Online shopping has picked up over the last few years. A whopping 95% of Americans with internet access have tried it in their lifetime, with 67% millennial Americans preferring to shop online. Even in developing countries such as India, online shopping is expected to reach new heights as per the report by ASSOCHAM. Where does this leave the TV shopping channels who pioneered the concept of home shopping?
Why TV Shopping channels are still relevant
Television still has the widest reach across the globe. Also unlike internet-based shopping experience, consumers are likely to be more engaged with the demos on TV. Live commentary by the presenters, and a sense of connecting with a real bargain could be primary drivers to TV shopping. In many countries, rural or Tier II cities often have lesser number of internet subscribers, whereas terrestrial networks still have significant coverage. Additionally, cord-cutters who have begun to avail the free-to-air channels, may also present an interesting opportunity for shopping channels to maximize exposure to their products. However, there are a few hurdles that these channels must cross.
Limitations of television and how they can be overcome
Even though television offers a live and linear experience to the viewer, the choice that the online retailers offer can often be more tempting. The ability of eRetailers to customize the offering with targeted offers can especially be the drawback when directly compared with TV. However, with cloud technology, television channels can also regionalize their offering without incurring significant costs. For example, a channel with feeds in New York and Boston could have different offers for viewers at both locations, with customized calling numbers. This way, the channel could easily track the caller without asking questions, while also ensuring that offers are exclusive to these cities. Essentially, with cloud the TV shopping channel can create two customized channels without having to create additional satellite feeds. The delivery can be done directly to the terrestrial station headend or cable operator.
Reinventing shopping channels with existing satellite feeds
While cloud can help in creating customize feeds, what if the shopping channel already runs a satellite feed. For example, a diverse region such as India could be too complicated to reach with separate feeds, or could have regulations that restrict usage of cloud. In this case, cloud could be used to transfer only the customized content to the Intelligent Receiver Decoders (IRD), that can then be operated remotely to trigger customized content. This way, the channel can still play customized offers and calling numbers without risking broadcast violation.
Conclusion Ability to innovate with customized L-bands or tickers significantly improves the experience on shopping channels. Regionalization of calling numbers etc. also allows TV shopping channels to gain significant insights about their buyers, which in turn can help them create a buyer-centric shopping experience. With wider reach, and innovations facilitated by cloud, Shopping channels on TV can compete with online retailers, and stay relevant in age of online shopping.