Think Like a Store Owner

This post is to discuss how to think like a Store Owner in regards to customer service. If you sell on Poshmark, you are a Store Owner! You are responsible for your inventory, presentation, as well as customer service. Not only that, you are also the head of operations and accounting. I would say that most people take their closet/store very seriously. With that said, it’s all too easy to take things personally as well!

There are a variety of reasons that bring users to Poshmark and why it’s so personal to us. Some have dreams of running their own boutique one day while some simply started to clean out their real closet. The addiction can be gradual, those who were just cleaning up have found themselves keeping their Poshmark Closet full of their shopping treasures. There are Poshers who have made a business out of their closets and have quit their full-time jobs to run their online store. Whatever the reason, something draws us in to the virtual world of Poshmark.

Here is a little background about me… the Gray Asparagus.

I started out working at a mall when I was barely a teenager…The first day my mom ever “dropped me off at the mall” was for my first shift. I worked my way up to being a Store Manager at the age of 18. Yes, barely out of high school and I was managing a staff, ordering merchandise, and having way more responsibility than most of my friends. This started my retail career which spanned more years than I (or my sore feet) would like to admit. I have sold everything from sandwiches to high end luxury fashion.

This is why I am drawn to Poshmark. I enjoy selling and interacting with people. I love the thrill of a sale.

I know that some of you are getting your first taste of working in retail from your Poshmark closet. So I am sharing with you my thoughts and reactions to some of the most frustrating things and how to handle these situations like a Store Owner. These apply to both buyer and seller.

Sure, it’s your closet and you don’t have to put up with anything, but the way you react can make a future sale or turn off potential customers.

When circumstances arise that make me want to run and scream, first I ask myself:

How would I handle this if this “virtual shopper” was actually in front of me and we were having this conversation?”

Isn’t this the problem with internet interactions? We can “do” or “say anything” with the protection of our computer and the fact that we don’t have to look anyone in the eye.

I have a rule that I can never say my first response, I have to act on my second response. It’s typically more appropriate. Here are some basic scenarios that include a typical “first response” and then how a Store Owner might respond:

The Low Ball

Customer: “$5?”

First Response: “Really? Did you actually ask me to sell my $100 Nike shoes to you for a $2.05 profit? Really? This isn’t a yard sale… Just for that I am blocking you AND warning my friends that you are a low baller and you will soon be blocked from EVERYWHERE! GOOD LUCK IN LIFE!”

STORE OWNER: “Thanks so much for the interest! Please feel free to use the offer button to submit your highest offer. I might be able to negotiate if you are willing! Plus, you can always bundle for amazing deals :)”

Outcome:

The first response could possible end with your closet getting trashed with multiple profanities on your listings.

Responding like a Store Owner might just get you a sale or a future sale. Also, others will see your response. Trust me- your reactions can dictate whether others will shop your closet or be immediately turned off.

The Low Rating

Customer: Accepts the item but leaves bad feedback and not enough stars based on something that is not your fault (i.e. didn’t fit).

First Response: “That was a perfectly PERFECT sweater! Just because it didn’t fit you it isn’t my fault! You didn’t ask any questions and I even accepted your low offer. You should really rethink that rating because I did nothing wrong- I want my free gift back!!!”

STORE OWNER: “Thank you for the feedback with your rating. I am sorry that the fit wasn’t exactly what you had hoped. I included the measurements in hopes to avoid any sizing issues… if you would like to shop from my closet in the future- let me know before purchasing and we can discuss the fit so we can get it right next time :)”

(a similar response can be applied to issues like color, materials, or wear that was described)

Outcome:

Chalk it up to buyer’s remorse, they accepted it, should have asked questions, just shake it off. Poshmark is FULL of overachievers, and we want nothing less than perfection with our sales and ratings. Both responses get the same point across- but which do you think might have a repeat purchaser? No one can see your less than perfect ratings and you don’t have to post them.

The Questions

Customer:

“Is this true to size? Will it fit me?”

or

“Model?”

First Response: “What the heck is this TRUE SIZE you speak of???  Every brand is different ISN’T it? Otherwise you would not be asking such a ridiculous question. I don’t know you or your size.”

STORE OWNER: “Hey! Thank you for asking about sizing! I included the basic measurements for you (I recommend comparing them to something your already own that you love the fit of). I would hate to give you my opinion and possibly steer you wrong. Let me know if there is any more info I can provide.”

