While browsing through the internet, I recently came across an article about vintage pieces (clothing, jewelry, and other accessories) that I think are worthwhile mentioning. The market for clothing like these has recently suffered drastic changes and business opportunities are around the corner.
But there is another route to success; apps, and more specifically, a shopping app called Depop which is making some noise in the fashion world thanks to its simple and friendly way of purchasing. Secondhand and Vintage apparel are already benefiting from this, so let’s talk a little bit about it!
Depop’s Recent Expansion
Ms. Amy Connors of The Irish Times wrote a great article about Depop and the recent impact it has had in Ireland. People from all ages and backgrounds in Ireland are starting their own Depop store; selling clothes you own that would otherwise end up unworn at the bottom of your wardrobe has become somewhat of a trend.
A lot of people do it part-time, earning a good side-income, but as stores grow we also see new brands exclusively dedicated to Depop.
According to the article, Depop’s womenswear items in Ireland have increased from 80,000 a year ago to more than 360,000 today! The rest of the world is experiencing similar increases in offers.
At Vintage Shape I previously talked about why people are leaning towards vintage and secondhand clothing. Online shopping has boomed, but now the question to ask ourselves is… why is Depop one of the most attractive online alternatives?
Let’s go through Depop’s business model to analyze this.
How Depop Works
If you have an Instagram you will quickly notice how similar Depop’s interface is. Sellers upload to their profile pictures of the items they want to sell. Moreover, you can see how many followers the store has, the like button, search bar, and contact to the store among other options.
From what I’ve seen, the app is super easy to use, and if you have used any type of social media before, you shouldn’t have any problem navigating through it. As a customer, you can pay with a credit card or PayPal and you just wait for your package to arrive home. Pretty straightforward.
The first big difference compared to other online shopping methods is for sellers. You do not need a website or online store to be a seller at Depop. Just by uploading pictures of your items to your Depop page you are halfway done.
The other is a tiny bit more complicated but nothing to be scared about… shipment logistics. Nowadays even ordinary people with no association with stores or brands can arrange for international shipping. It’s all about managing budget and costs.
I personally like the simplicity of the process and how everyone can start selling in Depop. As a first entrepreneurial adventure it sounds amazing, plus, as you grow your followers, you can start thinking about an actual online store.
Upon reflection, I came to realize that the latter route is still superior to Depop for a long-term business. Why? Let’s discuss it now, but first…
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Depop vs Traditional Online Shopping
As I mentioned above, the first big difference between Depop and online business is that everything is through the app, so no websites are required.
This makes the buying process much more smooth once you’ve downloaded the app, but this is exactly its main downside. By relying solely on the app you are limiting your audience greatly; your products can have a wider reach by SEO, social media, and other marketing strategies implemented in your online business.
Of course, all of this takes time (maybe even years) so for starters or if you are looking to make a quick buck, I can see Depop as the superior choice.
The items available on Depop are also very limited compared to online businesses. If you are a customer, you only see Depops sellers, some of whom will have limited stock, size restrictions, or quality problems, since there is no formal structure associated with the business.
On the other hand, if you are a seller, you can only sell items that you own. Affiliate marketing and similar business strategies that open up endless possibilities to shop won’t work on Depop.
The last point of comparison, and in my opinion the most important one, is regulation. If you do a basic google search on Depop you will find out very polarizing reviews about the app. Some people love it, but too many have had bad experiences with it.
The main concern is the lack of regulation in payments and uncertainty for the future. Everyone being able to sell opens up the door to lots of scammers, making Depop much more prone to it than traditional online stores.
Also, I have seen that sellers’ accounts are randomly deleted for no reason, with some of them never coming back. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like solid ground to build my business on.
Having said this, I reaffirm my original posture; Depop is great as a small side hustle to earn a few extra bucks, but I wouldn’t rely on it for long-term success. Do you agree with this? Maybe there is something that would make you choose Depop over an online store? I would love to hear your opinion down below.
Now, there is one last thing I would like to discuss in this post. Depop has its flaws, but still many people are gravitating towards it. Could it be possible that apps overtake websites as the primary way of online shopping? Or even overtake in-person shopping? Let’s talk about it
Are apps the future of shopping?
With apps you have the entire experience at your fingertips; by just downloading it to your cell phone, you have access to it whenever you want, and in a much quicker/simpler way than traditional web browsing. In general, being user-friendly is key for apps to thrive.
Despite how simple it sounds most apps get it wrong. Crashes, slow functionality, and a very complex interface are very common problems among stores in apps.
On the contrary, websites display more information in a much clearer way and with fewer crashing incidents but usually require a computer for the best experience.
If apps manage to provide the customer with the same experience as websites, I can totally see apps overtaking the latter ones as the primary way of online shopping, after all, we’re always looking for a quicker and effortless method of doing things.
Still, being realistic, I don’t see this happening any time soon.
This is in part because glitches in apps will continue to exist (probably) forever, and websites are much less likely to experience these. But the most important factor is that it’s very difficult to compress the whole experience of an online store in an app.
Simultaneously looking at pictures of the clothes you are interested in, sizing, stock, delivery and return policy, pricing, etc… is one of the website’s best feats. With apps, on the other hand, customers usually spend a lot of time scrolling, clicking, and waiting due to slow loading times, making the user experience more tedious and slow, thus the customer is less likely to buy.
Not to mention that for the seller it is easier to manage and market a website than an app.
Overall I believe apps are great for certain types of businesses, but not for running a clothing store. Websites will continue to be the primary way for online shopping, and if these still haven’t (despite the pandemic) cached up to in-person stores, it’s even less likely that apps will surpass these ones too.
Now, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to have a successful store through an app, it just means that the market will continue to be dominated by websites and in-person stores.
Share your thoughts with us!
So that is my opinion on Depop and the evolution of online stores. I know some of you will agree, and others will have different thoughts. Either way, I would love to hear your take on the topic and start a discussion in the comment section.
Maybe you’ve had your own experiences in Depop or an entrepreneurial journey with an online store. If you could share it with us it would be amazing!
That is all for now. Be sure to check out other new/discussion posts at Vintage Shape for other topics of discussion.
Take care, and I will see you around 🙂