QVC Goes Toe to Toe with Amazon

QVC goes toe to toe with AmazonThese days, nobody seems to want to mess with Amazon. Well, maybe not “nobody.” It seems TV retailer QVC is setting itself up to go toe-to-toe with the online juggernaut. At least, this is the market speculation after QVC took the drastic step of absorbing its arch-rival HSN recently. The $2.1 billion investment gives QVC a much larger footprint and many more resources to fight back against the skyrocketing consumer appetite for online shopping.

And, while QVC does offer customers that “convenient” TV shopping experience, they have also invested heavily in online sales in recent years. In fact, when looking at the combined numbers for both QVC and the, now former, HSN, the companies racked up about $6 billion in online sales last year, accounting for about 49 percent of their combined revenue. The merger instantly makes QVC the third largest online retailer in North America, behind – you guessed it – Amazon and Walmart. This puts the company in the unique position of playing spoiler as the ultimate big box and the online giant battle it out, day to day.

That’s not to say there’s a clear idea of what will happen going forward. Scuttlebutt on this has QVC and HSN remaining different brands, and also the main shareholder, Liberty Interactive, breaking the cable business off into its own brand, called QVC Group. There’s also the potential reality of diminishing returns. Sure, QVC gains a lot in this deal, but they also have to deal with HSN’s recent history of slipping sales numbers, as well as some of HSN’s recent brand acquisitions that haven’t really delivered as yet. Of course, there is one potential issue that many mergers or buyouts face that QVC won’t have to: namely, what to do about HSN’s CEO. Because they don’t have one. HSN has operated without a CEO since this past spring when Mindy Gross split to take over Weight Watchers International.

And there are other positives to this deal. Since QVC will no longer have to compete with HSN, either for air time, customers or products, their direct costs of doing business will go down, in some areas rather substantially. Yes, they will still have to market, but they won’t have to worry about a mirror competitor stealing that market. As to what this will mean for consumers, specifically for consumers who are accustomed to buying through the TV, the jury’s still out.

Will QVC continue to push television sales, or will they slowly inch the percentage of their online business higher, anticipating a primarily online retail environment in the future?

About Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations. He is an experienced leader in the public relations industry with over 20 years of experience. Ronn Torossian has been named as Public Relations executive of the year by the American Business Awards, and has run countless award-winning Public Relations programs.

Ronn Torossian CEO

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and Chairman of 5WPR, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company’s growth, overseeing more than 275 professionals. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine’s Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations,” which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

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