Outcome: I recommend always including basic measurements in your descriptions. I find that items can potential sell faster and you run a lesser risk of sizing issues. I think you know which response will go over better. (But seriously what IS “true size”???)

Buyers- KNOW YOUR MEASUREMENTS.

The Return

Customer: Reports purchase to Poshmark and case is “under review” or they side with buyer and item is going to be returned to you.

First Response: “$h*6 *##@…. %+$>*/***$ !!!!”

STORE OWNER:

If you decide to message the buyer… “Hi @____, I received an alert from Poshmark about your purchase. I’m sorry that you were not happy, please let me know the issue and if it is something I can resolve. I always appreciate constructive feedback so I can better my closet for future shoppers.”

Outcome:

Yes, this stinks. Just plain and simple. Staying calm is the most important thing. Remain positive- not every return is a “scam.” I am going to go more in depth with this one:

  • Use the Poshmark system. You can offer an exchange but do so at your OWN RISK (i.e. make sure you trust the person). I sent a buyer a replacement item once, I used my own money to ship- sent Poshmark the tracking number and was able to handle the situation without a refund. I was out a few dollars but I wanted to make it right. Proceed with caution though!
  • If you receive a return notification- Posh will ask for your side of things. You will be able to send photos or documentation as applicable.
  • Once receiving a return I HIGHLY recommend video recording yourself opening the box and inspecting the items. If it was a bundle sale- ALL items in the bundle must be sent back and a video will prove if anything was left out. I have had friends receive items back worn and damaged. Documentation is key. Things will not always go in your favor- and the correct judgement will not always be made- this is the cost of doing business.

As a Store Owner in the retail world- you will deal with this daily. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have had to knowingly return used merchandise (I know you want to say “If it were MY store I wouldn’t take it back!”) but things change when you have the person there in front of you and you do what is right to make a customer happy. Luckily, on Poshmark, if it’s over $500 it gets verified by Posh concierge so there cannot be any false claims. I shy away from selling super high end in general, but that’s just me. However, if you have high end to sell, don’t let the risk stop YOU from selling to the 99.9% of amazing honest shoppers! Do what you need to do and what feels right (photos, video recording, etc) to protect yourself, always stay one step ahead!

The Closet Promoter

Customer:

Example 1: (writes on your listing) “Come shop in my closet! Today only 30% off all bundles!”

Example 2: “This is at Marshalls on sale for $7.99”

First response: “Get out of my closet! That’s soooo rude of you! You are blocked! Hey @PFF1 @PFF2 @PFF3 Block this person NOW!!!”

STORE OWNER:

“Thanks for stopping by! It looks like you are new to Poshmark- Welcome! If you are interested in this item please feel free to make an offer. If not, I assume you were trying to be helpful. However, comments like these do not promote a positive community environment which is very important to buyers and sellers on Poshmark. If you have any questions as you begin to grow your closet, please feel free to reach out and I would be happy to help. Good luck as you start out!”

 

Let’s be real, if someone comments like this on your listings, have they EVER had an amazing closet? Probably not- they are not your competition and I have never been swayed to shop when seeing an advertisement like this. An established closet or a friend who is truly wanting to help you will tag you in an old or temporary listing to give advice. Being combative or really “sticking it to them” isn’t going to teach anyone a lesson. Offering your help, however, may result in a future customer or just a mentoring relationship that WILL help create the positive environment we all love. Block them? Sure, if you want, I personally don’t because everyone is a potential customer. I make an exception for “Mercari Spammers.” They get blocked and reported, no response needed.

 

My last example is … POSHMARK.

Have you ever read the hateful comments they get on social media? People tearing apart policies, shipping, sellers closets, and pretty much everything in general. But not once has Manish (Poshmark CEO) commented back “GET OFF MY APP!!!!!” (Although, gosh that would be funny!) Poshmark responds with an acknowledgment of disappointment and presents a solution (typically to email support). You can’t please everyone.

When you are a Store Owner you have to realize that although it can FEEL personal, it’s not. You have to weigh the consequences of how you represent your business with your responses. The impact of a negative reputation can be felt in sales.

If a transaction or another Posher gets you down, print out your positive comments and 5 Star ratings– hang them on your refrigerator and remind yourself that YOU ARE AWESOME.

 

I would love to hear about ways you have dealt with things positively and diffused a potential disaster!

