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HSN extends mobile shopping app to Android devices

Interactive multichannel retailer HSN Inc. has launched a new application for Google’s Android operating system that lets consumers make purchases using their handset.

The HSN Shop application, which was originally launched on the iPhone in August 2009, is now available as a free download in Android Market to serve a wide variety of Android devices. Along with a library of original videos, the application enables users to customize their shopping experience with their favorite categories and save preferences for future visits.

“Google has done a good thing with their Android platform—like the iPhone platform, they made it easy to build an app for, and we took advantage of it,” said Brian Bradley, executive vice president of and advanced services at HSN Inc., St. Petersburg, FL. “We saw launching an Android app as an opportunity to reach more of our customers.

“I see the iPhone and Android demographics as pretty similar, and similar to our overall core demographic, which skews female, but maybe slightly younger than our typical customer, and in some ways a little more tech-savvy,” he said. “We have a couple of core strategies, one of them being HSN everywhere, give her the opportunity to engage with us on her own terms, wherever, whenever she chooses to shop with us.

“The second part of strategy’s transactional innovation—if she sees something she likes, apps enable her to buy that while she’s on the go.”

HSN is a leading interactive multichannel shopping network and retail destination, offering a curated assortment of exclusive products and brand names to its customers.

Three-screen commerce strategy
HSN claims to be the only retailer offering live streaming video on three screens: its TV network, which broadcasts live to 93 million households in the U.S. in HD 24/7;, which ranks in the top 30 Internet retailers and features 15,000 product videos; and mobile via its iPhone application.

While the Android application does currently feature video, live streaming video will be added in a future upgrade.

Both versions of the application let users share their favorite products with friends via email, access the television program guide and receive email alerts about favorite guest appearances on HSN.

Additionally, the application offers a variety of ways to find HSN products designed to create an easy-to-navigate shopping experience.

The HSN Shop application is also designed to create a seamless transactional experience.

Consumers can sign in to their account using the same user name and password as HSN’s wired Web site.

The “Buy This Now” feature lets customers apply coupons and make changes to their shipping address or credit card.

Additional features enable users to save items for later purchase, view a 90-day order history, track shipments and connect to HSN’s call center to buy items via phone.

Rather than partner with a vendor, HSN’s internal team built both the application and its check-out and payments features.

To get the word out, HSN is promoting both the Android and iPhone version of the application simultaneously on its Web site, on its TV network and via email blasts.

HSN has no plans for print, radio or mobile advertising at this time.

“We’re talking about mobile broadly and mentioning both the iPhone and Android app,” Mr. Bradley said. “We’re emphasizing the apps on the Web site, and we have TV in 94 million homes, which is our best marketing vehicle, and we taking advantage of that.

“We’ll also integrate it into our email marketing program to make sure to let our customers know about the apps,” he said.

HSN sees its second application as the tip of the iceberg in terms of the company’s mobile initiatives.

“We’re very happy with the response we’ve gotten in the mobile space overall, and the natural next step would be to spread to other smartphones,” Mr. Bradley said. “Apps for BlackBery and other platforms are on our future development agenda, as well as a mobile-optimized Web site.”