Selling Clothes Online: Poshmark vs Ebay vs Mercari vs Thredup

Updated September 1, 2020 with additional recent experiences.

Now that the holiday sales rush is over, we get a little breather until the start of the next wave. That is, the wave of mass KonMari-ing of closets everywhere as people declutter their homes in the spirit of “new year, new me”.

If you’re interested in selling your gently used (or perhaps, even new) clothes but don’t know where to start, this guide is for you. Over the years, I’ve sold clothing on the following platforms and apps: Poshmark, Mercari, Ebay and Thredup, along with a few niche marketplaces – each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

Overview

My sales inventory has mainly consisted of clothing and accessories, including luxury handbags, shoes, outdoor activewear, occasion dresses, and daily staples. The platforms I’m covering today are:

General

Specialty

And all this, of course, with a final comparison table at the end of the post. I’ll mainly focus on the experience as a seller, but will add in buyer notes when applicable.

Poshmark

Overview

Poshmark is a mobile app-based marketplace for women’s, men’s and children’s apparel along with home goods, a recent addition. Items you list are organized in your “closet”, which is like a profile that displays all your items, available and sold.

My Experience

So far, I’ve had a decent experience selling mid-range pieces. Items like: Athleta tees, Alice + Olivia dresses, Uniqlo down coats, and Stitch Fix sweaters. There isn’t a ton of rhyme or reason to speed of sale – I’ve had items take 3+ months to sell, and others take only 4 days. Timing plays a role to a certain extent – for example, I listed and sold my Uniqlo coats in August & September, and my Sperry rain boots sold in less than five days in October.

Of all the platforms, Poshmark postings require the most detail in terms of listing item measurements and sizes. I think this is due to the number of vintage and second-owner pieces that are sold, where the actual dimensions of the sweater might not match its original NWT (new with tags) version. Buyers typically want to know common measurements like inseam, sleeve length, shirt length and p2p/ptp or “pit to pit”.

Pros:

  • Good for brands like:
    • Stitch Fix private label (ex. Market & Spruce), athleisure (Lululemon, Outdoor Voices, Athleta, Alo), mid-market NIB (new in box) / NWT (new with tag) items, Reformation, slow fashion (Only Child Clothing, Elizabeth Suzann, Sevilla Smith)
  • You can let items sit for as long as you like, if you’re not in a rush to sell (vs having a posting expire like on eBay or Mercari)
  • Buyer pays for shipping by default (unless you provide a discount)
  • You can place your “closet” on vacation hold to prevent sales while you are OOO
  • For items over $500, Poshmark offers free authentication (I have not tried this yet)

Cons:

  • You have to spend a bit more time taking nice photos – specifically in square mode
  • Low ball bids – you will get a lot of low ball offers in the ~50% range. Most buyers start bidding at least 30% off listing price, I’ve generally been able to sell at ~20% – 25% off
  • Items can be slower to move – weeks to months. If you’re not in a rush to recoup cash, this may not be a problem. I now have a “Poshmark Box” in the guest room where I store items I have listed on Poshmark, so they don’t take up space in my closet
  • There’s an entire social aspect to the Posher community (around sharing listings, following) that I don’t fully understand or have the time to engage with

thredUP

Overview

thredUP is an online marketplace for gently used – new clothing. Unlike Poshmark, eBay or Mercari, it is most similar to your brick and mortar consignment shop. You request and send in a “Clean Out Kit” (postage is free) and Thredup will process your goods. This is similar to Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads Trading, where they handle all the sales for you. On average, only 40% of items are accepted according to their website – though there are things you can do to to help increase those odds.

My Experience

I’ve sent in two Clean Out Kits to favorable results – though to be fair, my expectations were quite low after reading the amount that people typically get paid out. Thredup partners with brands like Cuyana and Reformation where instead of waiting for cash payouts, you get an immediate credit for that brand with a 15% boost. I did one of each, since these are brands I actually shop at and the 15% additional credit was quite nice.

