Does Bidstitch Live Up to the Hype? A Veteran Seller’s Review
There was a ton of hype leading up to the launch of Bidstitch and we’ve been keeping tabs on all of their announcements and even published a pre-launch opinion piece. Of course, there was a small percentage of Debbie downers whose most common concern was who was actually behind the platform and whether evil corporate money was involved. Fair enough. But for the most part, the community rallied around the potential for a better marketplace. People are particularly perturbed at pissing their money away on other platforms. And for every naysayer, there were two fanboys who would have consumed Bidstitch Koolaid if it existed. But the buzz is definitely a great indication of the overwhelming support around the IG vintage community.
I decided to sign up as a “founding member” and take advantage of the free month and the potential for a $9.99/month fee for life. I can’t wait to be 99-years-old and still only pay $9.99 a month. Hey, I don’t know if I want to jump back into selling again, but it might be the destination for the occasional grail I’m ready to part ways with…
ie: a vintage C.R.E.A.M. Enter the Wu-Tang XL Murina t-shirt.
But mostly I was curious to see if this thing lived up to the hype.
There’s nothing revolutionary about the site design. They’re not changing the game in this respect. But after two decades plus of online marketplaces, the design probably doesn’t need to be changed. That said, it’s a basic, white-based design, similar to Grailed. The products should be the focus anyway and the site displays them well. It’s easy enough to navigate.
I think Bidstich will be the first to admit this, but there has been a ton of bugs, and it’s an ongoing issue. Given they hosted a beta launch for a week plus, it was surprising how many issues there are at public launch. Sadly, I was unable to score a beta invite. I would have happily provided feedback, hey, I’ve been involved in launching a vintage marketplace before. In the days that followed the Bidstitch launch, the site was either offline or the server was overwhelmed and it was super slow. Sure, being overwhelmed with traffic is a good problem to have, but truthfully, they should have been prepared with a more powerful server and squashed way more of the bugs in advance. The good news is that they are chipping away at it. The server problem was solved within a few days and they are responsive to bug reports.
Desktop vs Mobile
I tested on mobile and desktop and the experience is good. The mobile version is a perfect translation of the desktop layout, in fact, I like the presentation there better. But everyone keeps asking about an app and Bidstitch has said one will be available inside of 3 months, but the mobile version is just fine in the meantime.
I messaged their IG account with several issues while I was posting and got speedy, friendly replies. That’s what it’s all about. Bugs are common with every new website and not a big deal if they get dealt with in a timely manner. There were also several update notifications on the site, through email and via their IG account, so users knew what was going on and when to expect improvements. When there was a site outage, we were made aware of it.
Account Set-up and Listings
Registering and subscribing went flawlessly. And the listing process is super easy. Although when I listed my first item it was a little odd to have the onboard WordPress media controller in charge of facilitating the image uploads, though not a big deal. That said, about a week later they changed it and the image upload process looks slick. Then they added additional fields to improve the details on the listing. Single/Double stitch is a nice touch. But based on the pre-launch hype, I don’t really see anything new to this listing process that hasn’t been done before. I was able to go back in and update my listing with the new fields they added, however, I couldn’t get the ‘brand’ field to stick. After entering “Murina” and saving it several times it never appears on the actual listing and that box remains empty. I’ve read other users having this issue with other fields as well.
Setting up my account and the store was easy enough, although I’m still not sure what image size the store banner should be and I can’t seem to get a photo up that doesn’t get stretched.
There was a big hangup in terms of setting up shipping that seemed to get ironed out, but there’s still an option to use “previous shipping settings” which I don’t really understand.
“Another thing is that they recently made a layout change in the listing. When doing so, most of the old info on the listings is gone. All of my descriptions and measurements from the 30 or so listings I did are gone now. Guessing this happened to tons of listings. Not sure about everyone else though, but my info is gone,” one user mentioned to us yesterday. So little bugs are still lurking and sometimes it feels like once they fix something, other bugs pop up.
Anywho, after a 3-year hiatus from doing listings of any kind (except for our RUN DMC NFT), I had my item up and it was looking great (aside from some weirdness with the stitching/brand fields.)
Now it was time to sit back and wait for the offers and money to pour in…right?
To test the offers I put one in on @drewheifetz‘s 1991 Johnny Cash t-shirt. Moments later I get an “Offer Received” email.
Days pass and I never hear back. Not even sure if it was declined, but he may have never got the notification. Or he’s too busy setting up his Only Fans account. I DM’d a week later, sent a second offer, and still nothing. Then I realize that the offer system isn’t functioning properly after getting contacted by a potential buyer for my Wu-Tang tee via IG DMs. I also reached out to @nostageec, who was the most successful vendor on the Defunkd marketplace. He has 80+ listings up on Bidstitch and said his first sale would have been a best offer – but after accepting it, he hadn’t heard anything back. Looks like the buyer has either flaked or didn’t receive the payment email to finalize the offer.
@waxandthreadsvintage and I tested sending each other offers and neither of us got a notification or an email. Turns out the offers are in our dashboard though, so if you’re on Bidstich, make sure to check your dashboard to see if there are offers there, you could have some potential sales just waiting there for you.
Because there was for me!
