Poshmark, USPS collaboration could spell big changes for e-commerce

Summary:Poshmark is already touting a new shipping scheme as an innovation that elevates it to the ranks of online retail behemoths like Amazon and eBay.

A new collaboration between the U.S. Postal Service and fashion startup Poshmark could mark a significant milestone for e-commerce brands, large and small.

The latter has introduced a scheme dubbed "PoshPost," a new USPS shipping label designated specifically for retail. The model follows a similar pricing plan already set up for books, DVDs, and whatnot, all shipping at cheaper rates under the Media Mail category.

The PoshPost label consists of a flat rate of $4.99 for boxes weighing under five pounds, stamped with a U.S. Priority Mail label for delivery within two to three days.

By comparison, a small flat-rate USPS Priority Mail box costs $5.80. Flat-rate envelopes start as high as $5.60.

Poshmark launched in 2011 as a digital consignment store and fashion marketplace with a mobile-first approach .

The platform is optimized for iOS and Android, but is also accessible via desktop browsers. Membership and browsing is free, as is listing any and all viable sartorial goods.

Poshmark gets a cut from the final price once products are sold. Simultaneously, a prepaid shipping label is emailed to the seller, bringing the shipment process to as few steps as possible.

The e-commerce company promises that the new method behind PoshPost will further streamline the process since neither the seller nor the buyer will have to worry about calculating costs based on zip codes or weight; making it as efficient to ship an entire outfit as it would be a single T-shirt.

Despite being a smaller, private entity, Poshmark is touting PoshPost as an innovation that elevates it to the ranks of online retail behemoths like Amazon and eBay.

Nevertheless, the introduction of a flat-rate label just for clothing could spell changes for business at all corners of e-commerce and even trickle throughout the retail and fashion industries.

With postage rates consistently climbing, consumers increasingly shopping from smartphones, a flat fee for shipping could spell a number of long-term dramatic changes for business models.

Even for the budget-conscious, $4.99 isn't a bad deal (especially when making a large order) so long as you know that before the checkout process. (Yet hopefully it doesn't mean cutbacks on free shipping offers around the web either.)

Shopping mavens, take note: The universal label won't go into effect until Thursday, March 20, giving consumers a few extra days to plan out their budgets.

Topics: E-Commerce, Apps, SMBs, Start-Ups, Tech Industry

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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