February 16, 2011, 3:56 PM

HSN goes beyond TV with new web site videos

With 14,000 product videos already, HSN.com wants to give online shoppers more information.

Lead Photo

Emery Skolfield speaking at IRWD 2011.

HSN repurposes more than 14,000 product video clips from its TV broadcasts for use on its e-commerce site, HSN.com. But Emery Skolfield, HSN.com’s director of digital content, said today that the shopping site is focused on creating lifestyle content just for the web and expects HSN.com to soon offer consumers a way to click and buy directly from video streams.

Skolfield spoke this morning at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference is a session titled “Integrating videos into your design.” Skolfield observed that HSN.com, No. 25 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, is in an enviable position when it comes to video and production expertise. “A huge asset for us is that we are constantly creating video on TV and have the infrastructure to dynamically feed it to our site,” he said.

Skolfield said HSN.com creates supplemental video for the site that adds more to the consumers’ experience with HSN’s brand. He said the videos filmed just for the site are meant to add value to consumers’ experience with the brand. For example, a consumer can see a blouse modeled on TV and then visit HSN.com’s Fashion Experience video area and view a video of a model showing the blouse as part of a full clothing ensemble. The video enables the consumer to see how the blouse fits and flows with the other modeled items, which also provides HSN.com an up-sell opportunity. Skolfield says he expects to soon enable shoppers to click and buy directly from videos.

HSN.com also uses its relationships with celebrities who appear on its TV selling shows, such as Mariah Carey and Sean Combs. HSN films extra footage with those celebrities and uses it to build brand pages and extra web content that helps provide a high-touch experience for consumers. “We use video to enable and cultivate what feels like a one-to-one connection for consumers with celebrities,” Skolfield says.

The extra content is important because consumers who shop across HSN’s channels want to see new information wherever they go. And these multichannel shoppers are significantly more valuable to the company than those that shop only one channel. Skolfield said a consumer who watches TV and then visits HSN.com to complete the transaction spends $1294 a year; a consumer who watches TV and then calls to complete a transaction is worth $855, and someone who only visits HSN.com spends on average $625. “If we can give them something that supplements their shopping experience, that’s what we want to do,” he says. “They can watch it on TV and then jump to the dot-com and explore something new and interesting immediately.”

He said that he’s surprised that more e-retailers aren’t adding video. “There’s an expectation among consumers today that e-retailers should have video. It’s remarkable how few e-retailers are working to adopt a video strategy,” he said. “For us, it’s imperative.”

He said that e-retailers deploying video for the first time should start small and see what generates returns. “Get some video on your site, play with what works and drop what doesn’t,” he said. “Let that mold your video strategy.”

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