Even though online shopping increased by 79% over the last year, nearly half (49%) of Australians disliked shopping online because of the lack of human connection and social aspect of shopping in-store, according to recent research from leading social marketplace, Poshmark.

Built with community at its core, Poshmark has carved out a niche in the retail space by allowing its users to enjoy the benefits of online shopping while providing a place for them to meet and connect through in-app and virtual community events.

In a recent interview with Retailbiz, Poshmark general manager for Australia, Alex Constantinides said consumers are craving more than just a transaction from their shopping experience.

“Human interaction is critical to commerce and is why we believe the future of online shopping is social. It not only makes consumers feel seen and heard, but it helps differentiate the brands we like from the brands we love,” she said.

“Since day one, we’ve set out to build a marketplace that is powered and sustained by people, so that they don’t just come to buy and sell, but come to socialise. We’re finding more consumers connecting around their passion for resale.”

Secondhand shopping has experienced significant growth since Poshmark was founded in 2011 and Constantinides believes this is set to continue as consumers prioritise the impact that their purchases have on the environment.

“The thrill of the treasure hunt — whether that be finding bargains or unique items — is one loved by many, and we’re seeing consumers becoming more motivated to not only buy less, but extend the life of items,” she said.

Despite the increasing popularity of online shopping, many consumers are seeking an experience that mimics shopping in-store, so Poshmark combines the ease, convenience and selection benefits of ecommerce, with the social connection of physical retail.

“This social commerce model offers a more personal and immersive experience — one that leverages human interactions to allow conversations to happen about things like fit, colour and size that just isn’t possible in other ecommerce models,” Constantinides said.

“Data and technology are the driving force behind our social marketplace. We process tens of millions of data points per day — from likes, comments and shares to listings, searches and sales — combining social and commerce data to introduce shoppers to new people, brands and personalised product recommendations.

“The beauty of Poshmark is that anyone can take part and everyone can thrive. Because of the inherent creator element that lies in this role, our community of sellers are not just sellers, they’re brands and influencers in their own right. They’re cultivating a personal aesthetic with their closet that shoppers can connect and resonate with.

“For shoppers, the ability to like and comment on that seller’s listing enables them to get personalised style advice — something one would traditionally only experience in-store. It’s a powerful, engaging and humanised shopping experience that consumers want.”