Home Shopping Can Open Purses for Entrepreneurs

One marketing strategy is to consider introducing your product on a television-shopping channel, which gives entrepreneurs like you an opportunity to sell to a nationwide audience. About 80% of these shoppers are female-a primary target for your kitchen product. The Direct Marketing Association reports that shopping channels generated $5 billion in sales in 1996 and projects a growth rate of 10% per year.

Live shopping shows are a sales outlet that never closes, allowing customers to shop at any hour and purchase via telephone or computer. Shopping networks accept new products that have never sold before-if you can prove that your product will sell. It is critical to research your market carefully to determine that potential customers nationwide want your product and will buy it at a specified price. You must be able to convince the network that your product will sell, as they take a risk by purchasing your product and investing time and money producing your sales spot.

 

Remember to check out the competition. You may find that someone else tried unsuccessfully to sell a product similar to yours via electronic retailing/home shopping malls.

 

The trick is getting your product accepted by a live shopping show. Highly demonstrable products, which make one’s life easier and have mass appeal, are more likely to be selected, especially if you can show a dramatic before-and-after affect.

 

Television shopping malls select products based on quality, uniqueness, appeal, currency, and demonstration capabilities. Most have in-house quality-assurance programs that inspect each product and representative samples from each shipment. Since they provide a 30-day unconditional return policy, these malls must be certain that you manufacture only top-quality products.

 

If they are interested in your product, you will begin to negotiate sales terms on each order, including quantities, shipping or pickup dates, payment and credit terms, return policies, and so forth. The level of risk associated with your business and product along with your operating history, size, and other factors all come into play in how terms are negotiated.

 

Once your product is accepted, you must be ready to do business and have large quantities available for the network’s warehouse. Most complete orders ship within 24 hours of purchase, so the merchandise must be in the retailer’s warehouse and ready to ship immediately. Also, you must have enough capital to sell to the television network channel and wait for payment. There may be a significant delay after the time you sell your product until you are paid.

 

Networks bear the expense of preparing the spot for your product. Designers create attractive and eye-catching sets from which merchandise is displayed on the air. Program hosts give demonstrations. Spots typically run from 6 to 10 minutes.

 

One of the largest leading round the-clock television shopping channels is QVC. Call 888-NEW-ITEM and ask for a vendor kit to learn how to submit your product for consideration.

 

Another leading television shopping channel is Home Shopping Network. Its vendor kits contain prequalifying questions regarding what your product does, unique features and benefits, price, market-penetrating strategies, and why the network should purchase your product. For information and to receive a vendor kit, call 800-436-1010.

 

Television shopping networks are constantly looking for new and innovative products to sell. Product categories generally include electronics, cookware, jewelry, sports and exercise equipment, apparel, health and beauty products, books, videos, and music. Ask each about its vendor fairs and trade shows.

 

According to Leisure Trends Group Gallup Direct Television Study, 35% of viewers of live shopping shows purchase a product using a toll-free number, while 30% purchase a product seen on a live shopping show later at retail or through a catalog. These buyers are the most price sensitive of electronic retailing, with 17% saying they purchased because of a good price or a good deal, or because they liked the product.

 

Television shopping channels provide entrepreneurs who’d like to market their new products-immediately and on a limited budget- with an excellent opportunity to sell nationally. For a cohesive marketing strategy, it is important to use direct retailing in conjunction with other marketing efforts.

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