Whatnot threw resellers a curve ball when it introduced live auctions to a wider audience earlier this year. The addictive live bidding process was such a success among resellers that other platforms have been quickly prioritizing updates to their own apps that will allow for live selling shows. Soon you’ll see live auctions pop up on eBay, Etsy, and now on Poshmark as well.
I was included in the beta testing phase of this feature so read until the end to get my honest opinion of live selling, and a sneak peek of other incredible Poshmark features announced at Poshfest this year.
What Are Live Online Auctions?
When it comes to online auctions, eBay is usually the first place that comes to mind. The popular online sales platform first exploded onto the internet scene in 1995 and quickly became a success. They were the first website created to specifically match buyers and sellers online, and the auction-style bidding quickly drew buyers in. Fast-forward about 26 years, and the internet has changed rapidly with better technology and a much larger interest in videos and live streaming.
Whatnot changed the game again when they introduced auction-style live stream selling to the reseller world. While live sales were already growing in popularity on social media, Whatnot was the first to successfully combine live selling and auction-style bidding for resellers and buyers. During a live auction online, you will typically have a host or seller who displays the items and runs the auction. The audience is filled with buyers who can place bids in small increasing increments until the timer runs out and someone ultimately “wins” the item.
Poshmark Introduces “Poshmark Shows” In 2022
The Poshmark Shows feature is currently in the beta testing phase. Starting with a small group of invite-only sellers, Poshmark quietly released this beta test at the end of September. For now, only a few sellers have the ability to create shows, but everyone can attend live shows and make purchases.
I received an email in early September with an invitation to apply for the beta program. After a quick application and a live online training session, I was able to set up and host my first Poshmark Show. Poshmark only allowed us to start marketing the show a few days before they went live, so the soft launch of this product could be tested before it goes out to more sellers.
The new live-selling feature was announced on the Poshmark blog and again at Poshfest in Houston. There is no date yet for when the feature will come out of beta or when new sellers will be added. There is a waiting list you can add your name to as long as you are a reseller in the US with experience in live sales. You can fill out this form to get on the Poshmark Shows waiting list.
How To Find Poshmark Live Shows And Purchase Items As A Buyer
The upcoming Poshmark Shows can be found on your newsfeed on the app or the website. I personally find it easiest to use Poshmark through their mobile app. You will see a section in your newsfeed for Posh Shows, and you can click on “all Posh Shows” to see more.
Enter a Poshmark Show while it is live, and you’ll be able to place bids and make purchases in real-time. Keep in mind that buyers pay shipping in these auctions, and the shipping is currently $7.67 per item with no option to bundle as of yet.
The seller will determine a starting price and the length of time an item will be auctioned. If a buyer places a bid within the last few seconds, a little more time will be added for counter-bids. You can also talk with other audience members and the seller using the chat feature. Auction wins are binding, and Poshmark will charge you immediately for any items you win using the payment method you have on file associated with your account.
Everything You Need To Know About Selling Live With Poshmark
Once the beta phase is over, Poshmark will start to process live selling applications from all interested sellers. You can get prepared in advance by reading this quick guide to hosting Poshmark Shows.
Once granted access, you’ll find the ability to set up and manage your upcoming shows using the tools icon on your closet page.
From here, you will be able to choose the date and time for your show and start loading items for sale. Poshmark will let you add current listings to your live show. While these items are listed on your live show, keep in mind they can still be purchased on the Poshmark app at any time. If you don’t want your live show items to sell before the show, you can simply change their status to “not for sale” temporarily.
It will be up to you to create unique ways to market your show and get people to attend. While in beta, there is very little competition, but once the floodgates open, you’ll want a strong marketing plan to build your audience.
When it’s time to start your live stream, simply tap on the show in your toolbox to get started and go live. Chat with your audience while people enter the room before you show your first item. When you are ready, pull out an item and describe it to your audience. Tap the item in your show’s list to pull it up and start your auction. For each auction, you will have to enter a starting price and choose the length of time the auction will run. Thirty-second auctions are pretty standard.
When an item is won, Poshmark will charge the buyer and email you the label just as they would if you have made the sale out of your closet at any other time. As of right now, the seller fees and shipping fees are the same as well. The buyer will pay for shipping, and you will be charged the 20% seller fee.
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How Are Poshmark Shows Different Than Whatnot?
