So The New Zealand Shopping Channel launched on 1 October 2012 on Channel 18 on Sky and Freeview and I’ll be honest, sad as it might sound I was quite excited.
However, we are now seven weeks in and I think it’s about time I gave them a review. Before I do I want to touch on the fact that I work in high-end retail, I have also studied retail and I have been a customer and viewer of several UK and other international shopping channels on and off since I was nine years old. So in my mind I have a pretty good understanding of what makes a good viewing and retail experience.
First off well done on getting this far, watching the channel they have done well with the studio and the setup, plus I have to congratulate them on their choice of some presenters. Below I have my recommendations about what could make the channel better.
Time spent on items: I think this one stands out the most, currently in my mind it’s too long making it boring. By shortening it down to a maximum of 7 to 10 minutes an item makes the pace of the show much more interesting meaning you view it for longer.
Drama: TV shopping in my mind needs to be dramatic, funny and social – like unscripted stage show – starting off with the presenters you need to match the two personalities perfectly and yes I believe two presenters having conversations with each other talking about the products and demonstrating them makes for better sales than one presenter doing a piece to camera talking about it. As well as the presenters chatting about the products, putting callers to air who have the product or just want to say how great it is that they’ve just ordered one is another way of interacting with viewers and making it more interesting for others. Remember people who watch shopping channels don’t generally want to buy things it’s an impulsive medium.
Choice of items: Shopping channels need to be run like a Department Stores and offer everything you could possibly think of, this comes down to having a great buying and planning team, yes there is room to have other companies selling their items and products through your shopping Channel but this should be limited otherwise it seems like one long infomercial and shopping channels should NOT be like infomercials!
Seasonal: It might be November but Christmas is just around the corner – whether you like it or not – and by now in my mind you should have Christmas decorations in the studio, Christmas graphics on the website and differently a Christmas decoration hour selling everything you need for a wonderful Christmas. Come on guys retail 101!
A screen capture of The shopping Channel’s website 13/11/12
A screen capture of UK shopping Channel QVC’s website 13/11/12
And just to show that other retailers have gone seasonal, A screen capture of The Warehouse’s website 13/11/12
Oh and talking about websites having live streaming is great, having it start automatically on the home page of the website not so great.
Selling out: Now you may think selling out of a product or ‘getting limited’ would be a bad thing but this adds drama. Say you have one item in three colours, we will use Soda stream machines for this argument; red, white and blue whilst demonstrating the item five minutes or so into it having the presenter saying that the red one is ‘getting limited’ or low on stock and the phone lines are very busy will get people to act. Obviously you could either lie or by buying less of that item will also help.
Easy payments: Offering easy payments is a great way of selling items, however you may have to own the stock.
Value for money: People in this country are not stupid, product needs to be the same price as what it would be in stores or less would be best, friends and family who are in, and even not in the target audience have mentioned that some things are priced too high and therefore will purchase them elsewhere. In my mind special prices are a good way, say for items that are being featured for the first time.
All up they have done well, I think it could be done differently and slightly better, but based on our population and the fact that we’re in an economic down time which makes it even harder, I hope they look carefully at their strategy going forward and taken in some of the things that I mentioned above and I wish CEO Alistair Duff and the staff all the best.