Archive for May, 2018

We Are Not ‘Mentally Imbalanced,’ ‘Inebriated,’ Or ‘Desperate,’ But You Are Stupid, Forum Ladies

May 26, 2018

It’s time for a postmortem on the blog we wrote on the “Dos”-and-“Don’ts” e-mail sent out to all of HSN’s vendors by a not-so-tactful talent manager, Gordie.

https://homeshoppingista.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/hsn-bans-used-car-salesmen-yellers-and-hijackers-from-network/

First, thank you Page Six, the gossip column of the New York Post, for writing about the home-shopping brouhaha and eventually crediting us online for having the scoop. Several other outlets picked up the story, including AOL and The Blast.

https://pagesix.com/2018/05/22/hsn-stars-livid-over-execs-condescending-and-disrespectful-email/?utm_source=facebook_sitebuttons&utm_medium=site%20buttons&utm_campaign=site%20buttons

It was interesting to read reader reaction to the e-mail, on our blog, QVC forums and Facebook.

Some people said they totally agreed with some of Gordie’s criticisms and suggestions, like not shouting over the show host or no hard sells. But they thought, like many of the vendors who ended up being offended, that the issue should have been addressed privately to just those who the comments applied to.

Others said that HSN, (now owned by QVC, with this memo obviously trying to get the No. 2 in line with then No. 1’s standards), to crack the whip on its vendors was the pot calling the kettle black.

For example, these folks said that QVC vendors like Susan Graver should be read the riot act for shouting over hosts, etc.

We admit that many reporters are thin-skinned, but we don’t mind criticism that is simply a matter of having a different opinion on a topic than we do.

But some of the morons on the QVC community forum got our dander up, we guess because we haven’t seen such stupidity in a long while. One of the disgraced talent managers relatives must have been making some of the asinine remarks questioning the veracity of the memo and/or our blog,

Wrote one stupido about The Homeshoppingista blog, “To me this appears to be a publication by someone mentally imbalanced, inebriated and/or desperate.”

On some days, yes, but not at the time we wrote that juicy item! (That’s a joke, folks.)

If these chuckle heads had actually read the blog to the end, they would have seen that there was indeed an objectionable e-mail sent out, because HSN’s president put out his OWN email to vendors apologizing for Gordie’s e-mail.

That should have nailed the question of whether Gordie’s email was real or not. DUH!

And many thanks to the one wise woman who defended us on the forum. You go girlfriend.

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HSN Bans ‘Used-Car Salesmen,’ ‘Yellers’ and ‘Hijackers’ From Network

May 20, 2018

Here is how NOT to make friends and influence vendors at a home shopping network: accuse them of acting like “used-car salesmen” and to knock off the “hard selling” and “in-your-face delivery.”

HSN vendors were roundly offended last week when they got a nasty mass e-mail from the channel’s talent manager that laid down the law, and the “Dos” and “Don’ts,” of their appearances on-air.

The “Don’ts” include not to “hijack” shows, talk over the hosts, talk about price or yell.

We guess these guidelines came down from on-high, namely from HSN’s new owner, QVC.

We’re posting the entire document. It’s an eye-popper, it’s long but please read it. It has vendors fuming. So much so that HSN’s new top honcho exec sent out an apology.

But some insiders say the first missive doesn’t bode well for the future of HSN, with some predicting that QVC will eventually fold it.

Here’s the e-mail:

Hello Everyone

For those who don’t know me, my name is Gordie Daniels and I am the talent manager for HSN. I wanted to take some time and go over some housekeeping issues and also give you an overview of our new direction. Over the next several weeks, you’ll be receiving an email from James Bridgers in regards to setting up a tape review with me. Please respond to his email because we are doing an on air talent reset with all HSN guest.

Effective immediately, no hard selling, period. I want everyone to take the used car salesman, in your face delivery and throw it out if this pertains to you. Moving forward, your presentation style needs to be conversational, authentic, real and engaging.

The host will be asking questions so please make sure that you know your product. This is a 3-way conversation between you, the host and her at home. I want you to have a conversation, so you need to balance this 3-way dance. Don’t ignore the host and don’t ignore her at home because she is still important.

Below, I have included some do’s and don’ts, so please take the time and read them, process this information. If you have any questions, my contact details are below.

Thanks
Gordie

HSN Do’s and Don’t’s

• Do – Let the host lead the presentation. This is their house and you are the guest so follow their lead.

