Archive for the ‘Gucci’ Category

For The Record, QVC, HSN And ShopNBC Aren’t Funding Us: We’re Proud To Say We’re Not Getting A Dime To Write This (Mmmm, Time For A Business Manager)

February 22, 2010

We've commented on HSN CEO Mindy Grossman's cleavage, and you think she's paying us?

We’ve had a number of people, those who’ve had the integrity to ask us right to our face, if we are getting paid to write this blog. We guess the assumption on the part of some, obviously those that don’t know us very well, is that one of the home shopping networks is paying us to write this blog.

Let’s clear the air. Remember that old chestnut to the effect of when you make an assumption you make an ass of yourself. That applies here, folks. Anyone who thinks we’re getting a single dime from QVC, HSN or ShopNBC esta loco, and estupido.

We guess we shouldn’t be bragging about this — since it’s not helping our bank account — but we are not selling ads, offering product placement or in any way, shape or form or getting compensation from anyone to write this blog.

Then why do it, some people ask us, in disbelief. Well, we are looking for a full-time job, and we consider this our living resume and writing sample. It you’re an employer and you don’t like our style, or think the billion-dollar home shopping industry is frivolous, or don’t like snarky commentary, we guess that we are not the right fit for you.

But if you are looking for a reporter/writer who can cover a beat (home shopping); come up with stories and post items on a daily basis; and uniquely combine writing about pop culture, celebrities, news, finance and the inside-gossip of QVC and HSN, then we’re on.

But home shopping, people ask? We’ve said this several times, but we’ll repeat it for newbies to this blog: We love jewelry and gemology, have since we were a kid, and QVC and HSN are the biggest jewelry retailers in the country. We don’t give a crap if Gawker or The Wall Street Journal make fun of the networks.

Yes, we own lucious jewelry from luxury brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Roberto Coin, but we’ve gotten gorgeous things at the three electronic retailers, as well.

The fact that high-end names like Robert Lee Morris, Bobbi Brown, Judith Ripka, Gucci, Godiva, Tag Heuer, Ann King, Barbara Bixby, Stephen Dweck, Badgley Mischka, Dennis Basso and Naeem Khan are selling on QVC, HSN and ShopNBC now makes the case for the networks far more eloquently than we can.

We’ve dinged all three home shopping channels, as well, numerous times. We’ve written about HSN CEO Mindy Grossman’s cleavage, how QVC hired an alleged embezzler who now stands charged with robbing it, and taken ShopNBC to task letting veteran host Charla Rines go. We’ve made fun of QVC and HSN’s PR departments.

Immature? Perhaps. Have some our blogs been silly? Yes. Are we having fun writing them? You betcha.

We like to think we’re doing for home shopping what Joe Flint at the LA Times does for media in “Company Town.”

And so these home shopping channels that we’ve poked fun at — while also covering them as a business reporter would follow any beat — are the same guys you suspect are paying us to write Homeshoppingista? Wrong.

ShopNBC’s Web Site Racks Up Most-Traffic-Ever For A Day On Cyber Monday

December 2, 2009

ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart

ShopNBC’s strategic focus on the Internet during the kick-off of the holiday shopping season apparently worked, with the network’s Web site seeing its highest traffic ever for a day on Cyber Monday, the company said Wednesday.

On Cyber Monday ShopNBC.com registered its highest traffic day year-to-date, with 114,600 unique visitors to the site.

In addition to surpassing 2008’s Cyber Monday traffic by 14 percent, Web penetration accounted for an industry-leading 48 percent of the total company sales.

The increase in traffic to the site, along with its extended product assortment and promotional offerings, led to an 18 percent
increase in sales versus last year’s same period. Total orders on ShopNBC.com increased 40 percent over the previous year.

ShopNBC’s expanded Internet merchandising initiatives and targeted Web promotions on Cyber Monday resulted in a strong response from new and active customers across several key metrics, according to the network. These positive results provided a strong finish to a successful Black Friday and an extended Holiday Shopping Weekend sales event for ShopNBC.

On Black Friday ShopNBC.com achieved a 51 percent increase in conversion over last year’s Black Friday event, with an increase of 20 percent in Internet sales for the company over the same period last year.

By introducing over 400 new online-only SKUs from TAG Heuer and Gucci watches, brand-name electronics, home decor and more, the company increased its total orders on ShopNBC.com by 73 percent over the previous year.

Cyber Monday was the finale to ShopNBC’s Holiday Shopping Weekend, which extended the traditional Black Friday into a four day gift-focused promotional event. The company bookended the two sales events with an entire weekend of gift-giving-focused programming.

