Getting Your Product on TV Shopping Networks
QVC and other TV shopping networks offer an amazing way to distribute and promote your product. Getting on QVC or any TV shopping network is the vision of most entrepreneurs with a product to sell and why not? You can sell millions worth of product. But, selling on popular TV shopping networks requires a lot of preparation, money and time. If you have a successful product that you believe in, then it’s worth it.
TV shopping networks have exploded onto the retail scene, QVC being one of the largest, generating over $4 billion in sales a year. It offers millions of viewers an array of products without ever having to leave their homes. QVC has more than 98 million U.S. households and roughly 195 million households worldwide. QVC handles over 150 million phone calls a year from customers.
Its target sales rate is in the range of $6,000 per minute. If you receive a 15 minute segment that adds up to $90,000 for 15 minutes. If your product is a success, you will be invited back for another show with longer segments. There are many entrepreneurs that have launched their product on QVC and generating $1,000,000 in sales in the first year.
QVC has helped many new businesses and entrepreneurs. They are always on the look out for new products. They look for something new and innovative versus products they are already selling. QVC has more than 10,000 applicants each year, and recruits vendors from craft fairs and trade shows as well. Only about 500 new vendors are introduced on-air each year.
Although QVC is looking for new innovative products, many products do not match their criteria. So before jumping into the application process for submitting your product, do your research and make sure it’s a good match and your product qualifies. Remember, “The product is the star of the show”.
Questions for your product
Buyers will apply the below questions to your product. Each one is important. If your product is original and unique, and applies to all of the below questions positively, then your off to a great start.
• Does it demonstrate well?
• Does it have a unique feature and benefits?
• Does it appeal to a mass audience?
• Does it solve a problem or make life easier?
• Is it topical or timely?
Watch a few QVC shows
It’s also a good idea to watch several shows and see the type of products offered. Get to know their current products and vendors. That will also give you an idea of their target audience and your potential customers. If you discover there are many products similar to yours, it may be harder to get your product on the program due to over saturation. Pay attention to how the host demonstrates the products. This will help you with your demonstration. When you meet with QVC buyers and show your product, the better you demonstrate the better chances your product will get accepted. Knowing your audience's tastes is very important as well.
Ready to submit
On the QVC website you will find information on making an appointment with a QVC buyer to present your product. You also can fill out the application for product submission online as well. You will need to send in digital photos of your product and answer questions regarding manufacturing and the price point. They are looking for vendors who already have a product, not ideas, sketches or prototypes.
When you are contacted and given an appointment to present your product, you won’t be alone. You will be with many other vendors like yourself. Several buyers review hundreds of products at the same time in a large room.
Another important step for applicants is the buyers will look at the capability to produce the product in mass quantities. If they have over 80 million viewers they don’t want a product that the vendor can only provide 50 units. Shopping networks also want to see a personality and a story to go along with the product. If accepted, you most likely will present your product yourself. They like compelling TV, good storylines to go with the product. You'll want to have variations or options in your product line that you can discuss. Definitely, don't be shy. You need to talk enthusiastically about your product at all times to the buyers and on-air, remember you are selling.
Once your product is accepted
If your product is accepted you should understand that you will assume some risk if your product is accepted. Because QVC has large distribution needs. You must have enough inventory in stock to satisfy a large number of potential buyers. This inventory needs to be in the QVC’s shipping where house prior to the product airing on TV. The product must also be boxed ready for shipping to customers, meaning QVC only has to put a label on the box and ship it. Keep this in mind because this can be a significant upfront investment. Don’t panic, QVC will have an estimate on how many units they think will sell, they will tell you the quantity they need upfront. Never manufacture large quantities of your product before getting approval from the network.
A few other important things you should know when accepted:
• Your products must pass QVC’s Quality Assurance test/class- The Quality Assurance class is taken by the person who handles the logistical matters for your brand. Because QVC is customer oriented they have strict guidelines to follow.
• The person you have chosen to be the spokesperson on air, representing your brand, will take a Guest Excellence class-. You will do a mock, pre-tend “sell” with a host during your class and are given a DVD to study. The Guest Excellence class must be passed if you want to go on air.
• You may be asked for product testing to be done
• Your on-air claims need to be vetted.
• You’ll have to select models, if needed.
• If you are from out of town, you need to provide your own transportation and accommodations.
You will only be paid when QVC sells your product. You won’t be paid immediately; they will wait for any product returns before you get paid. If you provide QVC with 4,000 units and you only sell a total of 3,000. You will only be paid for 3,000 units and you could receive the remaining units back if they are un-sellable. If you have a product that isn’t selling and customers are not interested, you could get back a large amount of inventory. Also, you will pay for the shipping of the inventory to QVC and back to you if necessary. On the bright side, if you sell out, QVC will re-order and invite you back for more shows.
Many vendors don’t mind the upfront investment because of the huge potential in return. Basically, TV shopping networks give you the platform, distribution and audience to show your product and you manufacture the product and pay for all costs.