Rethinking Poshmark: A Content Strategy Case Study
Like many others during quarantine, I have been developing many new interests. A few weeks ago, after I discovered minimalism, I felt inspiration to Marie Kondo my life. The purge began in my closet, where I found bags and boxes overflowing with items that I hadn’t worn in months. These items were basically brand new, and I knew someone else would cherish them more than I had. So, I asked my friends on an Instagram story where I should sell my clothes. One of the answers I received quite a few times was Poshmark:
Poshmark is a popular resale website, featuring clothes, shoes, and accessories from popular brands. You can either see what they have to offer, or you can create an account, list your clothing preferences, and then view a curated a feed specific to your interests. You can also sell your own items.
The Poshmark home page looks like this:
Basically, it seems as if you need to create an account to do just about anything.
As a first time user with many options regarding resale websites, I wasn’t really interested in spending my time committing to a website I knew little about. I wondered if it would also dissuade others from using the website.
Regardless, I went on to create an account so I could finally get to selling my clothing.
However, I don’t think Poshmark fully acknowledged or even understood my intentions as a seller, since it began to ask me questions like my dress size and what brands I wanted to shop.
When I finally completed my account, it took me to this page:
It took me a minute to visually sort through all the features on the page until I found the “sell on Poshmark” button at the top right. That had been the button I was looking for from the get go.
I wondered how my friends — some of who recommended Poshmark, and some of who didn’t — felt about the whole process.
So, again, I turned to Instagram:
Curious about Poshmark’s user base, I first queried whether more people use the site (or sites like it) to sell or buy products. If most people bought off these sites, then I would understand why it seemed like it was largely catered to buyers.
What I found: Out of 151 users that answered my poll (“Do you mainly buy or sell on clothing resale websites?”), there was an equal amount of buyers and sellers (56 buyers, 56 sellers, and 39 who did both). However, according to The Verge in July of 2019, there are 50 million users on Poshmark, and only 5 million of those are sellers. To me, whether sellers made up 50% of Poshmark or 10%, both numbers were relevant enough for me to want to give them a voice on the site.
Then, I wanted to know if people preferred to create an account first, rather than jump right in. I preferred to jump right in and explore the website’s features. I’d rather be convinced to create an account instead of required to, so I found the sign up process tedious. However, maybe others found the account creation a necessary step — perhaps they already knew about the sites features and/or wanted to create an account to save their preferences.
What I found: When asked the question, “When using a clothing resale website, would you rather create an account first or see clothing/sell your items immediately?,” most people (104 out of 132) preferred the latter.
I also wondered about the ability to curate a feed. Would users prefer seeing only their specific preferences, or everything available?
What I found: Many of the same individuals who voted that they’d like immediate use of the website (as opposed to creating an account) would still prefer to curate their preferences first. 41% of the 127 voters chose that they’d like to select color, size, etc of clothes on a curated feed instead of seeing what’s trending, what’s new, etc on a general feed.
Finally, I decided to look at Poshmark’s competition (the other sites that my friends had suggested I use). I examined two popular suggestions, Mercari and Depop.
If my friends weren’t using Poshmark, then these were the types of websites they were using instead. I found two main features that the competitors had that Poshmark lacked:
- convincing call to action button(s) on the homepage
- clear acknowledgment of sellers
Through my research, I realized there was a disconnect between what people expected out of a resale website and what Poshmark offered.
People want to experience a quick way to buy and sell clothes.
- Poshmark did not allow immediate access to features
- Poshmark initially seemed like it was a “buy only” website
Both of these issues could potentially drive away users to different sites out of frustration and feeling misunderstood.
I aimed to redesign Poshmark into a more clear and concise version of itself that enabled users to quickly act on the excitement that comes with starting a clothing resale journey.
you can view the full, interactive mock up here.
I began by brainstorming how I could successfully remove the sign up buttons on the original home page:
I wanted the home page to serve as a tool to allow the user to dive right into the website. At the same time, I understood that although you could view clothing on Poshmark without an account, you still needed an account to post your own clothing to sell. I aimed to develop a method in which the user would be convinced to create an account after they knew what they were signing up for. Hopefully that way, there would be a greater overall user retention rate.
