“Binge-watching” may have only recently crept into the pop culture vernacular, but fans of television shopping channels like QVC and HSN have been “binging” since their inception in the ’80s—and comfort footwear brands, like Spring Footwear (makers of Spring Step), are often the beneficiary of air time dedicated to the details, craftsmanship and styles they offer.
“It’s a dinosaur that’s still roaming,” Steven Greenstein, Spring Footwear director of sales, said of the distribution channel, noting that “home shopping networks” are evolving into television and online conglomerates.
The networks have historically hit an older demographic, but Greenstein said there is a “huge business” to be had online, which appeals to a younger customer. “It crosses over and on QVC.com there are even videos of the segments on the site,” he explained. “You don’t even have to turn on the TV anymore.”
In 2014, QVC sales generated $8.8 billion in annual revenues, compared to $8.6 billion in 2013. E-commerce contributed $3.5 billion to sales. The company was ranked sixth on the Internet Retailer 2014 Top 500 Guide, which outlines the heavy hitters in online retailing. Likewise, in 2014 HSN saw its e-commerce sales increase 14 percent to $975.58 million from $855.44 million in 2013. It had its biggest digital sales day on Black Friday 2014.
For four years, Spring Footwear has been selling shoes on QVC, after changing over from HSN. As Greenstein noted, “The networks like for you to be exclusive. They pride themselves in offering different brands from the other.” Greenstein said Spring Footwear’s business with QVC is rapidly growing. “We have incredible sell through. It never ceases to amazes me, it never fails. They will sell hundreds to thousands of pairs in a five-minute segment.”
In particular, Greenstein said QVC has grown fond of Spring Step’s L`Artiste collection, a line of hand painted women’s footwear designed in France. “They love it because it is different than anything else in the comfort market place. There’s lots of unique attributes to talk about,” he said.
That ability to talk in-depth about details while holding viewers’ attention is a lost art, Greenstein noted, especially in a 140-character world. Plus, if the host loves a product, viewers will love it, too. “The hosts on QVC make it effortless. They really like to establish a love for each brand and the people at home get to know the brand,” he explained.
For those reasons, Greenstein said selling on home shopping networks doesn’t take away from other distribution channels. While QVC tends to offer the entire color range, compared to brick and mortars that may sell one or two options, Greenstein said the company does not give QVC exclusives and they maintain the same pricing across all types of retailers. “It actually helps other retailers because [shoppers] really learn about the product. They see it stores and are reminded about what they saw on TV.”