Also, don’t forget to like the Gray Asparagus page on Facebook 🙂

XOXO

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27 thoughts on “Think Like a Store Owner

  1. Oh my gosh, Elle, I love this! So true! I learned a lesson soon after starting my closet. I sold an item and that person gave me a 5 star rating and rave reviews. Then a good friend tagged me in a listing stating how the person I just sold the item too was doing negative business on Posh. Here’s my lesson, I responded to my friend and blocked the purchaser. She was then able to change her rating to 1 star and of course had plenty to say. (I still think that once a 5 star rating has been submitted, you shouldn’t be able to change it). So I now get reminded of this every time I see my 4.9 rating. I should have just talked to my friend outside of posh like we always do.

  2. I love this! I know everyone’s had the dreaded one word question…. “Trade?” At first I’d respond “Sorry, I don’t trade.” But after a while it got to be too much & soooo annoying, so I started to ignore the question. But recently, I started responding again bc I hate being rude. About 2 weeks ago someone asked me if I trade & I commented back telling them I don’t. She thanked me for responding to her and she bundled 3 items to get her 10% off & she purchased it! So now I don’t ignore “TRADE??” bc it really doesn’t take much to just say “no sorry, I don’t trade.” It might turn into an actual SALE 🙂

    1. Such a great point Cindy! Trading for some is a form of “payment” and they may just be finding out their options. Glad you added this in!

  3. As stated twice above, I Love this article….It is so on point and these situations are definitely reality. I am definitely a avid reader of comments and previous transaction. This me be better in handle my closet in the most professional and proper manner. I was telling one posher after she comment on one of my listing that was open for comments that I literally live in my “posh closet”. She comment thank you responding to my comment in a timely manners. I always love point to make you a better seller and approachable, not blacklisted. I rarely use the block button and when the new poshers come with their ads I redirect the irritation to a positive vibe and they thank me for not being irate. Even when I think back to when I first started I was so confused I didn’t even want to tag anyone. I just took time after my first initial download of app in Aug 2013 to read the ins and outs. And then like 5mths later I was addicted to posh and knew how to act properly. I really appreciate this post and it feels like you have taken the thoughts of positivety right out of my help. Well said see ya soon at a closet near you…

    ~Yaz

  4. So I’m just wondering, how do you reply to model requests? I get requested almost daily. I have a mannequin that I use for most items but lately people are asking me to model a bunch of hats I listed recently. I am not comfortable posting pictures of myself on a public platform and am not sure exactly how to say no without sounding rude? I always just say I don’t model, or can’t, and people take it the wrong way and get really rude and nasty.

    1. Hats are a tough one… and it’s exactly why I do not sell hats! When someone asks me to model something that I can’t or don’t want to model (like shoes) I always say a similar version of my example “Thank you for the interest! Unfortunately this is something that I am not able to model- please let me know if there are any measurements I can provide to help you determine the fit.” Or, “I have used the mannequin for modeling purposes, let me know if I can answer any other questions.” Most people who ask about modeling tend to disappear (in my experience). I think when provided with an offer to give more info or measurements it helps to diffuse a negative response. Yes, it will still happen sometimes- but who really does that??? They would be negative regardless of what you do/say anyway.

  5. Great article!!!
    Personal thoughts on some store owner issues above…
    Low ball offers: Those “DON’T LOWBALL ME” posts circulating on Posh are one of my pet peeves-promotes negativity to me.
    What is a lowball? Really, some people have their closet prices jacked up so people can get the thrill of getting a big discount off the items or they do so to encourage bundling. Some people are unrealistic with prices so “low balls” may be truly reasonable offers compared to other Posh sales of exact items. Maybe the person truly loves your item but they’re a student without a job or trying hard to make ends meet. Maybe they’re new & don’t know that Posh takes a minimum $3/20% from sellers.

    Personally, I am THRILLED when any person decides my item is good enough for them to purchase-there are so many closets and you picked mine!!! Woo hoo! I recommend responding with a super nice comment if your lowball isn’t what you think is appropriate. You never know-I’ve probably had 90% of my offerors come back to actually purchase at a counteroffer price! Win-win! If I see they’re new, I’ll let them know in the comments that I am so appreciative of their offer but explain how the Posh fees work-but remember too that they’re paying $6 for shipping so that’s a lot for them too.

