What is Depop? An Entrepreneur‘s Guide to the Unique Fashion Resale Marketplace

As an entrepreneurship consultant who assists many small businesses with optimizing online platforms, I am often asked about Depop – the trendy app taking youthful fashion lovers by storm.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share insights into the Depop phenomenon based on in-depth research and my experience advising clients on strategically leveraging sites like Depop. Whether you are considering buying, selling, or launching your own shop on Depop, this guide will illuminate what makes Depop unique and how to find success there.

The Depop Origin Story

Depop began in 2011 as a social network centered around fashion. It was founded by Simon Beckerman, who sought to capitalize on the shift from desktop to mobile shopping. Based in London, the company has raised over $100 million in funding since launch.

In just over a decade, Depop has exploded into a cultural phenomenon and multinational business:

  • 30+ million users in 147 countries buy and sell on Depop as of 2022. Over 90% of users are under the age of 26, establishing Depop as the app of Generation Z.
  • $2 billion in gross merchandise sales were processed in 2021, more than tripling Depop‘s sales from the previous year.
  • The United States represents Depop‘s largest market, with nearly 80% of its user base located there. However, the app also has strong traction in the UK, Australia, and Canada.
  • After experiencing surging growth during the pandemic, Depop was acquired by Etsy in 2021 for $1.6 billion. However, it continues to operate as a separate entity.

Why Depop Is Unique: A Truly Social Resale Experience

Unlike more traditional resale platforms, Depop models itself after a social media app. Users create profiles showcasing their style and can follow others with similar tastes. This fosters an interactive community experience focused on fashion exploration.

Additional elements that set Depop apart include:

Vintage and indie fashion – You‘ll find plenty of major brand names, but Depop shines when it comes to one-of-a-kind vintage, handmade, and upcycled pieces from smaller designers. The inventory celebrates uniqueness.

Gen Z user base – Over 90% of users are under 26. No other resale app has managed to capture youth fashion enthusiasts to the degree Depop has.

Mobile-first – As a mobile app, Depop offers an intuitive, seamless buying and selling experience optimized for smartphones.

Sustainability focus – Buying secondhand prevents clothing waste. Many Gen Z users consciously support sustainable fashion.

Trend-driven – Popular listings and hashtags drive trends on the app. Sellers aim to offer highly coveted and of-the-moment styles.

Low seller fees – At just 10%, Depop‘s seller fees are competitive and attract entrepreneurial users.

Depop‘s positioning as a social shopping destination dedicated to unique fashion attracts a heavily youthful user base. By fostering a vibrant creative community, Depop stands apart from resale giants like eBay and Poshmark.

A Look at Depop‘s Business Model

Depop employs a fairly straightforward ecommerce business model: they connect buyers with sellers and facilitate the transactions in exchange for a cut of the sale price.

Here is a breakdown of how the Depop business model works:

  • Sellers list products for free but pay a 10% commission fee when items sell. This fee covers payment processing, security, insurance, and other seller services.
  • Buyers browse and purchase items via the app or website. Depop payments are processed through PayPal, Apple Pay, or debit/credit cards.
  • Depop handles secure payments, provides buyer protection, and offers customer support for issues like lost packages. Robust shipping infrastructure enables smooth order fulfillment.
  • Users are incentivized to stay active through community features like following, messaging, and push notifications about trending shops and items. This attracts and retains engaged users.
  • Depop encourages high-volume sales by top sellers ("Power Sellers") and clear pricing strategies using promotions like free shipping.
  • The large Gen Z user base provides access to fashion-conscious shoppers ready to buy the latest trending items in their feed.

Depop‘s business succeeds by keeping transaction friction low, creating stickiness via social interactions, and maintaining a steady flow of coveted inventory to feed demand.

Key Benefits of Buying on Depop

As an avid Depop shopper myself, I‘ve found many benefits to buying pre-loved fashion on the app:

Unique Finds – With thousands of shops offering one-of-a-kind items, you can curate a distinctive wardrobe on Depop. Vintage pieces are plentiful.

Affordability – Pre-owned prices are naturally lower, and many sellers offer deep discounts and bundle deals. You can score designer items at thrift store prices.

Sustainability – Shopping resale prevents more clothing from ending up in landfills. You‘ll reduce waste and your environmental impact.

Direct Seller Communication – Depop‘s messaging system enables conversations with sellers to ask questions, negotiate prices, or bundle orders.

Fast Shipping – Most sellers ship within 1-3 business days. Depop labels are affordable and convenient for sellers.

Buyer Protection – All payments are secured through Depop. If any issues arise, their support team helps resolve them quickly.

Fun Discovery – Browsing Depop lets you find unexpected treasures from shops with styles you love. The hunt is part of the appeal.

