In our last post, we explained the basics of the peer-to-peer (P2P) economy. Today’s post will take an in-depth look at how this market design affects the retail industry and the role of dropshipping in the P2P economy.
Los Angeles mom Evelyne Teman made $500,000 dollars in three years from selling clothes on Poshmark. On Depop, Millennial entrepreneur Bella McFaden(depop username: @InternetGirl) withdrew from College to sell on Depop full time. Like Teman and McFaden, many individuals today use P2P fashion platforms such as Poshmark and Depop as mechanism to get rid of unwanted clothing and as an alternative way to make a living.
The continued strong dominance of e-commerce in retail is largely the result of “re-commerce”–the process of reselling goods. Re-commerce is a thriving industry, growing at 13% YoY and was already an $18 billion business in 2016 with expectations to double in the next 5 years – and that just in the United States!
This growth is spearheaded by the Millennial market, which has taken up re-commerce in a viral manner due to 3 key areas: convenience, experience, and personalization.
Digital-savvy Millennials are accustomed to navigating through their day-to-day interactions through their mobile devices – interactions are more convenient and productive. Thus, since many P2P platforms are mobile-first applications, they have been able to penetrate into the Millennial market rapidly. By simply taking a photo and uploading it to the app, people are able to sell their unwanted items, declutter their closets, and earn money. For buyers, this saves the hassle of making a trip to the mall – instead, one can simply shop via their mobile device. Since P2P platforms operate with no middleman, consumers are also able to save significant money by avoiding the mark-up price stores would charge.
76% of re-commerce shoppers rank “fun factor” as one of their top three reasons for participating in the marketplace. Why? Because sellers are able to truly bring their “virtual closet” to life through imagery. Top sellers take pictures of themselves wearing products out on the scene, with their personal flair. They curate their virtual “closet” towards a specific theme and vibe, forming an emotional connection with their followers. Moreover, today’s consumers are increasingly concerned about the backstory of their product. Buying from a trusted source on a re-commerce platform aligns their beliefs, for example when looking for items made in ways that correspond with their values and style (eg. environmentally friendly, vintage, handmade, etc.). And, as buyers and sellers can communicate directly with each other, they comprehend the full story behind their purchase. There is also the emotional appeal of buying directly from hot bloggers – who wouldn’t want to own the Manrepeller’s wardrobe (depop: @leandramedine)?!
P2P platforms source products from millions of people – so the offering available is huge and limitless. While traditional stores offer the same products to a mass audience, the items listed on these re-commerce platforms are differentiated whether it be vintage to fashion-forward, or petit size to plus. Thus, people with all different styles are able to items that appeal to them. Moreover, on many apps like Poshmark and Depop, one can filter the search engine to cater to one’s specific preferences–making the shopping experience more personalized and direct.
Ebay is perhaps the most well-known reselling platform, however Millennial fashion resellers are gravitating towards Poshmark and Depop. These apps offer users a social experience through the ability to curate a profile and directly contact other users through likes, comments, and private messages–a major appeal to Millennials. And, with an interface similar to Instagram, users have a familiar, aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-use experience. They allow users to buy apparel at a lower price point than traditional stores with a more diversified selection of products, and the opportunity to interact with other users
There are some incredible success stories of sellers quitting their jobs or making a significant secondary income through re-commerce. For them, the problem is keeping supply up with demand.
So, how do fashion resellers find their inventory, once their closets are emptied?
When sellers on Poshmark, Depop, Ebay etc. re-sell clothes from their closet, they have a limited supply of clothes they can offer their followers. Once they sell out of their closets, they are forced to buy inventory through other means, which is expensive.
Interestingly, Modalyst has become an alternative supply of inventory. Instead of scouring the markets, Modalyst has ~500 brands offering ~50,000 items for sale in a marketplace – all with stock available and ready to dropship directly to customers. Meaning, Depop sellers are curating a selection of items to add to their shop, and sell. Additionally, this means that one is able to sell quantity of an item, as opposed to one at a time. Once the item sells to a customer, the reseller pays for it and retains the profit.
This has been an interesting change in our business model. Previously, Modalyst only worked with ecommerce retailers. But, as we have seen demand grow amongst users on apps like Poshmark and Depop, we have opened the platform for P2P businesses to source from us.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and join this program.