Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

February 23, 2014

SCORE: Pitching your product to home shopping TV

TRAVERSE CITY — Many entrepreneurs wonder if having their product featured on one of the two major home shopping networks, QVC or HSN, is their ticket to success.

QVC and HSN are retail gorillas and reach hundreds of millions of consumers through their 24/7 television programming, websites, and mobile apps. Therefore, if your product is selected for one of the home shopping networks, the exposure is enormous.

Beyond exposure, you also get to take advantage of their proven sales model, warehousing and order fulfillment capabilities and customer service support. Furthermore, you don’t have to pay for air time to be featured on either of the home shopping networks. Sounds like a dream opportunity, right? Well, that depends.

First, you need to determine if your product is right for either QVC or HSN. To submit your product for review, it must already be manufactured or at least be a good working prototype. Can your product be easily and effectively demonstrated on television? Does it appeal to a broad audience, solve a problem, or make life easier?

While similar product requirements apply to both networks, let’s focus on QVC for simplicity. Common product categories on QVC include beauty care, health and fitness, kitchen and food and home improvement.

Second, while you won’t have to pay for air time if your product is selected by QVC, you must be able to manufacture and ship a fairly substantial quantity of your product to QVC’s distribution center before you are featured on the air. The minimum initial purchase order is $30,000 to $35,000. Also keep in mind that QVC (and HSN) are consignment retailers so you will only be paid when your product sells. Therefore you will take on the upfront financial risk of your inventory, not QVC.

To help budding entrepreneurs with more unique products, QVC launched their QVC Sprouts program in 2012. Sprouts allows QVC viewers to vote on the products they’re most interested in purchasing.

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