How to turn on-the-fence shoppers into buyers
Over the past few months, I’ve received a lot of low offers on the things I have for sale on Poshmark. I’m excited to get an email or push notification telling me that I have an offer. Then I open it an oooph, someone is asking for 50% or more off the price on my item.
I don’t think any seasoned seller lists an item hoping to sell it for 50% off. Some sellers get offended at such low offers. They decline the offers and block those users from their closets. Other sellers negotiate with the potential buyer. There’s no one way to handle low offers, which is why I want to talk about how to approach on-the-fence or low-offer shoppers and turn them into buyers.
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I’ve learned some things about selling on Poshmark over the years:
Most buyers want a really good deal. Poshmark started as a second-hand clothing website and is promoted as a place to get top quality goods for low, low prices. Shoppers come on the app expecting a great deal on whatever they buy. I don’t mind this because I’m a frugal shopper too. Who doesn’t want a good deal?
The offer feature promotes price negotiation. Since Poshmark introduced the offer feature a few years ago, shoppers are quick to use it. Buyers and sellers expect to give and receive offers rather than paying the listed price of an item. (Almost all of my sales come from offers.) This promotes listing items at a higher price to allow room for taking offers and giving discounts.
One problem with this is that people have different ideas about how to go about negotiating and handling offers. When I traveled to Southeast Asia several years ago, I got a taste of negotiating prices for just about everything I purchased. It’s common for buyers and sellers to negotiation until they reach an agreement on a price for an item. I don’t recall seeing anyone get offended during the process because it’s expected to haggle there.
Things are different in the US, where Poshmark operates. You’ll often receive an offer, provide a counteroffer, and never hear from the person again. You’re hoping to make a sale and maybe you would’ve even accepted something close to the initial offer. Now you have no sale and have to wait for someone else to come along. If the person would just make a counteroffer…
I know I’m not the only one who is sometimes disappointed playing this negotiation game, especially when I’m on the losing end of it. What more can you do to try to make a sale?
1 | Start a dialog
Strict negotiations over the app feel impersonal. It’s just an exchange of numbers. You don’t get to greet the person face-to-face, hear their thoughts on an item, answer their questions, let them touch or try on an item, or tend to their reservations about purchasing. A person might ask you some questions before making an offer, but usually you just receive the offer.
As sellers, we can take the initiative to start a conversation. Thank the potential buyer for her offer. Say that you’d like to work with her on the price because you’d love for her to have the item. You can also let her know that your listed price or your counteroffer is your lowest if that’s the case.
I’ve accepted low offers of more than 50% off in the past because the buyer took the initiative to open a conversation with me. The buyer was friendly and offered kind words about my closet or item. She made her case and I accepted her offer.
2 | Compare your items to competitors’ items
Sometimes I sell my items below market price because I want to make a quick sale. I know it’s low because I’ve researched past sold items. The buyer may not know that though. All she sees is the price you’ve listed, and she wants to make an offer to get a better deal.
When this happens, I’ll let the buyer know that I’ve listed the item below what other competitors have sold the same item for. You’d be surprised how many buyers don’t compare prices within Poshmark or off the platform. They won’t know they’re getting the best deal unless you tell them so.
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3 | Educate the buyer
A lot of new shoppers don’t know how Poshmark works. They’ll offer you $5 on a $10 or $20 item leaving you with a potential profit of $2.05. That might cost more than your packaging materials and the gas to get to the post office. New Poshmark users may not know the commission structure and only think about getting a good deal since they have to pay tax and shipping too.
You can see if the person is a new user by viewing their profile. It will tell you the month and year when the person started on Poshmark. New and infrequent buyers often have nothing listed for sale in their closets. They sometimes don’t even have a picture, relying on the generic avatar picture given upon signing up.
I don’t get upset in these because I know how it is. I wasn’t the best buyer or selling when I was new on the app either. I might gently let the person know how little commission I would receive and send my lowest offer.
One thing to note here is the use of charts showing people what’s a reasonable offer. You may have come across these in people’s closets. The lighter colors (light green and yellow) mean that the seller deems the offer acceptable is and more likely to accept it. Stay out of offers in the red column or you’re going to anger the seller!
The feedback I’ve seen is that buyers don’t like seeing these charts. Some buyers are offended at being told how much they should offer. I also think that having one is more likely to offend potential buyers rather than help them provide a reasonable offer. They may not read it and you’ll still get low offers anyway.
4 | Ask for a counteroffer
When you’re negotiating, neither party knows if the other’s offer is the lowest she is willing to go or if it’s reasonable to counter further. Some buyers send their lowest offer at the start and if you counter, they don’t purchase the item or make a counteroffer. Others will send you return offers for days.
When I don’t hear back, I’ll ask the person to make a counteroffer. The other day I received an offer for $20 on an item listed for $39. I usually counter halfway between the two numbers so I countered $29.
When I didn’t hear back, I commented the next day saying that I’d like to entertain her next counteroffer. This way she knew that $29 was not my lowest. This tactic didn’t lead to a sale that day, but it has worked on other occasions.
5 | Turn a like into a bundle and send an offer
The last method to encourage purchases is to send an offer. A lot more items are liked than bundled in my closet. When you send an offer to someone who has liked an item, you’re required to offer discounted shipping, which is covered by the seller. A lower price and discounted shipping will really eat into your profit.
One way to get around this is to use the bundle feature. First make a bundle for the person. Don’t worry if the person has liked only one thing in your closet. A bundle can be just one item! Create a bundle and send the person an offer. No discounted shipping is required.
From my experience, you need to share the liked listing directly with the shopper and it will be bundled for them.
Take note of the username of the person who like your item.
Go to the liked item in your closet.
Click to share the item.
Click on “search”, enter the username, and click on it.
The bundle will be created.
Go to My Bundles (the shopping bag) at the top of your closet.
Click on “sell”, find the bundle you just made, and make an offer.
This method might seem pushy at first. It certainly felt that way to me when the bundle feature was introduced. I think most PM users have gotten used to it by now and are not surprised to receive offers anymore.
One thing I don’t suggest is commenting to every person who likes an item in your closet. You may have been on the receiving end of this before. You like an item and the person comments telling you she’s open to offers or to please send her one. That comes off as spammy. At best you’ll be ignored. At worst you’ll be blocked and reported for spam.
Sometimes buyers need a little encouragement to make a purchase. These are a few of the methods I’ve tried to turn on-the-fence or low-offering shoppers into buyers. No method works 100% of the time. You’ll still receive low offers. They’re a fact of life when you’re a seller. But I hope these methods will turn more of the offers you receive into purchases.
What are some things you’ve done to encourage people to make a purchase from you?