An online auction is pretty straightforward, and I would venture to guess most will look pretty similar in their basic mechanics. There are, however, some important differences between the new Poshmark Shows and the Whatnot platform.
The first important difference is that Whatnot was built for live auction shows, whereas Poshmark started as more of an online shop and added live shows as an additional feature. Why is this a big deal? Whatnot already has put a lot of time and attention into perfecting streaming, traffic, shipping, and other essential live auction features. Poshmark will have to learn as they go and will start with just some basic features.
Poshmark has higher seller fees than Whatnot, and because of this, they can’t let sellers start at $1. The lowest starting price you can have on Poshmark is $3, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While Whatnot has the advantage of being primarily an online auction site, its audience has been trained to enjoy shows with low starting points and ultimately lower prices that people often sell their items for on Poshmark. So far, the higher sales price expectation on Poshmark is holding true, and I was able to net higher profits per item on Poshmark than I was able to get on Whatnot.
Seller fees are also different between the two platforms. Currently, the seller fees on Poshmark are 20%, and on Whatnot, they are 8% of the purchase price plus a processing fee of 2.9% and .30 cents for each item.
On both Whatnot and Poshmark Shows, the buyer pays for shipping. The shipping cost is based on the item’s weight on Whatnot, and there is a discount when a buyer purchases multiple items during the same show. At this time, Poshmark has a fee of $7.67 per item with no bundling or discount option. We hope this will be resolved quickly because repeat buyers are very important in these live auction-style shows.
One thing that established resellers find to be a pain with Whatnot is loading their inventory when they already have it loaded on other platforms or cross-listing platforms such as Vendoo. An advantage Poshmark has is that your inventory is already loaded and ready to be added to your show with just a click of a button. You can also sell that inventory anytime in your closet and not only during live shows.
You can read more about selling on Whatnot right here on our blog.
My Experience With Poshmark Shows Beta Test
My personal experience with the Poshmark Shows beta test was a complete success. I have high hopes for live selling that I think many resellers will benefit from. While live selling and live buying aren’t for everyone, video and live-streaming are trends we can’t ignore. It’s at least worth a shot to see if it works for your business model.
Consistent live sales work best for people with a lot of inventory, access to low COG inventory, and people with big personalities that don’t mind being on camera live. This is why live selling platforms will typically have an application and training process to make sure both buyers and sellers are set up for success. The application process for the Poshmark Shows beta program was pretty straightforward. It asked me a few questions about my live sales experience and inventory. Once you are approved, you are invited to a quick one-hour training session. I feel the training session is crucial and hope they keep it for all future sellers much like Whatnot does now.
I absolutely loved that you can choose listings from your own already listed items on Poshmark. This saved me a ton of time when setting up my show. I also added a few new items and while making a full listing for auction items seems like it takes too long, it will pay off if the items don't sell at auction and need to be added to your regular Poshmark closest after your show.
I had close to 200 people in my first show, and it stayed pretty consistent through the hour I was live streaming. One downfall of the Posh Shows, however, is that you can only use one device for both filming and running the auctions. I found this a little awkward as you have to get really close to the camera when setting up each auction. I enjoyed having the option with Whatnot to use more than one device to run my show and have a helper join me to run auctions. I also miss the ability to have a moderator from your audience help you answer questions as well.
The auctions themselves went smoothly. The best part was I was able to get away with higher starting bids and ended up with an average sale price per item of 150% more than I received on Whatnot sales. The Poshmark community does seem willing to pay higher prices for quality items. Also, when I visited other sellers’ Poshmark Shows, I found, in general, a higher quality of items being sold as well. Poshmark sellers do a fantastic job of describing their items and pointing out any flaws, which has been an issue on Whatnot.
My only complaint during the live show was that the comments were very hard to read. You get a notification comment each time someone joins your show, and it clogged up the chat feed, making it hard to respond to audience questions and chat.
After the show ended, I checked my email and saw that each individual sale was sent to me just as if the purchases had been made out of my Poshmark closet the usual way. It would be nice to have a seller’s dashboard with stats and combined shipping labels in the future. The individual sales labels, though, did help me stay organized during shipping.
Overall it was a fantastic experience, and I’m looking forward to seeing what new features and updates they will make before the feature goes live for everyone.
