Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tutorial: How To Buy on Poshmark

I think a lot of us has this first experience on Poshmark: Find item you’ve been searching for. Get excited and create an account. Crab scramble back out of there when 8,000 screeching ponytails welcome you to Poshmark like this:

 πŸŒΈπŸŒΈπŸŒΈπŸ˜˜πŸŒΈπŸŒΈπŸŒΈ Welcome to Poshmark!!! I am here to answer any questions you may have. Let me know! πŸŒΈπŸ˜˜πŸŒΈπŸ˜€πŸŒΈπŸ˜˜πŸŒΈ

TERRIFYING. I actually joined the first time to ask someone to stop stealing my blog images so I already had a bad attitude. Then I was like, maybe I can find something good to buy. The above happened and I was like:

OR, your first experience is something like this:  Find item you’ve been searching for on Poshmark. Get excited and create an account. Buy the thing. Wait for thing to arrive. Realize gradually that thing is never going to arrive. Cancel order two weeks later and get your money back. Boo, you’ve fallen victim to an inactive seller!  Swear off Poshmark forever.

I eventually dove back in to sell and didn’t start buying until much later.  It’s daunting to start but once you get past the initial culture shock, it can be really great.

The culture:

Poshmark isn’t eBay. It’s built on a social media type platform that encourages communication and friendliness. Sellers are encouraged to “follow” new people and to welcome them, which is why when you initially create an account you get overwhelmed with weird comments. Let it ride. Don’t worry about it. Nobody really expects a reply. Follow some people if you like their closet. Move on to the shopping!

Your profile: 

If nothing else, put in your size and brand preferences. This will help your searches and it will set the algorithm to show you brands you’re interested in.

How to shop:

If you’re looking for something specific, say a pair of Madewell coated jeans, search for them using the most specific search options you can because the search engine kinda sucks. Definitely select the brand and color because just typing them in doesn't narrow it down enough.

Yay, you found ten pairs of Madewell coated jeans! The first listings that come up at the top of the page are probably active seller accounts. Consider those first. The further down the page you go, the older the listings. Sellers keep listings active by self-sharing them a few times a day (which is tedious but it bumps up the listing to the top.) So, you can probably count on the top level seller being active.

If you find something that looks like an older listing there are a few ways to see if the seller is still active. First, go to their About page:

And see when they were last active:

If it was October 2017, do not buy this thing. Another way to check is to make an offer or ask a question on the listing. If you get an answer or a response to your offer, you’ve got an active seller. Yay!

Also, read the love notes to get a sense of the seller’s style. Obviously love notes are positive reviews (you don’t get to see the negative ones) but you can find out a lot about the seller that way. If there aren’t any love notes, it may just mean the seller is new.

Look for listings with good, clear pictures of the actual item and some information about the condition. If there isn’t any, ASK. Always ask. If you’re uncertain about a seller, don’t forget to check out their “meet your posher” entry if they have one:

Go to this page and read the comments below - people sometimes like to air their grievances here, so its the best way to see if the person you’re buying from is a straight shooter or a wackadoodle. I also like to check out their stats:

Anyone with a really high average shipping time is generally not taking their closet seriously. You might get your item but it'll probably take a while.

Making an offer: 

Now! Unless the seller says the price is firm, they’re probably open to offers. Always make an offer but don’t lowball - it’s considered rude and you might get yourself blocked. You want to make an offer that gives room for a reasonable counter-offer. You can also just like the item and hope for a private discount offer with a shipping discount but if you really want the item, go ahead and make an offer.

When making an offer please remember that Poshmark takes 20% (or a flat $2.95 from items under $15) and most shipping discounts come out of the seller’s pocket. As a seller, I’m always happy to be flexible on price but I am also trying to make a profit!

