Using Technology to Transform Your Closet

We often experience the urge to liven up our clothing with some back-to-school shopping at this time of year. But the latest styles can be costly as retailers tend not to discount in August, knowing we’re eager to update our wardrobe.

An alternative way to modernize our attire is by using various used-clothing shopping apps. This can be a surprisingly affordable and productive way to modernize your closet. You might become so taken with the process that you start cleaning out your own closet and selling clothes online, like I did!

I reviewed four apps that sell women’s, men’s and children’s clothing to determine the value they offer to both buyers and sellers. I also studied the range of items offered, the apps’ utility, commissions and other fees and their return policies.  Shipping costs were comparable for all the apps.

 

Poshmark: 4/5

Poshmark has a broad selection of items for men, women and children. It offers a diverse collection of styles, brands and sizes, all at reasonable prices. You can browse almost endlessly through the app due to the enormous selection. Fortunately, you also have the ability to set up searches to target certain brands and sizes as it can otherwise feel overwhelming.

As a seller, Poshmark is convenient to use. The directions for listing sales items are clear and straightforward. You are provided with a pre-paid shipping label to send goods to the buyer. Poshmark’s 20 percent commission was at the higher end of the apps we reviewed.

Probably the biggest negative of Poshmark is that virtually all sales are final. A buyer cannot return an item if it does not fit or is not what you had hoped. However, if the item is not as described on the app or not in good condition, then the buyer may get a refund if this is reported within three days of delivery, and the buyer sends photos and a description to Poshmark for verification. Another issue with the app is that certain sellers’ “closets” include self-promoting posts, which are distracting and make the app feel crowded and messy.

 

Tradesy: 5/5

On Tradesy, you will find clothes from Zara to Chanel at generally higher prices than Poshmark. This sophisticated app presents items in a clean, simple format by forcing the buyer to specify the type of item she or he is searching for upfront. You can further narrow your search by size, color, condition and designer, making it easier to locate the items you want.

Another positive of Tradesy is that the buyer may return an item for any reason so long as they do so within four days of delivery. Return shipping is free, and the buyer will receive Tradesy site credit. There are only limited exceptions to this policy.

Posting items for sale on Tradesy is as easy as uploading a photo and categorizing and pricing your item. Tradesy charges less commission than Poshmark unless the item sells for less than $37.50. If a buyer returns an item, the seller keeps their earnings so long as the item was not misrepresented by the seller.

For more expensive items, Tradesy is definitely easier and more convenient for the buyer as well as the more lucrative app for the seller.

 

Vinted: 2/5

Vinted offers primarily non-designer clothing from Forever 21, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch and other retailers on the app. It is easy to navigate, although it provides less flexible, pre-determined search filters compared to the other apps. Its numerous advertisements are distracting and ruin the shopping vibe. On the other hand, Vinted offers a unique feature allowing buyers to chat with other buyers and sellers privately.

However, there are some negatives for buyers. They have to pay approximately 5 percent of the sales price to use Vinted’s payment system. Also, returns are not available unless the item was damaged or not as described by the seller. To qualify for a refund, buyers need to click the “I have an issue” button within two days of delivery.

Posting sale items on Vinted is almost as easy as it was for Tradesy. Vinted charges a 19% commission not only on the sale price, but also on the cost of Vinted’s payment services, making it one of the most expensive apps for sellers.

There might not be much money left for the seller once you complete a transaction on Vinted, and the sale process is not as straightforward as other apps. As a buyer, you’d better have a high degree of confidence that you really like what you see before you buy.

 

Depop: 3/5

The simple and starkly geometric presentation of Depop’s app gives it a thrift store feel. Depop focuses primarily on reasonably-priced vintage, grunge and bohemian clothing, which may narrow its appeal.

The app is easy to navigate and allows you to search by any word, but the accuracy of the results can be spotty. Because Depop is based in the U.K. and has a European following, you may incur higher shipping costs than anticipated if you have a European buyer.

Returns are difficult to manage since Depop is not responsible for them or refunds. Instead, it lets the buyer contact the seller directly to figure it out for themselves.

As a seller, posting items on Depop was simple and effortless. You are provided with pre-paid shipping label but have to obtain the box in which to ship your item. Depop’s commission is 10 percent of the sale price plus the shipping costs, making it one of the more reasonable apps for sellers unless the sale price is very low. Buyers can reach out to you directly, so you have to be prepared to handle the additional level of communication.

If you long for the 1990s, then this app is for you. Otherwise, the narrowness of its offerings limits its usefulness.

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