First Kit: $99 + 15% Cuyana boost = $114 in Cuyana Credit

In my first kit, I sent in 15 items and 12 were accepted – 80%, not bad at all. It took about 2.5 weeks for them to process my kit, and I received my Cuyana credit in the form of an e-gift card. 

This kit was a mix of J.Crew dresses, shorts, Joe’s Jeans, Stitch Fix items and some dresses. The items with the highest payout were a Trina Turk blazer ($48) and a Barneys Co-Op private label silk dress ($28), with my lowest being a pair of J.Crew shorts ($0.55 lol) and Nike leggings ($0.75).

Second Kit: $50 + 15% Reformation boost = $58 in Reformation Credit

This kit mainly consisted of J.Crew and Zara items that I hadn’t worn in a while – I had a lower acceptance rate of only 47% with 8 out of 17 items accepted. My highest was a Parker dress ($28) and lowest was a J.Crew blouse ($0.75).

April 2020 Update, Third Kit: $275 + 15% Cuyana boost = $317! in Cuyana Credit

After listing several items on Poshmark for months without movement, I decided to bite the bullet and send them to ThredUp. This kit had several Aritzia pieces and a few ‘luxury’ items, so I had a higher acceptance rate at 68%.

Some items, like a Athleta short-sleeve workout tee, netted me only $3, as expected. I later saw they sold it for $18, which was the same price I had it listed on Poshmark with no luck. My big(ger) ticket items here were a pair of Lanvin booties ($135, originally I believe I paid $400) I loved aesthetically but never wore (my 4.5″ heel days are long behind me). And a black leather Rebecca Minkoff MAC bag that netted $85 – which was actually more than what I had listed on Poshmark with no bites.

Overall, my experience was positive – I was more focused on earning money quickly and moving pieces out of my closet, which thredUP is great for. I could have requested my unaccepted items be returned, but it wasn’t worth the $10 fee for that. I ended up using my Cuyana credit on a nice, silk blouse (reviewed here) and my Reformation credit on a little black dress (reviewed here). Worth it.

Pros:

  • Quickly getting stuff out of your small cramped apartment
  • Partnerships like their Cuyana and Reformation recycle program add a 15% boost to your credit, which is quite nice
    • April 2020 Update: It looks like ThredUp has added several new partners to the program – including Amour Vert (20% bonus), Athleta (15% bonus) and M.M. LaFleur (25% bonus).
  • You don’t have to deal with the operations / logistics of sending out each individual sale, like you do with other platforms
  • You also don’t have to go through the work of taking photos, writing listings, documenting measurements, etc.

Cons:

  • Low earning potential, especially with the credit partnerships where they buy all things up front, typically paying less than if you consign (and wait) with them
    • If you think the offers on Poshmark are low, thredUP is next level low
    • I checked how much one of my items sold for on the platform after – the dress that they paid me $28 for sold for $72, and the Nike leggings sold for $15. They are making a good chunk of profit
    • There are ways to best maximize your earnings – refer to their Payout Guide and review their seller guide (Fall 2019 here) for categories and brands that are in-demand
  • Not nearly as fast as an in-person consignment shop (same day), but still faster than other marketplaces

Ebay

Overview

Of all the platforms, I’ve used eBay the longest – makes sense, given that it is the OG marketplace. You can sell almost anything on eBay – I’ve generally sold clothing, shoes and a few electronics.

My Experience

I’ve consistently had positive-neutral experiences on eBay. I like that you can privately message buyers (ex. If you’re running a day late on shipping). My sales have been a combination of free shipping (I pay) and buyer-paid shipping – I typically use the latter when I’m selling items that are valued above retail price.

I did sell one luxury item on eBay, a Celine Trapeze bag – I was concerned about getting a buyer who would question its authenticity or claim to not receive it. Thankfully everything was on the up-and-up and the transaction was smooth. In the future, this is the only category I probably wouldn’t sell on eBay – more on that later.

