The Electronic Retailing Association

Article: TV Shopping Industry Essentials: Vision & Quality

By Budd Margolis

The two qualities which are vital for the existence and sustainable growth of the TV shopping industry are Vision & Quality.

Our industry is battling the threat of disruptive digital technology, there is the Millennial and Gen X consumer behavioural shift, not to mention currency exchange fluctuations and the scourge of the quality issue.

Vision

Consolidation inches forward as the industry shifts to digital consumer interaction. Whether Studio Moderna patterns with CJo of Korea, HSE24 launches their IPO or Qurate creates a successful, new and more digital entity between QVC & HSN will take time, but seems like a trend for the near term.

Shopping Channels should cooperate, share and drive more digital engagement than at present. Yes, most sales are via digital platforms but this is mainly driven from an established TV base which is hard to replenish.

Many shop channels have Shark Tank/Dragons Den type product innovation & inventor formats.

QVC, the world leader in this industry, has had a programme called Sprouts and now features QVC NEXT which asks for product submissions.

Bob Circosta and Chad Allen are on TSC, the Canadian shopping channel, once a month with their show 'What a Great Idea with Bob and Chad'. They do not sell, rather they present solutions and help viewers. Their approach is light, informative and fun to watch.

Bob Circosta, the first ever TV shopping channel presenter and industry leader, has over the past 30 years, logged over 25,000 hours of LIVE selling on television, made over 75,000 separate product presentations and has, individually, sold over ONE BILLION DOLLARS in merchandise. Bob mentors entrepreneurs on "HSN American Dreams," and hosts "What a Great Idea with Bob and Chad" with Chad Allen on TSC the Canadian shopping channel once a month.

Chad Allen, known as The Millennial Entrepreneur, has consulted and presented in the TV shopping industry and has helped move over $600m of goods. The two make a great team and bounce off each other perfectly. Bob and Chad do not sell, rather they present solutions and help viewers. Their approach is light, informative and fun to watch.

If we change too much too fast we lose all credibility and trust. Feather in change

Earlier this year Evine "Inventor Showdown," a reality selling show featuring top inventors from across the country who compete for the prize of "top inventor." Each show, over a period of five weeks, features four new inventors with the winner going forward to the final. Inventor Showdown is based off Evine's brand partner, Akos Jankura, a world-class inventor and problem-solver.

And a taboo for TV shopping has also been introduced: 'Evine After Dark: The Power of Pleasure' is a late show featuring erotic inspired merchandise.

Evine After Dark: The Power of Pleasure on YouTube

But the traditional leaders are experiencing stress and must up their game with innovation and passion. This takes vision and extreme attention to detail. It also means creating experiences to innovate, accepting failure to learn and then creating quality events, offers and products that consumers will embrace. This takes wisdom and with statistical analysis, a real human touch.

If we change too much too fast we lose all credibility and trust. Feather in change, create new entities and above all, deliver above and beyond expectations. This is the formula to win long-term high-value customers. When they feel and trust that the shop channel membership is a real benefit they will reward you with their loyalty.

Quality

I constantly monitor developments and social media is not just a massively disruptive force but is a new and alternative retailing channel. And what we know today will possibly be irrelevant tomorrow. One has to keep on top of each and every wave.

But the rules are different. When compared against 30-second ads, 6-second ads delivered an 11% higher ad recall (Facebook, 2017). Short grabs and then you have to deliver or lose the lead. That effort takes skill.

Budd Margolis is a London based consulting expert for global TV shopping & eCommerce.

Budd Margolis started his TV shopping career with QVC UK. He has been working in the field of global TV shopping & eCommerce for some 25 years and has worked in over 50 countries. He is now an associate with Best Flow Factory Retail of Copenhagen, Sofia, Dubai & London which is a group of digital and broadcast retail specialist who plan, specify, build companies and improve sales for existing companies

The TV shopping industry is changing and the biggest lesson I have to offer is that over the past 30+ years, our biggest challenge has been in the quality of the goods, management and presentation.

High-quality brands are now sold on TV shop channels. In the past, many refrained from being associated with live TV shopping but for some time now major brands and political candidates have used the format to their advantage.

Many infomercial products are over-packed and underperform. Across the world, the public has grown used to being hard & soft sold, but we have endured massive assaults from comedians to courtrooms. Like one of many examples, the damage (Australia & UK before the USA) from such con artists as Kevin Trudeau, ($39m USD in fines and a 10-year jail sentence), have hurt our industry reputation and cost us many hundreds of millions. China's Government was brave enough a few years ago to eliminate shop channels that failed to meet regulatory controlled financial solvency, some were openly ripping off consumers. The industry there is still in recovery.

The power of live video is and remains enormous and it is successfully transferring across into the global digital sphere. It is TV as a family event that has changed because of the personalised entertainment explosion and changing leisure habits.

The world is increasingly interested in the health of our planet and there are too many over-packaged plastics-encased, hard-to-open and over-packed packaging.

Successful companies care about their customers and if you sell something that fails to perform as promised you have lost a customer. Some may be able to operate like this before the collapse but the harm to our industry is severe.

Social media has changed much in our industry as customers can post and read online reviews.

Management has to have the discipline to maintain standards and innovate.

Watch & Shop is the latest Amazon use of the TV shopping format and they are actively engaged in the expanding the use of video.

The Style Code Live experiment was not a failure, as many in the industry gleefully announced when it ceased operations. Style Code was a valuable learning lesson and we are fooling ourselves to believe that Amazon won't create a better concept while some laugh at their innovating experiments.

Bob Circosta has helped create direct-to-consumer retailing which is now a $350-billion-a-year global industry. And like Bob Circosta said, "The lesson was that the best way to sell is not to sell."

What has changed over the past three decades is the technology and consumer wealth. We live in an age of disposable fashion and products. Cheaper to toss than repair and our oceans are growing in plastic waste.

Our industry must adapt to the new consumer while maintaining sustainable and high-quality standards from customer care to merchandise testing and selection.

We are after all in the business of delivering customer delight over and over again!