June 29, 2011, 4:37 PM

Video games drive traffic and sales for HSN

Two games tie in directly with HSN’s TV shopping network.

Lead Photo

One of the games offered by the web and TV retailer.

The game arcade launched June 1 by TV and web retailer HSN is generating both traffic and sales. Two of the 25 games have direct tie-ins to products sold on the HSN TV network.

The HSN Arcade features video games such as Sudoku, Mahjongg, solitaire and crossword puzzles. In addition, HSN created two games that tie in to products featured on the TV network. For example, “Today’s Special Puzzle” is a jigsaw puzzle that reveals the image of a featured item that HSN will sell for 24 hours. A new puzzle is posted online every night at midnight, when the day’s item first appears on the air. The consumers who complete the puzzle most quickly receive prizes, including gift cards or the item itself.

“The beauty of those two games is that we’ve already seen our sales directly related to those games penetrate better in terms of our e-commerce sales from the arcade,” said Jill Braff, executive vice president of digital commerce at HSN, at investment bank Goldman Sachs’ Second Annual Dot Commerce Day last week. “On our first day, we saw 5% of our overall site traffic and 6% of our sales emanate from the arcade.”

The retailer says it plans to add more games with tie-ins to the TV network.

Consumers can watch HSN live, including seeing the special deal of the day and the last 15 items aired, simultaneously while playing the game, Braff told analysts. The game takes up about two-thirds of the TV screen.

“We’re seeing our engagement increase, our bounce rate decline and we’ve had over a million game plays in just two weeks,” she said.

HSN, No. 26 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, also is trying to engage shoppers through personalizing the mobile experience, Braff said.

“Not only are we on every mobile platform, we also focus as much time on our mobile site as we do on our mobile app,” she said. “If the shopper types in HSN.com on her mobile device, her expectation is she’s going to find what she’s looking for and that’s what we deliver to her.”

To accomplish that, HSN built a shopping cart that recognizes an individual consumer across the retailer’s mobile and web sites and apps. “You can start on the web site, add something to your cart, jump into your car to do an errand and check out wherever you may be,” Braff said.

HSN also enables shoppers to personalize the type of videos and other content they view on its iPad app.

“We let you customize the channel and then we push a playlist of new content down to you through those channels,” Braff said. “You literally can create your own experience. Whether you’re into culinary or jewelry or how to power wash a deck, we’ll be pushing new information down to you in the categories that are most relevant to you.”

HSN has more than 14,000 how-to videos on its web site and 80,000 videos on YouTube.

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