Home Shopping Networks, including QVC and Home Shopping Network, are often ideal spots for inventors starting to sell their product. Shopping networks like to sell products that aren’t available widely in stores, they take smaller quantities than major retailers, but still large enough quantities to justify investments in tooling and packaging, and selling on shopping networks is a much better option to build market momentum than trying to line up a large number of smaller retailers. The shopping networks create enough demand that some companies only sell to the shopping networks, and it is possible to be carried on the networks for years, but they won’t sell enough for you to become a substantial company. Your best choice of action is to sell through the shopping networks to build momentum, and then use the success in those markets to generate a wider distribution network.
Products that Work Best
- Shopping networks are watched primarily by middle age and older women. Your product should appeal to the majority of those buyers.
- The product needs to demonstrate well – the more exciting it is the better you chances of getting on the air.
- You need a high quality manufacturing source, though it doesn’t need to be your own factory, and the product needs to be well made.
- You want to watch the shopping networks to ensure your product fits into an existing category. The networks rarely carry a product that isn’t related to several other existing products they already carry.
- Your price point needs to be at least $20 to $25. You can combine several products to reach the $20 price point, but you need a product or package of products with a high enough price to match up with the property potential of other products selling on the network.
- Solving a common product isn’t required, as evidence by the large number of jewelry items sold on the networks, but solving a problem clearly helps your success.
- Being a great on-line salesperson yourself, or having one within your company, will help you beat out competitors when two products are comparable.
How to Sell to the Networks
Selling to the shopping networks isn’t easy. Many people try to sell to the network and they only take on a small percentage of the products they see each year. Nevertheless many inventors are successful getting on, and many sell on the network for five years or more. The cost of pitching to the networks is low, and I recommend every inventor with products targeted at middle age to older women at least give the networks a try.
There are two options to selling to the shopping networks. First, through a direct approach to the networks, both QVC and the HSN have an easy way on their web page to submit ideas, and QVC also has vendor fairs around the country where you can pitch your idea directly to the buyers. A second approach is to use sales agents that specialize in selling products to the shopping networks. They have contacts and know the routine to get your product before buyers. They can also help you get a good pitch person if you aren’t comfortable doing online sales. They will charge a 10 to 15% commission so you might want to try to sell to the shopping networks on your own first and then if that doesn’t work you can then switch to a sales representative.
Vendor Sites for the Shopping Networks
Direct TV Impact
620 Hacienda Drive, Suite 104
Vista, CA 92081
TV Sales Direct
225 S Church St. 3rd Floor
West Chester, PA 19382
Patline Products International
1003 Kimberly Lane
Downington, PA 19335
The Miletti Group
10 Bellgrove Drive
Mahwah, NJ 07430
National Marketing Direct
1030 Summerfield Drive Suite
Roselle, IL 60172
Side-Kick International Inc.
1157 Phoenixville Pike, Suite 108
West Chester, PA 19380