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HSN Goes Interactive for Customers

The Home Shopping Network is establishing itself as a beauty authority with its 360-degree lifestyle platform integrating television and the Internet.

The Home Shopping Network is establishing itself as a beauty authority with its 360-degree lifestyle platform integrating television and the Internet.

“We’re trying to ‘dimensionalize’ our business for people. We want to create a venue where people can watch, learn, be inspired and gain confidence in the products that are right for them,” said Mindy Grossman, chief executive officer of IAC Retailing at Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, which owns HSN. “Since we relaunched our Web site, we’ve changed our whole approach to creating both our live and creative content. The beauty category was already a big focus, but now we can create more assets and utilize our content.”

With 75 brands in the assortment — 40 of which were introduced in the last year — the company plans to double its beauty business over the next two to three years, according to Grossman.

“Beauty is one of our faster-growing businesses, and we want to see beauty outpace the growth of our overall business.”

Before the recent push, HSN had viewed beauty as the most demonstrable category in terms of innovation, problem solution, efficacy and emotion. But in order to grow the category, the company decided to develop a 360-degree platform incorporating television, Web, podcasts and other multimedia content.

As part of the initiative, the company relaunched its Web site in August so that its editorial content and overall message was more cohesive with the television network.

“If our whole strategy is to create a lifestyle, customers’ experiences have to be consistent no matter where they interface with HSN,” said Grossman. “Our mission on television and on the Web is to increase our active customer base and viewership. It’s not about the products. It’s about the actual innovators of the products telling you the how, what and where.”

The company’s Web site has a new look, new category segmentations and a new navigation system with more interactive tools giving consumers brand specific “how-to” videos designed specifically for the Web featuring the products’ creators. According to Grossman, every product has its own demo video. As a result, the company has seen an increased session length and conversion rate on its site.

“We view the Web as a 365-day vehicle for curating our beauty offerings and keeping customers engaged in between television sessions,” said Grossman. “In the past, we felt that television would bring our consumers to the Web, but we believe we can use the Web to drive consumers to their televisions. A multichannel customer is most valuable if they’re engaged 365 days a year.”

Other initiatives include creating original content for podcasts as well as YouTube and on-demand television where consumers can browse through segments and shop by remote.

As part of an initiative across the company, HSN plans to expand its “green” assortment by enlarging its beauty offerings with brands like Desert Essence Organics.

According to Grossman, in the upcoming year the company hopes to expand by offering more global brands that may not be accessible to the U.S. consumer, in addition to bringing in products and brands that appeal to a more ethnically diverse population. HSN is also building its portfolio by expanding underdeveloped categories such as color cosmetics and hair treatments, tools and accessories.