Pros:

  • Almost everyone is on eBay, there’s a buyer out there somewhere for you
  • Great for selling items with a market value that is near or above retail price
    • Ex. limited edition items, Rothy’s shoes
  • Fewer lowball offers, in contrast to Poshmark

Cons:

  • Can be slow at times, though not as slow as Poshmark
  • If you sell something expensive and you have the misfortune of getting an unscrupulous buyer, eBay will always side with the buyer so you will be out of $$
  • Listings require a lot of detail and photos, though not to the extent of measurements

Mercari

Overview

The new kid on the block, like a combination of eBay and Poshmark given its mobile app first approach. Unlike Poshmark, Mercari allows a wider variety of categories on its platform – ranging from electronics to general household items to clothing.

My Experience

I’ve only listed three items on Mercari, two of which sold. The third was a pair of Stuart Weitzman boots that I cross-listed at eBay and ultimately sold there. On Mercari, I sold an REI daypack and an Osprey backpacking pack, both at about 50% of retail.

September 1, 2020 Update: I’ve sold a few more items since then, including Girlfriend leggings and bras (I keep thinking I’ll wear bright colors…), and an inflatable pool. The Girlfriend items sold within 3 hours of posting (!) at 80% of retail, and the pool within a few days.

Pros:

  • Easy to use app, messaging allowed between sellers and bidders
  • Many users (buyers), given their big marketing push two years ago
  • More categories to sell into, similar to eBay 
  • Flat shipping rate that can accommodate items weighing up to 150lbs and measuring up to 20” x 45” – perfect for bulky items like OTK boots or backpacks / luggage
  • Seems like they just launched Mercari Authenticate for luxury goods

Cons:

  • Oddly enough, I wished I could add more descriptive elements and tags to my Mercari postings. As a buyer, it can be cumbersome to sift through search match results

Fashionphile

Overview

Fashionphile is a managed marketplace in which you send/take your luxury goods to them. They’ll provide either an instant bid (about 60% of what they expect to sell it for) or let you consign, where you earn 70% of the sales price. 

My Experience

I’ve sold one YSL bag and one Chanel wallet with Fashionphile – conveniently, we have a location in San Francisco so I can make an appointment and go in person vs shipping items. The YSL bag was sold on consignment for 90 days – every 30 days they will drop the price on their website until it sells or until the 90 days are up. It’s been some time, but I believe this sold around the ~70 day mark, so it was 20% off on the site. 

My Chanel coin purse was an instant sale – they gave me a price upfront and I accepted it. In either case, payment is remitted through an old school check that you deposit yourself.

September 1, 2020 Update: I recently purchase a ‘Very Good’ condition Celine Trapeze and was pleased with the transaction. The bag is in excellent condition, especially considering this is 2013 – 2014 era (I know, I’m v. late on the Phoebe Philo train). To be safe, I also used Real Authentication, a 3rd party authenticator, to confirm that the bag was good. When making a larger purchase, I don’t mind spending $30 to make sure everything checks out!

Pros:

  • They authenticate all items, so there should never be a buyer dispute
  • You don’t have to do any photographing, description writing, selling, etc.
  • They are well known in the luxury goods space, and are a reputable platform to buyers
  • Best for newer styles (<5 years old)

Cons:

  • They take a hefty cut, with their fee ranging from 30 – 40% for items less than $3,000 (15% above $3,000)

StockX

Overview

StockX is the Fashionphile for sneakers originally, and now handbags and watches as well. I’ve only used them for reselling sneakers and can’t speak to the categories as a seller. On the shoes side, they only allow brand new in box (BNIB) shoes from select brands.

What’s interesting is their stock market-like functionality, where sellers place “asks” and buyers place “bids”. When there’s a match (all bids & asks are visible), a transaction is kicked off. As a seller, you send your shoes directly to StockX where they act as a clearinghouse – confirming authenticity before they send to the buyer.

My Experience

I’ve only sold one item on StockX – a pair of Yeezys that I flipped for +100%. It was a smooth and easy transaction overall, and fast because of the demand for that pair. Once I listed my “ask” on the site, a bid matched 4 days later. I immediately shipped the shoes to StockX and received payment 3 days after.

