By Albany Irvin, QVC Program Host
With more than a thousand businesses launched every day by women who ring up revenues that top a trillion dollars annually, there is no doubt that women have become a powerful force in business. Swelling those statistics: female entrepreneurs and a new generation of mompreneurs.
A longtime champion of this movement, QVC is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month. As the world’s leading video and ecommerce retailer, generating $8.7 billion in revenue last year and reaching approximately 360 million homes worldwide, we have launched and fostered the growth of some of today’s most successful brands, including Spanx, Junior’s Cheesecakes and Lobster Gram.
The Search Continues…
Today, through our nationwide product searches, we remain committed to discovering and cultivating the best up-and-coming inventors and entrepreneurs, helping them to grow their business through a scalable and nurturing process as well as giving their retail-ready product the opportunity to be sold on QVC. Since the introduction of QVC Sprouts, a crowd-sourced competition launched in 2012, more than 100,000 customer votes have helped select more than 100 new products to be featured on QVC.com or on air.
As a QVC program host for the past seven years, I’ve had the opportunity to present thousands of items and work with hundreds of guests, many who are inventors of the product. This past April, I was part of a panel at the Watermark Conference for Women where more than 20 entrepreneurs and mompreneurs pitched their original products. I was very impressed by their passion and dedication— after all, it takes a lot of effort to move from an idea sketched on a cocktail napkin to a retail-ready product.
The Selection Process
How to get on QVC? For starters, here is what our merchandising teams consider when reviewing products:
- Does the item solve a problem?
- Is it relevant? Will it make sense to our customers?
- Is it different and better than current items on the market?
- Does it deliver value—and that doesn’t necessarily mean the lowest price.
- Does it benefit from its story being told and/or being demonstrated in a video format?
That last question is especially key. Our customers get more than the item that they bought; they are entertained, join a like-minded community, hear an inspiring story and learn personalized tips on how to use and love their purchases. That combination provides customers with a shopping experience that is all about the joy of discovery. You can do that with your product concept by telling its story in a compelling way and making a real connection with customers. Never underestimate the importance of building trust and credibility and nurturing relationships.
Are You QVC’s Next Success Story?
Many of our best-sellers have something in common. Says Vice President of Merchandising Rich Yoegel: “Our customers are very receptive to clever—often seemingly simple—solutions to everyday problems that make you say, ‘why didn’t I think of that?’” As a good example, he cites Scrub Daddy, a sponge that changes texture based on water temperature—and has sold more than 1 million units on QVC since the brand launched in April 2012.
And for long-term success, “it’s important to listen to customer feedback and react with meaningful adjustments,” Yoegel adds. “Our merchandising strategy is truly customer-centric. Our customers dictate our product assortment approach, because unlike traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, we’re able to quickly respond to their tastes and preferences.”
Whether you are ready to launch the next big idea, or you are a budding inventor who is just getting started, we salute you and celebrate the passion, vision and hard work of entrepreneurs and mompreneurs everywhere.
To learn more about QVC Sprouts, visit qvc.com/qvcsprouts.