I first sketched out my initial plans for the new home screen and wrote out possible times to sign up. I chose the first option I created for the home screen, because the second one (with the “get started” button) seemed like an extra, repetitive step (since you would then go on to pick what you’re “starting”, whether that be buying or selling, anyways). Then, I narrowed down the sign up options I came up with to create two different versions of the buying and selling process. I named these Version A and Version B.
When buying, Version A allowed you to directly see the general feed and, on the same page, there was an option to decide if you wanted to add your own preferences for a more precise search. If you added preferences, It would offer that you create an account to save those preferences. My idea behind immediately seeing the general feed came from the answers I received in my second poll, where a majority of people said they’d prefer “immediate use” of a clothing resale website.
When Selling, Version A allowed you to upload all your information on the same page, and then create an account to upload your item. Slide A4 was taken straight from Poshmark, since it could be beneficial. I realized users may prefer see all the details a piece of clothing needs so that they know what information they need to have handy to upload.
When buying, Version B allowed you to select your preferences first, but each page contained a skip button in case users wanted to immediately see the general feed. This way, users would be asked to give thought to a curated feed, but had the option to quickly skip.
When Selling, Version B allowed you to take a step by step approach. I chose this approach because it matched the buying portion of Version B, and thus standardized the entire process. When a user was done inputting all the clothing information, they would be asked to create an account. I realized that this way, the user may be more compelled to create an account, since it was the last step in the process — one that the user had already almost completed — to post a listing.
Version A had a more immediate result than Version B with both buying and selling (which is something I understood users preferred): Version A allowed users to acquire all the selling information needed with one click, and displayed a clothing feed with one click. Version B had more of a step by step approach, but this made the website clean and easy to navigate.
I ended up going with Version B for both buying and selling. I did this because even though Version A was more immediate, the “skip” button on version B allowed for the same effect, while still giving importance to the option of quickly curating. I realized that curating was important for many users (41% preferred to do so, according to my poll), yet it would take longer to curate a feed on Version A. So, although Version A seemed more immediate, it wouldn’t be for all types of users, only some. Lastly, I liked that Version B standardized the process for both buying and selling, which Version A did not do (Poshmark’s current site does not do that either). Making both processes similar would enable users to have a structured and clear experience on the website.
While working on this case study and solving the original problem, I found a couple other features that I felt I could improve.
1. Blue buttons
Most of Poshmark’s buttons and points of emphasis are maroon, but then some of them are blue. Quite honestly, I am unsure if the blue is just a secondary accent color. However, I recently read an article about color usage in UI design which taught me about the 60–30–10 rule. 60% of your design should be your dominant color, 30% should be your secondary color, and 10% should be your accent color. In Poshmark’s case, I assumed the dominant color to be white, the secondary color to be grey, and the 10% to be maroon. I think the site would look more consistent if all the buttons and emphasis points were maroon.
2. Dress size
Poshmark only asks for a user’s dress size and shoe size during the sign up process. This is concerning, because Poshmark also sells men’s clothing. Men can wear dresses, but most do not. I think it would be more inclusive to ask for different types of clothing sizes as well, such as “top” and “bottom” sizes, that most people can relate to.
3. Select Category
Poshmark only allows you to upload a women’s item or a men’s item (or a kid’s item or a home item). The shirt that I had initially uploaded to test the website was this one:
This shirt had the potential to look great on anybody. My last suggestion is that Poshmark add a unisex option as one of the categories.
In Conclusion, Final Thoughts
This was my first case study! I enjoyed every part of this process. I initially had trouble with the homepage — I didn’t know how to word the call to action buttons. I was deciding between “start buying”/“start selling” and “buy now”/“sell now”. I assumed the former sounded more inviting, but, through research, I learned that the latter sounded more instantaneous, which is what my polls suggested that users preferred anyways. It was interesting to be able to use the data I collected from my polls in ways I didn’t realize I could, and overall, the polls ended up being a lot more useful than I anticipated.
I once read that content strategists often automatically spot problems to solve, whether or not they’re actively looking for them. After this study, I feel like I will now notice the small details that I would have once skimmed over. I’ve always considered myself to be a “big picture” type of thinker, yet this study taught me how to be incredibly analytical with the little elements. In doing so, my big picture has become much more cohesive.
I would love any and all critiques and advice! Please feel free to comment below or on this design review (no account needed). Thank you!
I am in no way affiliated with Poshmark. This case study was done solely for educational purposes.