ShopNBC also credited its ValueShipping initiative, which offers the customer one-low-rate shipping for all purchases made within a 24-hour period, for helping to drive its success Black Friday weekend.

“During the kick-off to the holiday shopping season, we took this opportunity to strategically direct the customer to our Internet channel,” ShopNBC president and CEO Keith Stewart said in a prepared statement. “As a result, the customer reacted very positively, and ShopNBC.com delivered its most impressive gains across the board since the beginning of my tenure as CEO.”

Added Stewart: “Our targeted yet integrated multimedia promotional activity and extended web product assortment, complemented by ValueShipping and a Jan. 31 extended return policy, enticed the customer to tune in, browse and shop our brand with total confidence. It’s all about connecting emotionally with the customer and making their holiday shopping experience easy and entertaining through a gift-focused strategy. We look forward to continuing to delight the customer as they discover many more new and wonderful opportunities on ShopNBC throughout the holiday season.”

ShopNBC.com new and active customer counts in November were up 60 percent and 54 percent, respectively, largely driven by the holiday shopping weekend event, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Internet sales in November were up 31 percent versus last year, with dot-com customer activity outpacing TV customer growth for the first time in the company’s history.

“We are pleased with these positive results, as the Internet continues to prove to be a highly complementary and powerful growth vehicle for the company,” Stewart said.

ShopNBC Adds Hipster Ed Hardy Watches To Its Lineup

November 29, 2009

ShopNBC, which wants to be home shopping’s premier destination for watches, on Monday will be selling timepieces from the hipster/edgy Ed Hardy.

The selection of watches from the clothing-design line will be on at 2 a.m. Monday morning. We especially liked a “Heart Krush” Quartz women’s watch, with its heart-shaped face, at $150.

There is also a fun men’s “Gladiator” watch, with the Ed Hardy signature graphic art on its face, for $116.

ShopNBC also has a stock of upscale watches it’s selling, including Gucci, Tag Heuer and Movado.

QVC, HSN and ShopNBC Should Give Thanks For Home Shopping’s Sea Change: They’ve Attracted Luxury Brands Like Gucci, Badgley Mischka And Stephen Dweck

November 26, 2009

QVC CEO Mike George

We thought we were seeing things a few days ago when we checked ShopNBC’s Web site and saw that it was selling dozens of Gucci watches. What happened, did they fall off a truck? Why was Gucci, a premier luxury brand, being sold on a home shopping network?

Then back in October, we couldn’t believe it when a sharp-eyed poster on QVC’s jewelry forum said that upscale jewelry designer Stephen Dweck, whose chunky gemstone masterpieces are featured in Neiman Marcus, was on the No. 1 home shopping network’s schedule. THE Stephen Dweck?

We checked QVC’s program guide ourselves, and there it was: Dweck was doing a lower-priced jewelry line for QVC called Dweck’s Diamonds. His Neiman Marcus pieces didn’t even have diamonds. The high-end stuff is made with semi-precious stones.

Also in October, we were checking the press releases on HSN’s Web site when we saw the network had struck a deal with one of the most famous and elite fashion houses: Badgley Mischka, designers of bejeweled gowns for the red carpet and celebrities.

We’ve written bits and pieces of this during the past two months, but we thought we’d tie it all up in a tidy package for Thanksgiving: There has been a sea change in the home shopping world, prompted by the disastrous economy and the crash of the luxury market.

Yes, home shopping networks have seen their sales hurt by the economy, like everyone else. But they claim they are still managing to steal market share from brick-and-mortar retailers. In fact, QVC is making a full-frontal assault on them this Black Friday, with 28 hours of special products and programming stunts starting Thanksgiving night.

The consumer press will continue to mention “cubic zirconia” in every story it writes about QVC or HSN, oblivious to the fact that some of the most esteemed names in fashion, jewelry and cosmetics — brands you find in Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus — are plying their wares on the aforementioned home shopping channels.

ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart

Male journalists are blind to this. You still have the nerds at Gawker, a snide Web Site for the navel-gazing media, chiding HSN for selling “useless crap.”

If you have ever seen how male journalists dress or their fashion and style sensibilities, you will realize that you can’t expect them to know names like Badgley Mischka, Judith Ripka, Robert Lee Morris, our fellow Montclair, N.J., resident Bobbi Brown, Yves Saint Laurent, Smashbox, Lancome and Dweck. And these brands and artists don’t represent “useless crap.”

Luxury-good makers are hurting, and they need to make up their loss in sales. So they are turning to outlets like QVC, as CEO Mike George explained at a recent Liberty Media conference, as outlets to distribute new lower-priced lines to the masses. George cited fashion designer Vivienne Tam’s QVC alliance at the meeting held in Manhattan by his parent company, Liberty.

