HSN drives mobile-only sales in holiday-shopping lead-up

Catering to its growing audience of on-the-go shoppers, the multichannel retailer will showcase a new mobile-only item each day of Cyber Week, which takes place Dec. 1-5. The campaign, reprising a similar program from last year, underscores the growing role mobile is playing in holiday shopping.

“This is a very exciting step, as mobile and Cyber Week are a natural fit for each other,” said Yoni Solomon, manager for marketing with Vibes, Chicago. “HSN is making a wise decision to market to their mobile audience, offering them exclusive doorbuster deals.”

Holiday rush
Last year, HSN held mobile pre-Black-Friday offers on the two Fridays leading up to Thanksgiving Day. A year before that, it leveraged push notifications and an SMS blast to its database of 900,000 subscribers to get the word out about the company’s first mobile-only offer.

As one of the world’s largest multichannel retailers, HSN is making a hard push into mobile to not only drive sales, but also reach shoppers with tailored, personalized deals based on the company’s broad amount of data on consumers.

As mobile plays a greater role in shopping, home shopping networks like HSN and QVC are refining every touch point to keep customers engaged and give them a seamless cross-channel experience.

In its second-quarter earnings release, HSN said mobile now represents 15 percent of total sales.

QVC, for example, recently started keeping customers engaged post-sale by emailing them a video that provides tips and information about how best to enjoy newly purchased items.

The West Chester, PA-based home shopping network extended its television persona farther into customers’ homes by sending customers a video that might demonstrate multiple ways to wear a particular accessory.

QVC initially tested a post-purchase email to customers with follow-up on content on how to use or assemble certain items, especially particularly complicated ones. When returns decreased, the company broadened its thinking on the post-purchase experience to include video on how to use, how to wear and how to love something.

Heading into the holiday season, mobile gives HSN a leg-up in increasing sales before the official launch of holiday shopping.

The home shopping network recently decided to double down on the Hispanic market after realizing several important areas of cross-over with its offerings.

Bigger role
Findings from a PwC report suggest that mobile will play a bigger role for marketers in targeting the Hispanic market, with these consumers more likely to access coupons, bank, make a payment, watch videos, use location-based apps and text more than non-Hispanics.

“HSN does a great job at making online shopping easy and fun,” Mr. Solomon said. “Weaving mobile into their marketing mix will help them continue to deliver on that promise and value proposition.

“It’s no surprise that mobile has a huge impact on online shopping, and HSN is putting their business and their brand a step ahead of the game by embracing it,” he said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.