers, who are invited to attend and speak at Poshmark-sponsored events.
These types of activations, alongside TV and streaming advertising, are a big part of how Poshmark builds its offline presence, Young said. Of10 these new campaigns involve a celebrity partner.
In January, Poshmark worked with Doja Cat, where shoppers can win concert tickets to the rapper’s show. Poshmark users were also able to shop staff of Doja Cat items from her Poshmark closet, with proceeds going to charity. In February, Poshmark had a similar activation with K-pop group Ateezwith a live broadcast on YouTube and a month-long deposit of items in the band members’ personal Poshmark closets.
“The Ateez pop-up sale got a lot of attention, so we want to continue working with emerging artists and tap into the communities they bring with them,” Young said. “It’s another way for us to stand out in the platform crowd resellers.
“As we move into this hybrid framework, we’re trying to stay top of mind with people — both buyers and sellers,” Young said.
Poshmark’s latest marketing efforts are part of a growing trend for resale platforms to venture offline.
Coresight Research analyst Sunny Zheng told Modern Retail that while online channels have seen faster growth for the resale platform, events and popups are a way to attract a type of different customers.
“There is evidence that offline is an important part of reselling businesses,” Zheng said. For example, the 18 physical stores of The RealReal have become one of the company’s main customer acquisition tools last year, Zheng said. These stores are also a way to sell more and create higher basket sizes. Indeed, The RealReal reported that more than 30% of new shippers in the second quarter of fiscal 2021 were introduced to The RealReal through a physical location.
Poshmark has no stores to acquire new customers. But Zheng pointed to Poshmark’s strategy of using influencers as sellers to promote its platform as a creative way to tap into different seller communities.
For Poshmark, face-to-face meetings and advertising are another way to differentiate themselves from the competitive resale market.
“At the end of the day, the platform is a medium,” Young said. “But if you’re a seller passionate about the communities we operate, you’re more likely to give our app a try.”