Beauty Beat. HSN’s Smart Upscale Beauty Move

May 30, 2008 • Beauty


Still think of the ‘Thigh Master’ and cheesy jewelry when you think of HSN? Well, it’s time to change that perception. Especially if HSN, owned by IAC Retailing, has anything to say about it. Things at the network have not been the same been the same since Mindy Grossman joined as chief executive officer in 2006. And that’s a good thing.

According to WWD, under
Grossman, HSN has taken an upscale path, especially in beauty, where
Sephora has joined the lineup as well as a recently announced deal with
Estée Lauder’s BeautyBank. Also, a new deal was recently inked between
HSN and Coty to market and sell select Coty prestige brands.

of this activity is thanks to Grossman’s vision for the channel. When she accepted the position,
colleagues asked if she was going to go high-end, low-end or luxury.
"And the reality is that in a business that’s in 90 million homes,
niche is probably not the way to go. So the key is to be aspirationally
accessible and be able to provide her with options for her lifestyle
and it could mean a flat-screen TV one day, a mascara the next, a $29
pair of shoes and a $600 handbag," she said.

Customers want an experience that they can engage with
and that resonates emotionally and often that is celebrity-driven.
However, Grossman said, customers have a new definition of celebrity.
Celebrities of today aren’t just the stars, but the
hairstylists, fashion stylists, makeup artists, workout gurus and even
psychics. There is an abundance of choices today and that
shoppers rely on HSN to edit for them. "Being a trusted authority or a
place where trusted authorities are available is a significant
competitive advantage.

"We reach a customer that’s over 80 percent female, has an
above-average income, is informed and engaged with television and the
Web and, most important, she really loves to shop. Our core customer is
between 30 and 54. But what we’re seeing more and more, it’s not about
age, it’s about a connection," she said.

HSN had to reinvent itself. An important
decision was made to edit over $125 million worth of brands and
products that the company felt did not live up to standards of
relevance or quality.

HSN now carries 27 brands as part of its Presented by
Sephora programming, including Clarins, Two Faced, Ole Henriksen,
Cosmedicine, Oscar Blandi, Dior
and others.

In total, HSN has added 40 new
beauty brands, cut back time on promotional products and raised the
core productivity of existing brands. There have been changes to the
live shows to make them more entertaining and lifestyle-driven. An
example is the Beauty Report, which airs every Thursday and highlights
beauty discoveries. Last year, HSN relaunched its Web site and has seen top-line growth more than double.

Read "Grossman Calls HSN Beauty’s ‘New Retail Frontier" here

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