    And I reeeeally want to know about the returns thing-has anyone experienced this as a seller? When a buyer reports an item & gets money back does that come out of your pocket or does Posh cover? If an item is returned does it go to Posh for inspection or back to the seller? Thanks for any responses or future blog posts on this!

    With love, @amberindallas

  6. I’ve totally thought about writing about the same topic!! But I couldn’t have been as thorough and as perfect in providing the “right” response. But I’d like to echo the sentiment of “would you say this to a person face to face” I think in digital communications we somehow feel more distant from the receiver of what we say so we say everything with more “oomph” and it’s done me no good on poshmark. My personal template is smiley face and think “what if I was in this persons shoes” and chalk it up to ignorance if it gets too much. I am sure this is a fraction of what people have to deal with if they own actual retail stores?

  7. Love this article, Elle! I worked in retai for many more years than I care to admit, most in escalated customer relations. You know, where they send the most aggressive of all the irate customers for a resolution! My sense of humor was given to a person with a very short fuse. Knowing myself as I do I agree with all of your optimal ways to handle frustration.. However, I have to put the fire out before people find the lighter and matches and light me up. Unfortunately, if you make me angry, yes f2f, across the city, state or country, I’m pretty quick with the clap back. So I try to get in front of the dumb stuff, the repetitious stuff and the crazy making with humor. I have signs all over my closet & I explain exactly the how’s, why’s and what’s of my closet. I explain why I won’t model & what I consider a lowball offer. I also try to be welcoming and friendly in my little signs. If someone finds them odd at least they know to ‘proceed with caution, Oscar the Grouch onboard’. Consequently, I get very few lowball offers, very little ‘Hun, model?’ and I had my first Trade? the other morning in literally months. I was actually able to say: Thank you for your interest. I don’t trade, however, please feel free to make an offer using etc, etc, etc. It all works to keep me happy and having fun on Posh. Knowing who you really are, not denying it and finding ways to make it work for you help not only you but helps potential customers know what to expect.

    1. I agree, humor always helps! I feel like your humor definitely comes across in your posts in your closet! I have however seen it go the other direction and “rule posts” can come off as super aggressive- kind of a turn off if I am stopping by to browse and share.

  8. Love this! Such great advice! I will be borrowing some of your well crafted responses when I encounter similar situations in the future;) Any suggestions on how to deal with negative comments from a potential buyer about price? I’ve had people make insulting comments during the offer process. My internal response is “do you really think I’m going to give you a discounted price after you’ve just been so negative?” or I immediately think of the soup nazi and “no soup for you!” I even had one posher start having a conversation with her PFF in my listing about how I was being unreasonable… the item sold within 24 hours for full listing price so I know my price was fair. Not sure how to respond to those types of issues without sounding like I’m reprimanding the other posher… any advice? Many thanks for such a great post!

    1. Great question! Without knowing the exact situation it’s hard to offer you a suggested response- so I will tell you what I do to avoid “hard feelings.” I try to stay ahead of things and if I flat out decline an offer, I will tag the Posher and say “Thank you SO much for the offer!! Unfortunately I am unable to sell at that price… If I lower it in the future I will be sure to tag you. Thanks again!” If you acknowledge the person and show appreciation it can stop them from getting offended. I will be honest- I have taken offense to a decline! haha! I didn’t say anything of course but I felt rejected- silly I know! But everyone has a different reaction and unfortunately some people lash out unwarranted. I hope that helps in your particular situation.

      1. It does help! Thanks so much! I’ve been reading all you blog posts that last few days and love them! Keep up the posting & poshing 🙂

      2. A great topic! I am an example of someone not put off by the “decline”, lol. My attitude is, we’re all busy and don’t have time for messing around. If a seller declines my offer outright it is usually a price I’m not moving on anyway so it saves time all the way around. Plus, as I advance full throttle into my dotage, I don’t even remember that you declined my offer,lol. Also, I decline offers of others. As an alternative to the decline (when I’m not feeling like a curmudgeon) I simply repeat my offer. Then, the onus is on them to either counter or decline and I would actually prefer the decline rather than letting the offer expire. Letting a counteroffer expire is like going on a date and then wondering why he doesn’t call back! You’re not hurting my feelings. I have many items in my closet <$15 so I'm not going back and forth 6 times to get you spend $10 with me, lol.