For those looking to refresh their closet affordably and sustainably, Depop delivers plenty of perks as a buyer.

Maximizing Your Earnings When Selling on Depop

Many entrepreneurial users have built successful Depop side hustles or full-time businesses. While results will vary, sellers can maximize their earnings by following these tips:

  • Specialize – Focus your shop on a specific style or niche you‘re knowledgeable about, like Y2K fashion or streetwear.
  • List Consistently – Add new inventory regularly to capitalize on algorithm and hashtag boosts for fresh listings. Aim for at least 25+ new listings per week.
  • Cross-Promote – Leverage your social media accounts and external channels to drive your Depop target audience to your shop. Promote new drops.
  • Engage Daily – Reply to all buyer messages promptly, like listings, follow fellow sellers, and leave encouraging comments. This activity signals you‘re an active shop owner.
  • Optimize SEO – Research keywords buyers are searching and use those terms in titles, tags, and descriptions. Refresh stale listings.
  • Provide Value – Offer fair prices, discounts, freebies with purchases, fast shipping, and top-notch customer service. This earns 5-star reviews.
  • Analyze Data – Study your shop analytics to identify best-selling items, most engaged followers, peak sales times, etc. Use the data to optimize your approach.

The most successful Depop shops combine attentive customer service, compelling listings, solid branding, and nonstop hustle. By following the strategies above, you can thrive selling your style.

Scaling Your Shop Into a Full-Time Depop Business

For entrepreneurially-minded users, it is possible to turn Depop reselling into a lucrative full-time business. Here is a look at how to scale up your shop:

  • Establish business accounts – Upgrade to a business PayPal account and switch to QuickBooks or an accounting platform to keep finances organized.
  • Formalize branding – Register your business name and trademark your logo. Create branded packaging and collateral to elevate your image. Professional photography also helps listings stand out.
  • Diversify inventory – Move beyond your own closet and thrift finds by wholesale ordering inventory that fits your brand. Attend trade shows and shop closeouts. Establish relationships with vendors.
  • Automate processes – Use apps like ListPerfectly to auto-list new inventory. Hire virtual assistants to manage admin tasks like shipping, messaging, and analytics.
  • Invest profits – Reinvest a percentage of profits into growing your inventory, marketing efforts, better equipment, and other assets that will scale the business.
  • Sell across multiple platforms – Maintain shops on Depop, Poshmark, eBay, Etsy and your own website to widen your reach.

Building an established brand and systematizing operations is vital to growing a sizable, full-time Depop business. With consistent effort, many sellers successfully make a career selling fashion online.

Pitfalls to Avoid When Selling on Depop

Based on advising numerous sellers, I want to caution against a few common Depop seller pitfalls:

  • Offering poor customer service that damages your reviews and reputation
  • Letting messages and orders go unanswered for too long, aggravating buyers
  • Failing to ship orders promptly per your stated processing times
  • Listing prohibited or counterfeit items that lead to account suspension
  • Using stock images instead of photographing your actual inventory
  • Inaccurately describing condition flaws or size – be fully transparent
  • Dropping off the app for weeks, causing your shop to go inactive
  • Not researching proper pricing for your items or overpricing
  • Neglecting to refresh old stale listings that sink in search results

Avoiding these missteps will help your Depop seller account remain in good standing and build a loyal following. Protecting your reputation is crucial.

Why I Recommend Entrepreneurs Give Depop a Try

For business-minded users, I firmly believe Depop is a phenomenal platform to pilot an ecommerce venture. Benefits include:

Minimal startup costs – You don‘t need a website, storefront or substantial upfront investment. Listing is free.

Profitable side hustle – Many sellers earn $500-2000+ a month working 5-10 flexible hours per week.

Build marketing skills – You‘ll sharpen product photography, writing, branding, social media, and sales abilities.

Test new products – List small inventory batches to validate product-market fit before investing in inventory.

Established marketplace – No need to build an audience from scratch. Depop provides a built-in target market.

Gain followers – Your Depop shop followers will likely follow you to other platforms once you expand.

Youth audience – There‘s no better place to gain insight into Gen Z preferences and shopping behavior.

I recommend Depop to new entrepreneurs as a low-cost way to gain ecommerce experience and valuable transferrable skills before investing in your own website or large inventory orders. The hands-on education is invaluable.

Bottom Line

For those looking to explore unique fashion, earn extra income, or even launch a business, Depop offers a vibrant community marketplace brimming with potential. Driven by a new generation embracing individual style and sustainability, the app makes resale shopping a social, creative endeavor.

As Depop continues capitalizing on these shifting cultural values, I foresee the platform playing an even bigger role in the future of fashion. My advice? Try Depop for yourself and experience the app‘s magic firsthand. Happy hunting!