Homeshopping’s Future is Online: Lessons for Transitioning to Internet Retailing

September 2016

E-commerce continues to reinvent how people shop, a phenomenon that is putting pressure on many older business models. Homeshopping is a perfect reflection of this as the convenience of mail and entertainment of TV are continually co-opted by the internet. Many homeshopping companies are deftly transitioning to an internet-dominated future. This briefing will outline how they are transitioning and how to best go about it more generally.

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The most successful homeshopping companies are acting like e-commerce firms             

The internet age is already here. It is particularly early for mobile internet retailing, but trends move fast enough that moving too slowly will lead to failure given the rapidly evolving competition. A number of homeshopping companies are already aware of this and have successfully transitioned to omnichannel platforms, co-opting mobile connectivity to give shoppers a second screen for purchases.

A true transition means having a foot in the past and the future           

Moving forward too relentlessly is a good way to forget the customers that helped build the business in the first place. To evolve gracefully and mitigate loyalty changes, established customers must be considered as well. Their needs may not drive growth, but they support current cash flow, which can be just as important.

Homeshopping channel still effective tool           

Even though the internet will cause a great deal of final transactions to transfer from the homeshopping channel, the channel is still valuable in its own right, often as a generator of marketing, content, culture and brand awareness.

TV shopping maintains its allure as part of a multi-screen offer and a culture showcase  

TV is a lively medium. It acts as a window to the world and is a wonderful storytelling medium. More windows are opening with the widespread advent of mobile devices and intelligent TV shows are using them to their advantage. The ability to put attractive and personable people on TV and mobile devices alike lets retailers sell lifestyles and demonstrate products from multiple vantage points on one’s couch.

Catalogues still serve a purpose with specific subsets of customers         

Catalogue shopping may be the most in danger, but there remains a subset of people that still enjoy the feeling of a physical object. The physicality of catalogues imbues them with a realism that is lost behind screens, and therefore makes for compelling content marketing. It also harkens back to another age, something often preferred by the elderly, the rural, and those looking for new coffee table material. 


Why transition in the first place?
Key findings

What is Homeshopping?

Homeshopping comes in two forms: TV and c atalogue
TV shopping basics
C atalogue shopping basics

Transitioning Correctly With Established Customers

Moving forward well means first having solid footing
Generational dependence highlights long-term weakness
Prescription medicine keeps US homeshopping afloat
Sustaining previously built communities is still important
The great catalogue debate

Transitioning Correctly With New Customers

There are many ways to obtain new customers
For e-commerce adoption, homeshopping is ahead of the curve
Mobile devices now act as a second screen for couch commerce
Acquiring new customers by acquiring new companies
International e xpansion strategies vary due to difficulty
Otto pivots from a catalogue to an online third party marketplace
Four examples of homeshopping companies controlling a niche
Case study: South Korea sustains g rowth by b uilding c ulture
What makes South Korea special?
Lotte makes TV target, with the help of influencers

What An Ideal Transition Does Not Entail

Transitioning too slowly or in name only
Transitioning too abruptly
Forgetting that the future is inevitable everywhere


A transition means having a foot in the past and the future
Homeshopping is a valuable tool still, but not the only one


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