  9. Thank you so much Elle. As a newbie on PM I want to make sure I do the right thing off thebat. I’m very impulse and quick on expressing how I feel. So this is going to be veryhpful on as my closet grows. @nyckidscloset

  10. Yes to everything here! I am obsessed with Posh, and love the social aspect and positivity almost as much as the thrill of buying/selling. Yes to being a total overachiever…get so bummed about negative feedback that is unwarranted (like the like-new pair of fold-up Ray-Bans I just sold for a fraction of the retail cost, and then ended up with a 2-star rating because “they were too small”…ummmmm, I specified 55mm, not my fault you didn’t realize they were not flattering to your face before you bought!) So I just literally copied and pasted your nice retail owner reply to the customer. Thanks for detailing what we all think, and what we should actually do!

  11. Hey Elle, Thank you so much! As a newbie on poshmark, this article is so helpful! I’m wading through the variosu articles in your blog and I have already learned so much.
    Question for you, I was looking through closets and saw a conversation thread where a buyer said that the dress they bought was too small for them and asked (nicely) if they could exchange it for a larger size. I was wondering, as a seller is it wise/recommended to accept to exchange the outfit for a larger one? If so, do you wait to receive the dress before sending a replacement?

    1. Great question! I do not sell retail so I do not have this happen in my closet. If something was wrong with an item I would handle on a case by case issue depending on if it was a repeat customer etc. But as a general rule- I stick with what Poshmark supports. I do not believe that they “protect” exchanges- but I am not 100% sure. I would assume that you do so at your own risk. I believe that the shipping is paid by both buyer (sending back item) and seller (sending exchanged item) and I personally would wait to receive wrong size item first. There is a lot of trust on both sides happening. If you are considering having this as an option in your closet I would email support@poshmark.com first to see if these transactions are protected by “Poshmark Protect”. Hope that helps!

  12. Great blog post once again. Since I’ve been selling on Poshmark I’ve had only 5 star ratings, great feedback all around. I take the time to wrap each package, send a thank you card and sometimes throw in a free gift. This customer gets their package the other day and since the Large was not large enough she gave me 2 stars! You would not believe the words that came out my mouth. I was horrified! All she had to do was reach out to me directly and I would have found a way to make it right. After reading your post I started to reach out to her, but quite honestly at this point I’m going to leave well enough alone. It’s horrible how customers don’t think about the sellers and blame you for things that are out of your control. Sellers and buyers should be able to keep the lines of communication open. I would never give a seller 2 stars because I chose the wrong size. Either way like you said, it’s the cost of doing business. There will be good, and bad days. In retail you just have to learn how to deal with it all!

  13. Perfect article! You are a very wise lady. I try to respect and love even the unloveable. It’s hard sometimes but “it takes all kinds” to make the world go around. I love all of your posts. Very inspiring. Thanks so much!

  14. Thank you so, so much for this post! I recently had a “This is cheaper on …” comment on one of my listings. Your Store Owner response was much calmer than my initial planned response. It gets the message across in a gentle way without alienating other potential customers. Thanks again!

  15. Ah THANK YOU. I needed these reminders as I feel like I’ve been bogged down by low-ballers lately and people who just don’t accept “no, it’s already a great deal but you could bundle for a discount.” Your words are both friendly reminders about customer service and a breath of fresh air for me.

    Peace & Love.

  16. My Friend;

    I’ve had the trifecta this week. Someone had their package arrive late, then had the ol’ buyers remorse and opened a claim stating that it arrived “not as described.” Thank god that got shut down by Posh in less than 24 hours. Then- a complaint that a sweater was “a kid’s sweater” when the listing stated Juniors XL. Then a clearly listed mohair sweater was stated as being “too itchy and unwearable.” I was debating just packing it in…then I found this post. Thank you. This is EXACTLY what I needed to see tonight.

  17. Elle, oh my goodness!!! Your blog has totally changed my Posh game! I discovered your blog a while back and sorta forgot about it. About last week, I was scrolling through Pinterest looking for tips and I came across a post by TheGrayAsparagus. I thought, “Wait, I know that name from somewhere…” and after coming back to your blog, I have not left!! You have been inspiring me with your articles to set new goals for Poshmark, I’ve learned SO much from you in the past week, and reading your posts just makes me so happy! I have to say that I am totally obsessed with your blog, and I cannot wait to see what you have next for me to learn 😉
    Thank you so much for being amazing!!

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