QVC aims to close 50% of U.S. sales online

QVC expects to hit that number in 2014, says CEO Mike George.

Mark Brohan

TV and web retailer QVC Inc. is on track to generate 50% of all U.S. revenue through e-commerce by the end of 2014, QVC CEO Mike George told attendees recently at Liberty Interactive Inc.’s annual investor’s day gathering.

In the second quarter ended June 30, about of 42% of all U.S. sales—about $550 million—for QVC, No. 5 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, came from e-commerce, compared to around $500 million, or 40% in the prior year.

To drive even more sales QVC has to capitalize on new opportunities in social media and mobile commerce, and to create a technology platform that that lets consumers be entertained, shop, and be social across any screen or device, George told attendees. “We are creating a unique and relevant shopping experience for the always digitally connected shopper, he said.

QVC, which has more than 1.5 million fans on Facebook, is especially looking to create a bigger presence in social media, George told attendees. On Sept. 30 QVC launched toGather as a new social media platform on Facebook that enables users to create personalized news feeds and shop for new and existing products based on each shopper’s individual profile. “We are looking for new ways to manifest social shopping,” George said.

QVC, which expects to do more than $1 billion in global mobile sales in 2013, also is counting on mobile commerce as a big driver of web sales in the U.S. and overseas. In the U.S., m-commerce makes up about 30% of e-commerce sales for QVC compared with 45% in Japan, 44% in the United Kingdom, 19% in Italy and 13% in Germany. While not disclosing actual sales and using a June-through-June comparison time frame, Italy was QVC’s fastest growing m-commerce market at an annual growth rate of 331%. Italy was followed by Germany at 294%, the United Kingdom at 133%, the U.S. at 72% and Japan at 16%. “Mobile continues to soar,” George told attendees.

The top mobile commerce priority at QVC is tying its TV programming more closely to its mobile-optimized site and apps, George told attendees. In June, QVC released the latest version of its iPad with such new features as better links to social networks like Facebook, more video content and a new shopping cart that lets shoppers click on an item and “drag” the product into the basket for quicker checkout. Other new features include pinch-to-zoom buttons, which let tablet owners use buttons to increase or decrease the size of images and content to better fit their screen.

By next June QVC also expects to roll out an updated e-commerce site using responsive design. The technology enables a retailer to build a single site that adapts to fit the size of a screen the visitor is viewing, including desktop, smartphone, tablet or smart TV. “We are tailoring content to all screens,” George said.


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