“This complete implosion of luxury retailing in America has caused all these folks to rethink their business model,” George said.

And that means partnering with QVC, HSN or ShopNBC.

As we said, it will take the consumer press years to figure out that home shopping channels are distribution powerhouses that have undergone a transformation, in part because of the infllux of talent like a Morris, who does couture jewelry for designers like Donna Karan and RLM Studio sterling silver jewelry for QVC.

The Big Three — QVC, HSN and ShopNBC — are aggressively trying to broaden their audience and potential customer base, those who don’t normally watch any of these three networks. That means the three are actually “programming” the channels, doing “shows” that have entertainment value, not just product shilling, so they will attract non-QVC or non-HSN watchers.

We remember once interviewing a QVC exec years ago and asking what the network’s ratings were. He said ratings were irrelevant: QVC was only concerned about how many products were sold in an hour.

HSN CEO Mindy Grossman

That’s a totally different tune from what we heard recently from QVC’s George, and from the strategies that HSN CEO Mindy Grossman and ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart have initiated.

Like traditional TV networks, the home shopping players want viewers to “sample” a QVC or an HSN. These new audience members, hopefully, will then see products that they want to buy.

For example, singer Natalie Cole recently did a live concert on HSN to promote a new Holiday CD set she is selling on the channel. If you’re a fan, you might tune in to HSN to see her, and then actually decide to purchase her CD. Artists such
as Jose Feliciano have also performed live on QVC.

QVC alum Stewart on a recent third-quarter conference call pointed out that actress-entrepreneur Suzanne Somers, who came to ShopNBC from HSN, had succeeded in attracting new viewers to Minneapolis-based ShopNBC because she was “entertaining.” And these networks want new eyeballs.

And home shopping networks’ capacity to reach millions of consumers and do fulfillment of orders has not been lost on magazine publishers, celebrities or cable’s reality TV stars. With circulation falling, women’s magazines such as Lucky, Allure, Glamour and Self are partnering with HSN to sell subscriptions.

And stars have seen the light. In a recent interview in Oprah Winfey’s O magazine, Joan Rivers, who’s had a jewelry line on QVC for almost 20 years, told O she was on home shopping when “nobody except dead celebrities was doing merchandise on TV.”

Nowadays, it’s hard to find a celebrity or TV star who doesn’t have a home shopping line. Even Madonna was interviewed on HSN when she was selling her children’s book.

Here’s a partial list:

Paula Abdul, HSN, formerly “American Idol,” Fox

Rachel Zoe, QVC, “The Rachel Zoe Project,” Bravo

Isaac Mizrahi, QVC, “The Fashion Show,” Bravo

Padma Lakshmi, HSN, “Top Chef,” Bravo

Ramona Singer, HSN, “The Real Housewives of New York City,” Bravo

Susan Lucci, HSN, “All My Children,” ABC

Carson Kressley, QVC, “How to Look Good Naked,” Lifetime Television

Dr. Robert Rey, ShopNBC, “Dr. 90210,” E! Entertainment Television

Tori Spelling, HSN, “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood,” Oxygen

Paula Deen, QVC, Food Network

Rachael Ray, QVC, “The Rachael Ray Show,” syndication

Ingrid Hoffmann, HSN, Food Network and Univision

Home shopping is a big business. ShopNBC is the also-ran in the group, but in the third quarter Stewart made some nice progress cutting its losses. Sales for the Big Three were all down, but down less than previous quarters.

And we are not talking chump change for these networks. The three home shopping channels generated $8.3 billion in net revenue in 2008. QVC domestic posted $4.9 billion, HSN netted $2.8 billion and ShopNBC had $568 million.

Even with revenue still slipping this year, for the first nine months QVC had revenue of $3.308 billion; HSN had net sales of $1.4 billion; and ShopNBC had $372.6 million in net sales.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Get Your Gucci Watches At ShopNBC

November 21, 2009

Talk about high end. ShopNBC, which sees itself as the place for premium watches, is now selling a wide selection of Gucci watches.

The No. 3 home shopping channel has about 50 men’s and women’s Gucci watches on its Web site, as well as several Gucci perfumes.

The watches range in price from $460, for one with a rubber strap, to $1,330, for a stainless steel number with diamonds and a mother of pearl face.

Our favorite is the twill fabric bracelet watch, which has the trademark Gucci logo all over it. That watch is $540. Just in case you’re looking for a Christmas gift for us.

During ShopNBC’s third-quarter call last week, CEO Keith Stewart said that the network has positioned itself as “the definitive destination for watches,” with watch sales up 66 percent in the¬†quarter.