Tips For Hosting Great Live Auctions
Whatnot’s biggest downfall is that they let far too many sellers on the platform in relation to how many buyers they have. This has led to oversaturation and too many shows airing at once, which limits audience sizes per show. Poshmark would be smart to roll this feature out slowly and be selective when adding new sellers at first. How can you use this information to make sure you have great sales even when more sellers enter the arena? Marketing!
Marketing your shows is going to become important as more and more sellers are allowed into the program. Right now, the beta feature doesn’t have any marketing tools to help you, but I have a few suggestions.
Create a “listing” that advertises your show. You can share this listing a lot to help spread the word. Encourage people to “like'' the post and set a high fake price for the listing that you can routinely lower with reminders about the upcoming show.
Poshmark will encourage you to use a photo of your inventory as your show cover photo; however, I think it’s even more important to have a photo of yourself in that cover shot. People will be coming to the show to see you and buy from you, so make it easy for them to find your show.
Create posts and videos for social media to help promote your upcoming show. Initially, Poshmark will be pushing these shows, and with so few sellers approved, attendance is all but guaranteed, but that won’t always be the case. Get used to self-promotion now and start building a social media following outside of Poshmark you can market to.
Another tip for having a great show is to be very organized. Have your items pulled and within reach. I used a hanging rack and put it right next to me during my show. Before the show starts, check your setup and make sure you have good lighting and enough room to show off your items.
Be unique and create a custom show unlike anyone else’s. You can do this with themed shows, games, and giveaways. During my show, I hosted a mystery-pull free gift with each purchase. Being memorable is a great way to draw people in and get them to come to future shows as well. Remember, live selling is equal parts great inventory and great showmanship.
Poshmark Live Shows And Vendoo: A Winning Combination
One of the best things about Poshmark Shows for Vendoo users is that you can use Vendoo to import or crosslist inventory you already have loaded on other platforms. Not only that, you can easily keep track of these sales and have them show up in your Vendoo analytics. Items that didn’t sell can be relisted using Vendoo to give them a bump in the algorithm. If you’re not a Vendoo subscriber yet, there’s never been a better time to join!
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New Poshmark Features Announced At Poshfest 2022
Poshmark Live Shows weren’t the only topic of discussion at this year’s first in-person Poshfest since before Covid. Resellers from across the US gathered in Houston to network, educate themselves, and hear the latest news from Manish himself and the rest of the Poshmark team. Here are the features you can look forward to as we enter Q4 from Poshmark.
Poshmark’s theme for Q4 feature launches is “Sell Fast, Ship Fast, Get Paid Fast. First things first, though, Poshmark announced that they would roll back changes they previously made to the search algorithm that many sellers blamed for an extraordinarily bad sales slump over the last six months or so.
Return Of The Original Search Algorithm:
The changes to the algorithm were designed to help smaller sellers get sales but, unfortunately, led to inaccurate search results that pushed stale listings that were often made by sellers who had abandoned the platform leading to a bad experience for both buyers and sellers. The original algorithm we are returning to will focus more on best matches to search terms and newly shared or created listings. The changes started to roll back on October 1st and 2nd. Many sellers are already reporting an uptick in sales and activity on the platform.
My Saved Searches:
You will now be able to create saved searches on Poshmark. This is a very useful buyer tool and will make sure the right people are notified when you create a new listing. Make sure your keywords and SEO skills are up to date to take advantage of this new feature! Sellers can also use this feature to track the prices and new listings in their favorite brands or for their own sourcing needs.
No Printer, No Problem QR Shipping Codes:
Having access to a printer is no longer an obstacle for sellers. Poshmark will now give you a QR code you can take to the post office with you that will allow a shipping label to print on the spot for you.
New Faster Payout Options:
A common complaint from resellers is the amount of time it takes to transfer their earnings to their own bank account. Now Poshmark will give you more payout options that could put money in your pocket faster. Sellers in the US can cash out with instant transfer, Paypal, and Venmo.
Scale To Fit Photos:
Poshmark has added some photo editing capabilities that will allow you to scale and crop your photos on the Poshmark app. If you are a Vendoo user, you know that all your photos are automatically optimized for each platform.
Make sure to fill out the Poshmark Shows waiting list form at the top of this blog post and keep watching for the Poshmark Shows feature to be rolled out to everyone in the near future. Until then, support other Poshers by attending shows. Subscribe to the Vendoo Blog for more educational reseller content.