How Poshmark Leverages Data and Machine Learning to Build Personalized Recommendation Engines
The global pandemic has only accelerated India’s drive to adopt online business. At the same time, Indians spend about 17 hours online/week (~2.5 hours/day) on social media and networking sites/watching videos. According to a recent report by Bain and Co. and Sequoia India, social commerce in India today is a $1.5-2 billion market and will be worth up to $20 billion in just five years – and will likely reach close to $70 billion by 2030. In short, the sector India’s social commerce market will be twice as big as the current market-commerce market within 10 years.
Additionally, the Indian market has a rapidly growing base of sustainability and value conscious consumers. All of these factors combined have paved the way for brands like Poshmark to be in the right place at the right time with a unique offering.
“Since launching in the US in 2011, Poshmark has supported all types of sellers who want to grow their business on Poshmark. By providing sellers with flexibility in how they grow their business and robust tools that make the sale a superpower, Poshmark has seen its diverse community grow and prosper,” says Anuradha Balasubramanian, Director and Head of Poshmark India Marketplace.
Women make up the majority of the Poshmark community, and she’s created a platform that uniquely supports them — fashionistas looking to empty their closets, part-time salespeople juggling other jobs and responsibilities, and professional retailers, some of whom have even launched their own private brands.
“We see similar trends in India. To make the onboarding experience easier, we’ve enabled transparent listing, merchandising, promotion, pricing, and shipping through PoshPost. We’ve also enabled fun and engaging social tools, including Posh Parties, Posh Stories, and Reposh, to make it easy for sellers to sell items with just one click. We have currently set an industry benchmark for speed and convenience, allowing sellers to list their products online in 60 seconds flat. With these initiatives, we are seeing growing acceptance and adoption by sellers,” says Balasubramanian.
India has always been a value conscious market. While affordability has been a key driver of growth in the second-hand market, growing consumer environmental concerns have also played a significant role. All generations, led by younger consumers, are increasingly aware of the costs of fast fashion and want to do their part to promote a more sustainable way to shop.
“Indians’ perceptions of pre-loved styles are changing. Over the years, the resale market has grown and consumers are increasingly willing to embrace this new way of shopping. One of our main challenges is to continue educating Indian consumers on the benefits and desirability of buying second-hand items,” says Balasubramanian.
“Poshmark’s main goal is to invest in education and awareness to grow a strong community of buyers and sellers in India, which we have continued to do since our launch last September. We help educate community members on how to create their first listing, offer them ideas on how to make a sale and find amazing discounts, and make sure we’re building a strong community that can learn from each other when ‘they buy and sell on Poshmark,’ she adds.
India is a new and important market for Poshmark and it is focused on continued growth of its social market. It strives to create a loyal and diverse community of Indian buyers and sellers and has received a strong response so far.
“There are three things that separate Poshmark from the rest of the industry: it’s a social marketplace, it engages customers, and it also provides buyer protection and authentication services.
● A social marketplace, not just an e-commerce site: Our diverse, highly engaged and loyal community is built on a genuine human connection with a vast organized marketplace. Every listing has a section where potential customers can ask questions about items on sale and ask sellers to style them by combining looks from their wardrobe into a set, and most of our sales are preceded by an interaction social in our marketplace.
● Engaging customer experience: Shoppers will discover a highly engaging, interactive, and social shopping experience curated and personalized by Poshmark’s seller community. Most importantly, Poshmark offers a complete buyer and seller solution that improves security and simplifies payments, shipping, and more to allow the community to truly engage with the platform.
● Buyer protection and authentication services: We have introduced a host of buyer protection and authentication services for customers. A few of the key features include the “Item not as described” feature and Posh Authenticate. In the event that an item is not as described, a buyer can immediately report it to our customer service team and we will take care of the issue. Through Posh Authenticate, every high-value product (priced over Rs 10,000) is authenticated by our customer service and only then listed on the site,” she explains.
Poshmark has generated interest from buyers and sellers across all categories. It has witnessed an increase in demand for traditional Indian wear like sarees, kurtas and more during festive and wedding seasons.
“We are delighted to see these categories becoming increasingly popular. There is also excitement and growth across all categories, including Western apparel, designer apparel, fashion and accessories, among others,” she adds.
Marry technology with brand
Poshmark connects technology and values, allowing users to easily buy and sell, access curated feeds for a targeted shopping experience, connect to a diverse community – Poshmark is unique in that it offers proprietary technology to enable large-scale social interactions and transactions.
“We leverage data and machine learning to create personalized recommendation engines that connect our users to goods, as well as other users with similar tastes and styles. For example, our tools such as “Just Picked for You” leverage machine learning to provide personalized shopping recommendations based on users’ shopping interests, recommending items based on tastes, offers, and past purchases. As a result, the more you spend time on Poshmark, the more personalized the shopping experience becomes. Data-driven insights help us constantly evolve and improve our offerings,” she says.
Take advantage of social media
Poshmark is in the formative phase of this vibrant new market, and is enthusiastic and committed to building an engaged community. It has several in-app features such as Chic Nights, Trending, Deals, Price Drops, Closet Clear Out Promotions, and more. pre-loved and new items with other Poshers.
“A rich and diverse mix from all regions and age groups, Indian Poshers have responded to marketing and community campaigns with great enthusiasm and are thriving by converting their wardrobe into cash,” shares Balasubramanian.
“Since Poshmark is very social in nature, social media platforms and influencers play an important role in the Poshmark community. Many of our individual sellers have become influencers, building large followings on and off the platform. The collaborative nature of our community allows people to share not only their style, but also tips for success on Poshmark. And in all of the markets we operate, we often work with influencers, such as hosting celebrity closets with well-known artists, actors, and more who authentically use the Poshmark platform to sell their style,” adds- she.
India is a new and important market for Poshmark, and it is investing in the growth of this market. Before launching its social marketplace in India, it had already established its office in India with a strong team and R&D center with professionals in fields like Data Science, Engineering, Core Support, Operations, etc
“Our goal in India is to continue to build a vibrant and diverse Poshmark community in India, with levels of engagement that match or exceed our other markets. We continue to innovate and employ localized tools and strategies that resonate with the Indian market. Our goal is to grow the business and become ‘the destination’ for second-hand goods,” she concludes.