The future of fashion commerce is upon us. But in order for the future to be realized, there must be change, and in that change, some companies and brands will be left behind. Brands are seeing faster transition from runway to stores while stores are seeing traffic drop off as online picks up and the cost of user acquisition for e-commerce sites is growing as the consumer shifts their attention to mobile.
In this new wave of mobile commerce, the boundaries between shopping and experience are becoming blurred. Because of the intimate nature of our relationships with our phones, shopping is being re-created in a social environment where the consumer and the producer are one and online and offline have the unique opportunity to unify into one singular platform.
Social commerce is picking up where Amazon left off. The name in e-commerce changed the landscape forever, but, on the cusp of another big shift in e-commerce, the landscape is once again experiencing movement. The concept of “social selling” unlocks scalability because it harkens back to the origins of retail. And unless that’s been built into the model of an e-commerce company, it’s an afterthought.
As we look towards the future, social commerce is not a threat but provides a massive opportunity to re-shape how fashion will be bought and sold for decades to come.
The social piece of selling fashion - a powerful tool that is often overlooked in e-commerce
Encouraging a dialogue between buyer and seller leads to discovery of new items, but that’s not a revolutionary concept. Think back to the time of bazaars or community marketplaces - these hubs weren’t simply focused on commodities, but served as social incubators for the community. Entering a physical boutique, shoppers pluck items off the racks and even before taking them to the dressing room, turn to their friends for input. Or chances are they are a frequent buyer of the shop and the owner has a few items already in mind that they will love. There’s a personal connection. Emerging from the dressing room, that dialogue continues. The shop owner might even recommend accessories, prompting even more conversation around which necklace works best with each outfit or which handbag complements the look.
When consumers started shifting more towards online shopping, these important social aspects were sacrificed for selection, price and speed. While Amazon has confirmed that these are key to becoming an online category killer, they’re only part of a successful e-commerce model - evident in Amazon and eBay’s consistent struggle to crack fashion. When it comes to fashion and lifestyle, personal connection and discovery must be a top consideration while products, price, and logistics should all work together to enable the social aspect.
People understand the importance of discovery. For years companies have tried adding either the element of social or the element of commerce as an afterthought. It would be very hard for Amazon to incorporate a community model at this point and eBay left its in the dust when it grew to the magnitude it is now. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have all tried to add commerce in the form of a buy button. But in order to build an infinitely scalable shopping platform you have to combine a powerful community-driven social platform powered by an efficient commerce marketplace from the onset.
When you get social commerce right, sellers can leverage their social influence to market their items and drive sales all within one unified mobile platform. Users curate the best items to their followers, helping match supply and demand - leading to better discovery for buyers and more sales for sellers. We’ve seen the impact at Poshmark where women are curating over four million items daily and a sale is made every two seconds, creating an addictive community-driven shopping experience.
Why social commerce is key for discovery of new fashion brands online
Through our mobile app, Poshmark makes it easy for any woman to turn her personal style into significant sales. From millennials to moms, Poshmark has enabled 1 in every 50 women in America to open a virtual boutique on the platform - that’s roughly ten times as many physical fashion boutiques that exist in the country. Poshmark sellers are part of today’s social media generation - active, engaged and influential - inspiring their peers by creatively merchandising what they are selling and sharing what they love. But unlike traditional social media, everything on our platform is immediately available for sale. Because of our unique social commerce architecture, women build substantial influence on the platform and then have the capacity to market and sell merchandise to the thousands of followers who shop their style.
We recently began inviting fashion brands to sell through our community in a new in-app wholesale marketplace. Brands signing up on Poshmark have direct access to a massive network of influential sellers. By offering new retail inventory to be sold through Poshmark’s sellers, brands can now leverage the country’s largest and most diverse sales force to effectively reach today’s consumers.
Combining resale and retail on a single platform has enabled rapid growth of the Poshmark community where sellers can turn their personal style and love of fashion into massive retail boutiques (with some pulling in over $500,000 in sales ) as well as provide an exciting new mobile sales channel for emerging fashion brands.
Our business was built on a powerful community base that has remained deeply engaged since inception - in fact the same buyers/sellers who joined the community in 2011 and 2012 are still just as active today. We’ve prioritized our community above all else, listened to them, continually adding features that help to fuel the next generation of shoppers and sellers. Poshmark has continued to grow in a shaky retail climate, applying our unique approach to social commerce to take on the $350B fashion industry while empowering a vast network of entrepreneurs on the platform.
The e-commerce industry is shifting because of the rise of the social experience, a nod to an essential component of shopping many companies forgot existed. Brands understand the shift is occurring. Finally, they’re able to tap into the social aspect of e-commerce through a vibrant community of women who care deeply about fashion, about helping each other.
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