With a critical mass of online retailers in its customer base, GSI Commerce Inc. is getting ready to leverage its online merchandising expertise across the retailers it serves. King of Prussia, PA-based GSI Commerce, formerly known as Global Sports, recently created a joint venture, Global-QVC, with home shopping channel QVC to develop web sites with e-retailing capabilities for PAX TV, TV Land, Comedy Central and The Golf Channel. The 3-year-old company already provides e-commerce services to 21 sporting goods retailers. Last year, it bought Ashford.com for entree into the luxury goods market.
A prime example of how GSI will use its merchandising expertise across markets comes from a recent promotion of the Roots Olympic Beret that it had available on its sporting goods sites. GSI featured the beret in a direct response spot for PAX TV, a national family-friendly network. "This item fit perfectly in marketing to families even though it was not applicable to the programming of the network,” says Bob Liewald, executive vice president of merchandising at GSI Commerce. "We bring three years of experience in merchandising online to consumers as well as the ability to take a hot item from one of our other sites and bring it into the product offering on one of the network`s sites if it is appropriate."
The new agreements with TV channels increases the complexity of merchandising, Liewald says. "The biggest challenge in merchandising for the networks is figuring out, from the vast number of shows each network has, what the merchandising assortment for each show should be," he says. "Broken down even further, we have to determine which items of which characters could be best sellers and get inventory accordingly. The networks have such a vast offering of programs that we want to be sure to offer items for the most popular programs."