With all the talk about retailers trying to reinvent themselves the past couple of years, it might be easy to overlook one of the most successful merchandising transformations of the past decade— HSN.
It’s not Home Shopping Network anymore— officially and philosophically.
Since the arrival of former Nike and Polo chief Mindy Grossman in 2006, who became HSN’s CEO in 2008, HSN has morphed from an aging TV shopping purveyor to a refreshed, multimedia lifestyle merchant showcasing carefully curated selections of private and national brands.
Housewares has played a lead role in the renovation at HSN, spotlighted throughout the May 12, 2014, issue as HomeWorld’s 2014 Retail Champion.
Although the core HSN business dipped during the recent quarter, the company in recent seasons has posted steady sales and earning progress, with a tailwind from fast-growing online sales driven by upgraded TV merchandising.
The transformation at HSN has been about more than short-term sales and earnings improvement. It also has been about establishing a sturdier organization and point of view for long-term growth.
What isn’t evident on the balance sheet is the pride that runs through the HSN organization— a unifying spirit for which Grossman is routinely credited— in its effort to differentiate HSN’s product and programming presentation.
The hard-sell DNA of the pioneering TV shopping network lingers, but it’s been refined by a more progressive approach to putting viewers on an informative, entertaining path to great values for unique, fashionable and innovative solutions.
It’s about how the story affirms the sale. It’s about making sure the thrill of the deal doesn’t rub off when the product arrives at home. It’s about the total experience.
It’s why HSN merchants seek partnerships with vendors and brands that share the commitment to demonstrating compelling stories. The opportunity to launch products from established brands doesn’t compromise HSN’s pursuit of upstart players that can gain visibility from HSN’s multimedia platform while giving HSN a protected stake in their development.
Through it all, HSN — unlike one well-chronicled, recent retail transformation project that failed— hasn’t abandoned its traditional customer while restaging its merchandising identity to attract new shoppers vital to the company’s future.
HSN management is determined to refute business pundits that proclaim the demise of shopping as sport. The HSN team is focused on consistently producing proof that shopping can and should be entertaining.
Reinventing a retail business often succeeds when a proud organization translates to a proud customer. At HSN, successful sales are validated when customers brag about getting great products at great values, and even more so when they boast about buying them from HSN.
Indeed, it’s not Home Shopping Network anymore.