As a product development manager and category buyer at HSN, I could determine within minutes, when presented a new product, whether I was going to bring that product on air. It was quite a simple process – a quick run-through of my mental checklist and a few specific questions would tell me everything I needed to know to make a decision.
A key point here is that not every checklist point has to do with the product attributes themselves; rather, much of the decision making centers on how your product fits holistically into the overall universe of products and customers at the shopping networks.
Are you unclear on whether your product or brand will create long term value for customers in a live home shopping environment? Take some time and run through the checklist we’ve provided below. When we evaluate our clients’ brands for live shopping, this is the starting point.    
#7 - Uniqueness/ Differentiation in Marketplace
A simple filter hurdle, but not necessarily easily cleared. Does your product or brand possess enough unique characteristics to separate itself from other category products? The separation aspect is key. For example, a network might sell many types of vacuum cleaners – they all are designed to do one basic thing – clean your floor. But the ones that go on air have key differentiating factors that drive sales.
#6 – Demonstrative Magic Transformation
Live shopping is all about on-air demonstration. Is your product suited to unique and interesting attribute demonstration? Can you create at least four or five live demonstrations that culminate in the magic transformation that drives viewers wild?
#5 – Hitting the Margin Requirement
This hurdle is purely nuts and bolts for the category buyer. He/she has a category margin requirement they must hit, and every category is different. Are your cost of goods and manufacturing capabilities such that you have enough flexibility to thread the margin requirement needle?
#4 - Drop Shipping
Five words – say yes to drop shipping. Most if not all of the shopping networks prefer drop shipping. This means you ship the product to the customer yourself, and no product is warehoused by the network. The ability to drop ship opens up significantly more opportunities to accumulate more on air appearances, drive more sales, and, it makes the category buyer’s life easier.
#3 – Exclusive for a Time
Coming to the table with an exclusive offer for the network can take you places, quickly. This doesn’t mean you can’t sell your base product anywhere else. What we’re talking about here is creating a unique offer exclusively for the network that isn’t available anywhere else, say for a period of 90 days.
#2 - Plays On Days
What we’re looking for here is does your product position in such a way as to be a complement to other large event days throughout the year on the networks. For example, if you manufacture a cleaning product, is it a good fit on a vacuum brand anniversary day? Or Christmas in July event? And so forth.
#1 - Room to Grow
Many well known brands have grown from a single product to several in the live home shopping environment. Is your product and brand suited to expanding into a product assortment? Can you build longevity on air with continued innovation and addition of new products? The networks love and embrace product solutions that can grow and expand both sales and audience engagement.
Well, how did you do? Many of the points above you may have well under control, while others may need attention and development. And that is what we do. We work with our clients to prepare and position products to build long term, successful businesses in the live shopping arena.
Contact us today and let’s explore where you can go