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QVC tests walled mobile social platform to drive TV viewership

PHILADELPHIA – A QVC executive at eTail East revealed a new social platform and pinpointed mobile’s role in driving television tune-ins as part of the new rollout.

The QVC executive shared the multichannel retailer’s mobile and social strategy during the “Community-Building and Social Sharing to Drive Customer Engagement and Increase Brand Loyalty” keynote session. The session unveiled QVC’s new social media platform Togather that will roll out this fall, with mobile playing a key role in fueling second-screen interaction.

“We know that our customers want to engage with us on multiple platforms almost simultaneously, so we see a lot of second-screen interactivity within a given day with our existent customers,” said Alex Miller, vice president of ecommerce at QVC, West Chester, PA. “They are using their mobile phone in the morning, they go to their desktop in the afternoon and then they pick up the phone later to make an order.

“We can see that as we are a member-based organization as being tied to the activity across platforms, so when we see mobile as a huge opportunity is introducing some incremental viewership opportunities,” he said.

“Now on mobile you can watch across all of our platforms 24 hours a day.”

QVC is the second largest mobile retail site and the fifth largest Web site in the United States.

New platforms
QVC is debuting a new digital-only platform this fall that resembles a walled-version of Pinterest.

Togather will be a place where like-minded consumers come together to engage with each other. In addition, the effort will be the first time that QVC will involve employees in the platform.

Via the platform, consumers will be able to like and follow products and shows.

Mr. Miller said that the site will help fuel product discoverability.

The platform is in beta right now and will debut around September this fall.

What is unique about Togather is that it keeps the mobile and social sharing in one place, which QVC has control over.

Social is mobile
QVC’s core customer is an early adopter of mobile technology, and social has been in the company’s DNA since its beginning.

The company produces live on-air testimonials and 36,000 monthly product reviews. It has accumulated 1.2 million Facebook fans.

At the same time, prioritizing social and new platforms can be a challenge.

According to Mr. Miller, retailers need to adopt a single strategy across all their platforms.

For QVC, that means developing specific content for different platforms, and the content between mobile, desktop and television is different.

One of QVC’s franchises that is integrating cross-channel content is the “In the Kitchen with David” series with David Venable. The program is the highest-reached QVC show.

The viewers have a relationship with guests and the host in addition to an interest in the products featured in the show.

IPhone, iPad and Facebook experiences complement and sync up with programming. However, these experiences also give QVC a way to extend the on-air experience when the show is not on.

“As mobile and social platforms come to merge, she’s there, she’s expecting QVC to be there, she’s expecting to be able to shop,” Mr. Miller said.

“The way that we look at shopping is not as much about the transaction as it is about social and the pattern of relationships to really understand what makes that experience special,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York