• Do – Have a conversation. The host will ask you questions, so you need to listen, respond and engage. Again, this is a 3-way dance so you need to find that balance. Don’t ignore your host because that’s rude and sets a bad tone but don’t ignore her at home because she’s buying. It’s all about a more natural and engaging presentation.

• Do – Be authentic, warm, inviting and relatable. Connect with her through storytelling.

• Do – Paint the picture so that she can see how this product fits into her life. Give her examples, things she can compare it to. Utilize sense memory to work for you. That’s memory supported by your 5 senses. With sense memory, make her smell, taste, touch, hear and see all the ways that this product is for her.

• Do – Get rid of the hard sell. Your job is to explain the features and benefits of the product. You need to be a good storyteller, and make that connection with her at home. Create interesting demos that showcases the product and all of the wonderful things that it can do. Keep it simple. Why do I need this? Why is this better than what I have?

• Do – Act and carry yourself in a professional manner on and off air.

• Do – Research your product. Look at the reviews and see what types of questions or issue that are being brought up. What would you want to know if you were buying this product?

• Do – Listen and respond. You have to listen in order to respond and you can’t respond if you’re not listening. You have to pay attention to the host because they are going to lead the presentation and ask questions. I’ve looked at a lot of shows and the common theme is that, you don’t listen. You’re so concerned with getting your points out, that you‘re not listening which hurts the presentation. If the host ask you a question, answer the question. I see a lot of people ignore the host questions because you have your own agenda. Follow the direction of the host.

• Do – Slow down. When you are speeding through the presentation, a lot of the information gets lost because you’re trying to squeeze 30 minutes’ worth of information into a 10-minute presentation. Edit your demos, features and benefits to fit the time that you have.

• Do – Have fun and smile. Give her a reason to watch.

————————————————————————————

• Don’t – Talk over the host. I want to make sure that we are all clear on this one. Do not, talk over the host. When you and the host are talking at the same time, it doesn’t sound good and information gets lost. Follow the host lead.

• Don’t – Try and hijack the show. You are the guest and that is your role. Please be respectful and follow the host lead.

• Don’t – Talk price, flex pay or shipping. This is the job of the host so stay in your lane. If you are receiving a directive to do any of the above from an another source, please let me know so I can address. If you decide to do any of the above, then you and I will be having a conversation. Non Negotiable

• Don’t – Call for shots, B-Roll or models. Again, this is the role of the host so let them do their job and lead the presentation.

• Don’t – Talk about specs or details about the product that hasn’t been approved. I’m hearing a lot about unapproved specs and other product information. Please stick to what is approved.

• Don’t – Make false claims. Again, this is a new direction and we need to build credibility. When you make false claims, it hurts the company, the brand and you as the talent.

• Don’t yell. Talk to her not at her. This is a huge problem because it takes focus off of the product and shifts the focus to you.

One beauty-goods vendor was so steamed here is how she responded:

Gordie,

We have not met but I must tell in the 25 years in business I never received nor even seen a note as condescending and disrespectful as this. We take our partnership with HSN very seriously and are always open to critique and input. Everyone on this distribution list works tirelessly to get right that said partnership works both ways and this note to all of us does not represent the professionalism I would expect from my partner. We can discuss further whether this style is the right fit for XXXX.

HSN President Mike Fitzharris tried to smooth things over with an e-mail apology to vendors last Friday.

Yesterday, you received an email that should never have been sent. I am reaching out to let you know that we’ve taken action. It is not reflective of who we are, or our relationship with you, and we apologize.

As you know from our conversations, we will be taking steps over the coming weeks and months to refine and hone our on-air presentations. But this is collaborative work among you, our valued guests and vendors, and our hosts, TV and merchandising teams. We’ve always seen our work together as a partnership to deliver the best information to our customers and give her the important facts she needs to make a buying decision. That will never change.

Of course, this is not the kind of message I would want to send in a mass e-mail, but I wanted to communicate with you as quickly as possible. Please know that the lines of communication are open and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give me a call.

Best, Mike

Yes, best indeedy.

QVC Sales Up 3 Percent, HSN Down 9 Percent in 1Q

May 13, 2018

The owner of QVC and HSN now has a new name, Qurate Retail Inc., and the company reported first-quarter earnings last week. The bottom line on the bottom line is that QVC was up, and HSN was down.

QVC saw its revenue rise 3 percent, to $1.417 billion from $1.37 billion year-over year.

Not so good at HSN, where revenue dove 9 percent, to $509 million from $562 million. Guess Mindy Grossman made her exit to Weight Watchers and Oprah Winfrey just in time.

