HomeWorld Business debuted its As Seen On TV section five years ago with a banner headline boldly proclaiming, “Recession Busters.”
Indeed, a new generation of infomercial products— supported by steady media support, tested consumer demand and demonstrable value— were bright spots in an otherwise dreary retail scene.
The As Seen On TV business hasn’t looked back. HomeWorld’s As Seen On TV section is larger than ever (see page 15 of the April 28 issue), a testament to a category still counted on by some of the largest retailers to deliver year-round sales growth.
Yes, retailers have come to trust an As Seen On TV business model that once scored low on the trust factor.
Many TV product pitches still sell with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. But the As Seen On TV segment has shed its early snake oil reputation on the backs of a few steadfast companies that have refined the complexities of long-term DRTV-to-retail strategy for a business that still often thrives by stringing together short-term opportunities.
It takes a strong stomach to connect just one or two out of 10 times when testing new products. Leading As Seen On TV marketers can bank on that kind of batting average, however, because they’ve become pretty reliable at pre-loading the hits that make it retail for strong sales.
Buyer beware: The segment’s success continues to invite opportunists without track records of intensive media support and retail distribution management.
Today’s leading As Seen On TV companies deploy product development and marketing methods not so distant from traditional consumer product models. They have refined a formula for identifying unique items with strong TV potential and creating compelling infomercials and offers with the primary goal of driving retail sell-through.
And while a steady stream of new items at hot pricepoints remains the lifeblood of the As Seen On TV business, it is not uncommon now to see the most successful items anchor brands capable of crossing from As Seen On TV sections to in-line planograms.
The long-term retail success of the As Seen On TV segment requires committed vendors that bring continuity to the business— strategic players as adept at optimizing a customer’s productivity with surging products as they are accountable to remediate a customer when a product underperforms.
Retailers committed to a deep and wide As Seen On TV presence are seeing consistently big year-over-year gains from the segment. Those dabbling with a couple of items or staying away altogether are missing the category’s upside.
The category is no longer a sideshow to the mainstream retail business. As Seen On TV is now as mainstream as it gets.
It’s front and center, and it doesn’t need a recession to keep it there.
That, you can trust.