To create loyalty among its users, PoshMark, a California-based digital wardrobe-clearance platform, puts on physical events alongside its online sales site.
In contrast to the ‘showrooming’ trend, which threatens to relegate the physical experience entirely to mere window-shopping, a new Californian e-commerce site is trying out offline activities in order to promote its services and forge a real community.PoshMark offers women fashion-lovers the opportunity to sell the now-unwanted contents of their wardrobe by using a mobile app. While mobile transactions today represent over 11% of all e-commerce, PoshMark’s approach is to also arrange both virtual and physical events to help build its brand image.
On- and offline interactive experience
PoshMark profiles itself as a ‘social mobile commerce’ site. While all transactions are conducted exclusively online, the company is nevertheless trying to build a user community based on both digital and physical conversations. Founder and CEO Manish Chandra is convinced that the mobile platform has today become the most intuitive way of shopping, pointing out that “We have a very strong emotional connection with our phones.”In order to sell a fashion item, a woman simply needs to take a photo of it and can then use one of a range of special filters – with options such as vintage, retro, modern or chic – to add specific appeal. She can then put the item on sale immediately and it will be placed in a themed showroom designed to make the browsing experience easier. PoshMark enhances the mobile experience through constant conversation with its users. Each week around twenty themed Posh Parties take place on the website. These real-time sales events reproduce the type of interaction normally found during a real-world closet sale. In parallel with these online events, PoshMark holds physical events where women can exchange ideas with PoshMark representatives and bloggers, the aim being to build a genuine community and draw on the word-of-mouth effect. There is no risk of the physical events cannibalizing business on the online platform as transactions can only be carried out online.
Community experience with decisive commercial impact
This determination to cement loyalty both off- and online is the cornerstone of PoshMark’s strategic development. In the face of aggressive competition, PoshMark is investing in creating a tightly-knit community, positioning itself as a ‘social shopping’ site. At a time when the e-commerce experience is becoming very commonplace, PoshMark is trying to give new meaning to the physical experience by promoting interaction with and among its users. PoshMark’s founder argues that “when women talk about fashion, they share love”,and this strategy seems to be paying off. At each Posh Party an average of over 200,000 items are shared and that is where 40% of total sales take place. The drive to found a community will culminate in October with the first-ever PoshFest in Las Vegas. PoshMark is thus seeking to convey a both off- and online shopping experience by acting as a social network in its own right. Women spend on average 25 minutes a day in the app, compared with 13 minutes a day on Facebook. This is clearly beneficial from a commercial point of view since 70% of the users recruited during the events go on to carry out transactions.