While purely online platforms get the buzz, QVC still delivers the goods.
It wasn’t all that long ago that shopping at home, in the pre-digital era, meant lounging on the sofa, watching a home shopping channel, and reaching for your phone when you saw an item that excited you. While QVC still generates enormous sales volume this way, the brand has wisely evolved. Today, it’s a modern media company, promoting the products it carries not only on television but at qvc.com and, increasingly, on social media.
Phone orders made by people watching shows from the couch are no longer the company’s main driver of revenue. They may still make orders from the couch but in 2017, eCommerce accounted for well over 50 percent of sales in the United States for QVC. That number has been increasing every year, by as much as eight percent. In North America, QVC is the third-largest mobile and eCommerce retailer. Meanwhile, the global business has grown online — eCommerce sales are over $950 million.
Wow. Those are serious numbers.
Demographically, QVC’s shoppers are older and more affluent — they also like shopping more than most of us. They spend about $1,200 a year and, as a source told PYMTS, they are unlikely to join the ranks of cord-cutters — viewers who cut their cable subscription or at least reduce them to the most basic channels.
To take on Amazon and other online powerhouses, QVC is positioning itself as a different experience. If Amazon is all about the instant gratification that buying something with a single click provides, QVC encourages people to stop in and check things out. They want relationships with their customers, whether they’re television viewers or qvc.com shoppers. Social media is becoming even more important for QVC, and the people who host shows often start with a strong base of Instagram or YouTube followers. In fact, many of them are online celebrities before they appear on QVC.
This is most apparent in the Health and Beauty category, and the Beauty IQ network of shows on QVC reflect their commitment to it. Like all of its programming, it is simulcast, well, all over the place — on the web site, the mobile app, Apple TV, Roku, Facebook. Products in Health and Beauty, like those in Housewares, can also be demonstrated and shared during a broadcast. That helps create a social experience that one is not going to get from a typical web store shopping experience.
Lots of upside with QVC.
With the clout they have, QVC expects suppliers to be on top of their game. The company adds about 500 new vendors annually, choosing them from roughly 10,000 applications. And you thought Harvard was tough to get into.
First, suppliers have to be able to produce significant volumes. QVC isn’t for artisan brands — it does big numbers and you need to be able to deliver the inventory they need. It’s also tightly scheduled. After all, QVC, unlike other retailers, has programming needs and air dates that need to be met. If your product isn’t available, it’s not as simple as devoting the shelf space to something else. Everything needs to move through the supply chain seamlessly. So working with a first-rate EDI provider, backed by great customer support, is critical to success with QVC. The last thing you want to do is make it through the arduous selection process, only to damage the relationship because your EDI software let you down.
Tips for Getting on QVC.
- Watch the shows. Figure out where your products fit and which hosts would be good brand ambassadors. Then pitch accordingly.
- Tout new. If you have a product that is really fresh and a breakthrough in the category, make that central to your positioning. QVC is all about new.
- Make sure your manufacturing is in place. If you’re successful on QVC, you’re going to need a lot of product. Do your homework so that’s not a problem.
- Get a handle on your true costs. Don’t forget about the money you’ll have to spend getting products to QVC — shipping may not be inexpensive, especially with tight timelines. Be realistic when you’re determining your wholesale price.
- Lock in excellent EDI. Once you’re being carried by QVC, you should expect serious sales volume. With the right EDI provider as a partner, you’ll be able to move goods quickly and efficiently, and avoid mistakes that lead to chargebacks.