Pros:

  • Excellent if you have a pair of BNIB sneakers that are high in demand
  • Easy to research current market value of your item, with bids & asks being public
  • StockX performs authentication so there can’t be any buyer/seller dispute

Cons:

  • None really, on the sneaker side

Facebook & Instagram Buy/Sell/Trade (BST) Groups

Overview

Brands with a particularly active community have B/S/T (“Buy/Sell/Trade”) groups on Facebook or Instagram run by community members. Not all brands will have these groups, in fact, most do not. Ones that come top of mine are Tieks (example) & Rothy’s (example 1, example 2) and slow fashion brands (@selltradeslowfashion).

My Experience

I’ve sold Rothy’s on both eBay and through Facebook B/S/T groups. Typically, Facebook groups result in relatively fast sales as long as you price correctly. Once you post in a group (following that group’s specific rules), people will comment on your post with “Sold” and their email address for PayPal. You invoice them on PayPal accordingly and ship out once they pay. 

Buyers are pretty reasonable – I once made the mistake of swapping two pairs of shoes (shipped them to the wrong buyers), and they were both understanding and helped me redirect to the right homes (I paid for the additional shipping, of course).

On Instagram, @selltradeslowfashion (or STSF for short) works similarly to Facebook BST groups with a dependency on a strong self-maintained honor code. Unlike BST groups, sales are not on a first come first serve basis, but rather a random lottery after an item has been posted for 24 hours. Interested parties comment on the post in that period, which indicates a commitment to pay the posted price. As a seller, you randomly draw a winner, designate them in the comments, and use DMs to exchange PayPal and shipping information. 

For buyers, it’s a great way to dip your toe into the slow fashion pool with gently used pieces at a friendlier price – because let’s be honest, these brands cost a pretty penny. I’ve been a buyer and had a great experience.

Pros:

  • Highest earning potential with no fees aside from PayPal transaction fees
  • High intent buyers – these buyers know and love the brand
  • These are generally great for both sellers and buyers, as it’s a tightly run marketplace of a specific set of items that both sides are interested in. 
  • Anyone who is being less than honorable, especially with regards to fakes for Rothy’s, will get outed and booted almost immediately by group admins

Cons:

  • Only applicable to certain brands
  • For @selltradeslowfashion, you have to abide by their instructions to a T (including all the measurements: http://tinyurl.com/selltradeSF)
  • If you price too high on STSF, you may not get any bids and you can’t repost (though you can comment on your own post saying you are open to offers) 

In Summary

If you’ve made it this far, kudos to you! Below is a table with fee information for each platform. As you can see, they vary across the board and there are trade-offs for each.

SiteTime to SellEarning PotentialEffortFees
PoshmarkLongMediumHigh20%
ThredUpImmediate / Short SO lowLowNone – but they usually pay 10% – 40% of what you could earn elsewhere
eBayMediumHighMedium10% + 2.9% PayPal fee
MercariMediumMediumMedium10% + Shipping
FashionphileImmediateMediumLow30% (15% for portions above $3,000)
StockXMediumHighLow9.9% + 3% payment fee
Facebook / Instagram BST GroupsShort / MediumHighestMedium-High2.9% PayPal fee

So, where should you sell your clothes?

Well, it really depends. A bit of a cop out answer? Maybe!

If you’re selling luxury handbags, specialty consignment shops like Fashionphile are the way to go. There are others in this space like TheRealReal (they seem to sell for less, so I assume your cut will be less. Good for buyers, though) and Vestiare Collective. Mercari is throwing their hat in the ring with Mercari Authenticate and Poshmark with Posh Authenticate, though I haven’t used them myself yet.

Same goes for sneakers with StockX.

If you’re selling mid-priced staples or trendy pieces and have time to spare, Poshmark is the way to go.

Need to simply declutter ASAP? Get that clean out kit from thredUP.

Anything else? eBay will be your best bet unless it’s unwieldy for shipping, then Mercari may suit you well.

Of course, these are not hard and fast rules – if you have experience selling with any of these sites, would love to hear what your approach is!

Partnership Disclosure: This blog post was not sponsored by any of the brands listed above. As always, all opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links, in which I earn a commission on purchases.

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