by Lianne La Reine
Ever wondered if your invention, product, or line would be perfect for a shopping channel like QVC or HSN?
Sometimes the owner or manufacturer has a product that is perfect for TV shopping but they just don’t realize it. Here’s what we sales representatives typically look for—does your product fit the bill?
• Unique features and benefits
• Appeals to a broad audience
• Solves a common problem
• Makes life easier
• Demonstrates well
• Improves quality of life
• Is pretty, fun, novel, or fashionable
Most successful products demonstrate well or solve a problem. Sometimes the product possesses a certain “magic.” If you remember the ThighMaster, sold by Suzanne Somers, then you have seen the magic. It was a great product that hit at the right time, at the correct price, and with a fantastic talent behind it.
Product categories sold on HSN or QVC include jewelry, cleaning, food, kitchen gadgets, collectibles, beauty products, clothing, electronics, gardening items, home decor, and appliances. Products that sell the best are those that resonate with the customer, are priced correctly, and are showcased properly during their presentation by the right on-air talent.
The shopping channels air live performances hosted by professional talent 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Products are presented in themed shows. This planned programming allows the viewer to tune in when the products they are most interested in will be airing.
Shopping channels are viewed daily by millions, with the audience consisting of a predominantly 30-plus female audience. If you want to know if your product might do well on a shopping channel, you should watch and learn. “Hot selling” items often prompt a counter to be posted on the screen, which tallies the number of units sold during that airing. It is not uncommon for a really hot product to “sell out.” There are countless examples of successful products through the years, but some that easily come to mind are:
• Hollywood Fashion Tape
• Personal shavers
• Microfiber cleaning cloths
• Various mops
• Inflatable beds
• Cubic zirconium jewelry
• Terrycloth hair turbans
• Self-tanning products
• Eyebrow products
• Beauty lines and beauty items
• Skin-care products with clinical studies behind them
• Fitness products
Challenges that the inventor or manufacturer may encounter include difficulty getting the shopping channel buyer interested, making it through the required quality assurance process, packaging according to the channel’s specifications, and actually selling on-air. And if your product makes it on the air, would you sell it yourself or would you hire professional talent to do it for you? These are all necessary and integral elements to your product’s success.
The job of a sales rep is to maximize success and minimize the likelihood of failure. Failures are products that don’t make their required dollars per minute. If a product fails to meet its goal at the first airing, the product may never air again and the goods will be returned to the vendor. Every product has a lifespan. If a product has many, many airings and product sales eventually die, it isn’t classified as a failure because it did have a life.
So, if you’ve done your research and are convinced that your product would be perfect for a shopping channel, what do you do next? You have a couple of options: You can attempt the process yourself, or hire a reputable sales representative to assist you. If you opt to do it yourself, contact the shopping channel that interests you. A sales representative already has the relationship, knows what the shopping channel expects or requires, will present your product to the appropriate buyer for you, and can save you from having to deal with chargebacks and costly errors. In either case, this can be the beginning of an exciting process.
When the right product meets the right audience at the right time, the results can be what every inventor or manufacturer dreams of … brisk sales.