Leaving a rating:

First, please look your item over as soon as possible and if you’re happy, go to the site and click accept. Otherwise the seller has to wait a full three days to get funds released. Also, leave a rating! If the item came promptly, was well-packed and is as described, please leave five stars. Reasons to not leave five stars:

- the seller didn’t ship out within a reasonable time (Posh suggests three days)
- the item was thrown in a box or envelope with no protection
- the item is dirty, damaged or otherwise not as described

These are not good reasons to leave a low rating:

- the item doesn’t fit you
- USPS took a long time to deliver
- you got a package without ribbons, a thank you note or a free gift

Poshmark doesn’t allow returns for fit so PLEASE ask for measurements if you’re not sure. If the seller won’t give you any, just buy from someone else or take your chances. If the item is damaged, stained, dirty or otherwise not as described and you want to return it, you can open a case with Poshmark.

Opening a case:

You’ll get an opportunity to state your case, the seller can respond and Poshmark will decide if a return is allowed. Posh generally seems to side with the buyer, but not always. Just be calm and polite and keep to the facts. Address your issues to Poshmark, not to the seller. Also, if you email Poshmark about an issue, do not email repeatedly because it’ll send you to the bottom of the queue. One and done and be patient - Posh is staffed by four distracted tween otters so don’t expect too much.

Poshmark can be a weird, frustrating world but it can also be a lot of fun. I have found some really wonderful things and also gotten some ridiculous bargains. Give it a try with some caution and find your holy grail items!

Coming up next week: How to sell on Poshmark!


  1. for the most part i've had good luck on poshmark... but the very first thing i went to buy disappeared on me as i was creating an account. (sigh) good news is i eventually found that same thing later. :)

    unfortunately, i did get a dress with damage (a small tear) but i didn't see it until AFTER i released the funds. at least it wasn't a lot of money.

    anyway... i'm hoping to sell a few things soon so looking forward to your selling tips!

    1. I've had one or two experiences like that as well. I am SUPER vigilant now about looking things over before I accept.

  2. Thanks for this! I'm back on Poshmark for the second time - I swore I was never getting back on after a seller went CRAZY on me for opening a case (the dress smelled like mildew, I couldn't get the scent out, and she was enraged that I didn't provide pictures of...a scent?). I closed my account then, but the super cheap J.Crew blazers sucked me back on!

    1. Ugh, yeah. Usually cases opened for bad smells are awarded to the buyer so that seller knew she was going to lose. People be crazy.

  3. I've had pretty good luck on Poshmark - but I always message the seller before trying to purchase. If they don't respond in a reasonable time - I move on. I've definitely been able to locate hard-to-find/reasonably priced items on Poshmark that were either non-existent or astronomically priced over on ebay.

  4. Thanks for this and I'll definitely be interested in your selling tutorial. I've bought on Poshmark -- basically different versions of stuff I have or have tried on. I branched out a bit to new-to-me stuff but ended up with a couple bad experiences, so I've been more hesitant. But I have liked buying costume jewelry on there, because Anthro and J. Crew stuff always pops up and I can find it for under $30.

  5. Thank you for this post, especially the tips about how to check out a seller before buying. I have bought a couple small things with no problems, but now I realize I should be more vigilant before jumping into a purchase. Appreciate your screen shots to support your explanation, too!

  6. This was so helpful! I started an account with Poshmark but made like the NOPETOPUS after the barrage of HIIIIEEEEEE that I got. You have inspired me to get back in there. Looking forward to the sell post!

  7. I've only bought on Poshmark a few times. The first time, the seller never sent my item, but it was easy to cancel the purchase at least. Since then, I've had mixed experiences. I'm curious to see your tutorial on selling because I want to know WHY IT TAKES SELLERS SOOOO LONG TO SHIP ITEMS AFTER PURCHASE???? Really, it seems to take 3 to 5 days just to hear that your item will be shipped soon. WTF??

    1. They're lazy or out of town. :) Sellers get a label via email immediately after your purchase, so literally all they have to do is print it and slap it onto whatever packaging they're using and drop it in the mail.

      I've had sellers message me and say they can't ship until X day, and I do the same if it's going to be more than 24 hours. I think a lot of people don't check the app very often, especially if the listing is old.

    2. Yup, just lazy or overwhelmed or slack. I am pretty careful who I buy from and I ALWAYS check their ship time but it's no guarantee.


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