@juiceboxarchive had offered me $1100 for my Wu-Tang tee and I happily accepted the offer. Turns out this $1100 sale trumped the previous Bidstitch record sale of $1099. I considered bargaining for a brief moment, but sellers can’t counter. It’s either “accept” or “decline” and the options are so close to one another that you could accidentally press the wrong one. This is kinda scary considering there’s no “are you sure you want to accept?” field, so choose carefully and wisely.
Epic sale aside, I’m not exactly sure how this process will ever be “binding”. As it stands the buyer can still just not pay for an item once an offer has been accepted. I thought the person making the offer would have to pony up the cash in advance somehow. I remember the frustration with buyers flaking on offers I had accepted on eBay, so if they solve that problem, awesome. But the way it’s currently set up, a buyer could still flake.
I reported the best offer issues to the Bidstitch IG account and once again, got a timely response that they are looking into the email and notification issues.
BTW, the offer stands Drew!
This has a lot of potential but I wasn’t able to flush it out fully. If you select the ‘tees’ category from the navigation, you can filter your search with price, color, size, condition. So that gives you all the shirts available based on that search criteria. But if you use the search bar to look for a specific t-shirt, like “Pink Floyd” it presents all the listings and the search filters vanish. Once we’re able to apply those filters to search for a specific shirt, boom!
I didn’t test the auction format. A decade-plus ago I swore off auctions because they were consistently fetching low prices. They used to be a staple among the community in the 2000s, but then everyone opted for fixed-price listings. Auctions on this platform could be a risky move unless you’re able to drive significant traffic at the listing. I don’t know if they have the infrastructure in place that notifies people via email in the closing hours of the listing, I have got updates about stores I am following though. But I also don’t think they have enough users yet to just let an auction coast. The big sellers can get away with it when they have 20k IG followers and can promote the auction, but I suspect the final prices are still going below what they would have hoped for. That said, the auctions here are ripe to score deals on, so keep an eye on them!
Currently, there is no way to report an item via the listing page. So if users do spot a questionable item, what’s the process? Authenticity was a big selling point of the platform, so it feels like there should be an official process here. Each listing should have a report item button so users can flag an item. There should be an official statement by Bidstitch on their authenticity playbook. But we’re only three weeks in, it’s probably already in the works.
The forum isn’t very active. This is not a big surprise. They can be tough to get going in this era of the internet. And if they do actually get going, they become a pain in the butt to moderate, and with the troll culture in today’s scene, it won’t be a fun job. This I know, I did it for 10 years.
Browse by Dealer
This brings up what seems like the entire database of sellers, but doesn’t really strike me as a way anyone would ever search for something.
The dealer spotlight sounds like a funt idea, but that section still says to “check back on 21st July.”
Apparently, they recently added a chat feature, although I’m not sure how to access it. But this is a great idea. Other platforms try to stifle communication to prevent transactions from going on outside their domain. Bidstitch is subscription-based, so there are no fees to circumvent.
Apparently, becoming Bidstitch verified is a feature that is coming next week.
So they’ve got 5000+ tees currently listed, how many sales have transpired? Only they know, but it’s also way too early to tell. The conversion rate is key to the whole thing being successful. If items don’t sell, vendors will stop listing, buyers will stop coming back and sellers will unsubscribe. At the moment, Bidstitch’s organic traffic will be minimal. This is the way of the web, a new website can have a tough time ranking organically for quite some time. When the Defunkd marketplace launched, we already had significant organic traffic because the site had been around since 2004, and soon after we launched the marketplace in 2011, we got crushed by a Google algorithm update and it wiped out nearly half of our traffic. We did not have the social reach Bidstitch does. It’s a huge advantage given the support from the partners with large followings and collectively can drive a significant amount of traffic. Heck, even their IG account is already closing in on 10k. That said, something tells me they’ll need more than just IG referral traffic to get clothes in carts and money in seller’s pockets.
But Bidstitch has made it very clear they need to bring in third-party buyers, so standby.
Does Bidstitch Live up to the Hype?
Well, the dial was set to 11 for hype, so it would have been impossible to live up to. Kinda like that blockbuster flick everyone is raving about, and when you finally see it, it’s good, but it doesn’t blow your mind. It was basically pitched like the second coming of Christ, and then when it landed people quickly realized it’s just a new platform to sell stuff. But that hype helped Bidstitch nail the seller part of the equation and was a testament to their concept being a winner. They’ve got a great seller base and plenty of inventory. Now they have to prove to people that the sales they’re getting aren’t just ones that would have just occurred through IG.
Hey, I sold a fuckin’ t-shirt on there for $1100! It ranks among my all-time highest t-shirt sales. And to their credit – I did not promote the listing in any way, shape, or form. Not through our IG account, nor our website, or our mailing list. I just quietly posted it on there to see if the platform could make the sale on its own, and it did! And I did so in my first, free, month.
Zero fees paid to Bidstitch.
Now if we can only solve that $41.33 I paid to Paypal. Ugh.
Once they get a handle on all the bugs and figure out a plan to bring in buyers, this thing can go places. Potential is strong with this one.
Hopefully, they can succeed where Defunkd did not, because I think vintage t-shirts are deserving of their own marketplace.
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