“We are pleased to continue our positive revenue performance at QVC and zulily,” Qurate President and CEO Mike George said in a statement.

“QVC US revenue grew revenue for the third consecutive quarter and QVC International continued its track record of growth,” he said. “ In addition, QVC and zulily posted solid new customer acquisition in the quarter, and QVC continued to extend its reach to developing platforms like Roku and Facebook Live and grow customer engagement. While HSN and Cornerstone results remain challenged, we are confident in our ability to turn around both businesses.”

QVC US realized year-over-year sales gains in all categories, except jewelry and electronics in the quarter. Operating income margin expansion reflects lower amortization as a result of the roll-off of purchase accounting amortization from Qurate Retail’s acquisition of QVC.

Qurate adopted new accounting standards in the quarter, and as a result QVC US has classified about $26 million of revenue from its private-label credit card program in net revenue for the three months ended March 31. Excluding the impact of this accounting adjustment, QVC US revenue grew 2 percent in the first quarter.

Here the sad news on HSN from the 1Q press release:

Although HSN’s results are only included in Qurate Retail’s results beginning Jan. 1, 2018, we believe a discussion of HSN’s stand-alone results compared to the prior year period promotes a better understanding of the overall results of its business.

HSN has reclassified certain costs between line items to conform with Qurate Retail’s reporting for ease of comparability for the periods presented.

In the first quarter, HSN revenue declined in all categories, except beauty.
Average selling price declined primarily driven by a product mix shift away from electronics, which typically carry higher price points. Return rate improved due to a continued positive trend in several categories.

The decline in operating income margin is primarily due to purchase accounting amortization and transaction related costs. Adjusted OIBDA margin declined primarily due to higher inbound and outbound shipping costs and deleveraging of fixed costs due to the decrease in net revenue, offset by higher product margins, lower personnel expenses driven by integration-related synergies and lower bad debt expense.

As a result of Qurate Retail’s adoption of ASC 606 (new accounting standards), HSN has classified approximately $4 million of revenue from its private-label credit card program in net revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2018.
Excluding the impact of this accounting adjustment, HSN revenue declined 10% in the first quarter of 2018.

Evine Sets Up Outposts In LA, Big Apple

May 1, 2018

Lordy, Evine is expanding beyond the confines of frosty Minnesota, setting up studio and office space in Los Angeles and New York City.

The No. 3 home shopping network said Monday that it had leased a studio and business offices in the Wilshire-Beverly Hills area of LA, as well as a Manhattan office on 54th Street and Sixth Avenue.

Why? “To strengthen new businesses, brand partners, talent and industry awareness,” according to the press release.

In other words, celebs and other vendors don’t like hoofin’ it to the Midwest.

“Having a New York and Los Angeles presence changes the access and perception of the video commerce business,” said Tommy Hilfiger, the fashion designer and Evine investor and adviser, in a canned statement. “The world of online and video shopping has changed to the point where the consumer is shopping via social media, online and via video on all devices including TV, which is still 50 percent of the business. It is a very exciting time for the company.”

And listen here from Mark Locks, Evine executive vice president of product development.

“Los Angeles and New York both have a vibrant, made-in-the-USA business culture that gets stronger with each season,” he said. “The new office spaces will allow us to be more nimble and quickly leverage opportunities within the marketplace. It provides Celebrities who have brands and large social presences a location that is very easy to get to.”

In addition to the office spaces, Evine said it will debut a new studio in Los Angeles with programming beginning this summer.

“The digital retailer is well-known for bringing many parts of the world to life through remote broadcasts including the show, ‘Sweet Home Savannah’ shot within celebrity chef Paula Deen’s house located in Savannah, Georgia,” the press release said. “Most recently, Evine shot a four-day, live remote in Ireland to celebrate Waterford Crystal’s 11th anniversary, embarked on the Invicta and Friends cruise to the Bahamas and took its customers on a tour of the Waterford Crystal ball which drops on New Year’s Eve in New York City.”

As usual, CEO Bob Rosenblatt chimed in.

“Our strategic expansion into these opportunity-rich markets are part of our overall plan to drive innovation and differentiation within the business,” he said.

“We believe a more prominent footprint in these markets will bring major opportunities to our network with brands that are doing business in these cities and that having our studio in their backyard, will make it easier for them to appear on our shows,” said our bud, Evine Chief Marketing Officer Nicole Ostoya. “To support our brands, we are planning a talent search in the Los Angeles market that will kickoff June 13 through June 15.”