It’s an ambitious effort by Qurate Retail Inc., parent of HSN and QVC, to spur holiday gift shopping and further the company’s reputation for advancing livestreaming events. Industrywide, the format is in its formative stages though growing in the U.S. while already widespread in Asia.
“This will be our biggest live event ever,” Brian Beitler, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for QVC U.S. and HSN, told WWD. “We’ve never done anything on a scale like this before.”
“Through the power of our streaming service, at any moment throughout the weekend, QVC and HSN shoppers will have the choice of four to six different live video shopping experiences happening simultaneously across their mobile devices, computers, and TVs,” said Beitler.
The weekend will include more than 200 hours of unique live shopping events (nothing gets repeated) on QVC’s and HSN’s TV channels, websites, mobile apps, social media pages and streaming platforms. These include QVC, QVC2, HSN and HSN2, as well as Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and the Apple, Roku and Sling streaming services. The 200 hours compares to 50 live hours of content that QVC, QVC2, HSN and HSN2, combined, broadcast on average daily.
Qurate also operates the Zulily, Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Garnet Hill, and Grandin Road brands.
On television, Qurate began staging live events long before e-commerce and social media emerged. “Several years ago, as social and emerging content moved forward, we leveraged those and began livestreaming,” noted Beitler. “We recognized that there would be a lot of excitement across the country around livestreaming and live shopping. We feel we are in a best position to launched a larger-than-life live event weekend,” tying in with the holiday season. Early Black Friday sale prices from an “extensive assortment of top holiday gifts,” will be offered.
“We expect this to be one of our highest volume weekends” for the holiday season, he added. “This gives us a chance to feature the breadth of our assortment. You can turn from channel to channel, switch from device to device.”
As to whether livestreaming is the most effective way of selling, Beitler replied, “We think it’s absolutely the most entertaining and engaging way to shop. We believe that live shopping is a place where ideas come to you versus having to reach out and scroll through endless website pages or search through a big store.”
Asked if livestreaming is expensive to conduct, he replied, “We think it’s a great business model. It provides good value to our customers to our investors. We feel good about the approach and the model, and that’s way we are investing more in it this weekend. It will help us to think of what the future will be like and may open doors for to be more exploratory,” with livestreaming.
He also said that much of the weekend’s programming will be repeated afterward. The 49-hour event is in the U.S. only.
Beitler said the event, called “Shop With Us Live,” will have dozens of celebrities, influencers, fashion designers, chefs, hosts including Whoopi Goldberg, Dolly Parton, Wolfgang Puck, Tori Spelling, Isaac Mizrahi, Jennie Garth, Giuliana Rancic, Chris and Peyton Lambton of HGTV’s “Clipped” and “Going Yard” and ABC’s “The Bachelorette” and “The Bachelor,” among others. Tech, food, apparel, beauty, jewelry, toys, holiday decor, and stocking stuffers will be offered. Qurate is guaranteeing that orders placed over the two-day event will arrive by Dec. 24.
While Qurate has been ahead of the game in livestreaming selling, the format in the past two years has been catching on in the U.S. Saks.com earlier this year launched Saks Live, which has so far staged 42 events. Through the holiday season, Saks Live will have 12 virtual, shoppable holiday gift and fashion events where hosts, such as stylist Bettina Looney and Stephanie Oliveira, the executive chef at L’Avenue at Saks, interact with shoppers via chat.
Coresight Research held its second annual “10.10 Shopping Festival” last October, and in March 2021, Nordstrom got into livestreaming shopping events with such brands as Burberry and Lafayette 148. And Longaberger, a social commerce retailer of artisanal handcrafted American home goods, launched livestreaming earlier this year.