HSN debuts a gift guide for tablet shoppers

2012 mobile sales for the TV retailer surpassed $100 million in the third quarter.

Bill Siwicki

Coming on the heels of recently launched refreshes of its mobile commerce site, smartphone apps and iPad app, HSN Inc. is playing to its rapidly increasing number of tablet shoppers this holiday season by offering a gift guide specially optimized for tablet devices.

Tablet shoppers on HSN.com touch the Gift Store box on the top of the page to enter the gift guide. A tutorial screen appears above the gift guide home page. On the screen are instructions such as “Tap a Hot Spot to Learn More” and “Swipe Up for the Next Store.” Swiping to a storefront, a consumer then can touch Personal Shopper to answer a three-question quiz designed to narrow the assortment of gift ideas presented. Questions focus on types of products, style, price and other factors. After answering the quiz, the gift guide presents a sliding bar of product suggestions at the bottom of the screen with individual products highlighted above with large imagery.

“With tablets and all mobile it’s important to optimize the experience based on the device capabilities and customize for that unique individual using that device,” says Jill Braff, executive vice president of digital commerce at HSN. “We’re presenting gift ideas in a fun and easy way to use, optimized for the dot-com experience on tablets. With tablets it’s not just about driving people to the tablet app, we want to embrace the entirety of tablet traffic coming to the dot-com site.”

Perusing through storefronts in the gift guide, a consumer can touch a hot spot to see product information and make a purchase. A hot spot is marked by a small pink box with a plus symbol; it indicates a product within an image for purchase. The consumer can complete a purchase immediately on that page within the gift guide using Express Buy or can add the product to their shopping cart for purchase later. HSN maintains the same shopping cart for a consumer across desktop, tablet and smartphone devices.

“It’s a great, smooth shopping experience and you don’t have to download the app,” Braff says. “And we let you create your own shopping list, a collection of items you can send to someone shopping for you or share with friends through e-mail or socially through Facebook or Twitter.”

HSN is promoting the tablet gift guide through e-mail marketing, push notifications in the smartphone and tablet apps, mobile search ads, and mobile display ads.

“We’ve never before been more digitally focused as a retailer, and we recognize that smartphones and tablets are phenomenal devices for shopping, and our mobile traffic has been growing,” Braff says. She declines to reveal exact traffic figures.

In 2012, HSN, she reports, has surpassed $100 million in mobile sales as of the end of the third quarter, up more than 200% from around $34 million for the same period last year. HSN is No. 14 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400. Braff adds that 20% of total web sales are mobile and that 20% of new customers come through the mobile channel.

During the holidays, HSN will offer exclusive deals for online shoppers as well as flash sales for mobile shoppers that will change throughout the day.

“We are very focused on robust product offerings, great marketing driving traffic to the mobile devices, offering a great gift experience once you are there, and providing all the functionality you need to send gifts to anyone in your life, as robust as you need it to be, or as simple as entering your password and checking out,” Braff says. “Because of that focus we will be successful.”


HSN, HSN Inc., Jill Braff, m-commerce, Mobile, mobile commerce, mobile push notifications, mobile sales, push notifications, smartphones, tablet optimization, tablets, TV retailer