The major home shopping networks have changed a lot since they were first launched in the '80s. "We have been under a very dramatic transformation in the past year and a half, not only with our product line but also with our brand," says Brad Bohnert, a Home Shopping Network representative.
The changes mean new opportunities for entrepreneurs. What products are in demand on the network today? At HSN, where new products and categories are added regularly, the beauty category alone grew by more than 40 brands in 2007.
According to Marilyn Montross, director of vendor relations at QVC, the network started off heavy in jewelry and has since developed more of a fashion business, extending into apparel and accessories. Meanwhile, home product categories have always been part of the mix but have gained in the share of merchandise over the years. Now QVC encompasses everything from sports and leisure to electronics.
But according to Montross, it's not about whether a category is hot or not that determines a new product's acceptance. "Typically, the products we do best with that come from entrepreneurs are never [within] a particular product category," she says. "It's really about the product attributes."Home shopping networks also have a new look online. Both QVC and HSN have been working to enhance their websites. Now, not only can consumers purchase products online, but they can also watch clips, review products and even read feature articles about different designers and manufacturers.