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Depop, Poshmark, and eBay as Modern Day Auctioning Platforms

Poshmark Vs. eBay Vs. Depop: The Ultimate Resale Site Showdown

Resale apps Depop, Poshmark and eBay have all ebbed and flowed in popularity throughout the last decade, with all three of them offering a platform for users to find unique and vintage items sold from internet-savvy users at generally lower prices. They’ve all become a simple virtual way to thrift shop and are often a cheaper alternative to traditional online shopping. However, differences within their product listing structures result in different types of price haggling and bidding, forming different types of auctions on each respective site.

eBay, the earliest of the platforms with a built in auction feature, runs a second price auction model, since the leading bidder only has to pay the second value for the item. the result is that bidders should bid their own valuations of the item of interest.

With an easy-to-use interface and highly responsive sellers, one of the major benefits of Depop is the ability for buyers and sellers to communicate easily and quickly to each other. It’s not uncommon for users to negotiate lower prices, and on Depop this negotiation takes place in the form of informal bargaining in comments or private messages. Depop bargaining, as opposed to eBay bargaining, is first come first serve and creates a sense of urgency, since the first agreed upon price will be accepted. Depop’s bargaining thus forms a modern day Dutch auction, where a high listed price is set and various bidders submit lower bids without knowing other bidders’ valuations of the item.

Poshmark, the third auction format, also varies in that sellers can offer users personal discounts of different amounts, without knowing users’ true values for their items. Again, this creates a different sense of social pressure, with sellers reaching out directly to target specific buyers and pressure them to take discounted prices. With these different conditions of bidding and auction-like formats on these websites, it’s interesting to think about how different formats affect how users bid in times of irrationality and human error.


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October 2018