Monday, May 4, 2009

ShopNBC's "State of the Channel"

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, new ShopNBC CEO, Keith Stewart, recently held an all-day "State of the Channel" meeting with staff and vendors.

"The economy has nothing to do with ShopNBC's woes," he told the group. "We shot ourselves in the foot. It was all about poor execution. It was all about a backward business model. It's why we haven't delivered more than a dollar of [earnings] in 18 years. And that is going to change."

The ongoing financial woes have been discussed and ranted about ad nauseum by Queen Bea--check out my sage advice for them here, a stock analysis here, an eccentric investor's letter to ShopNBC here, and all the crazy over-paid executive drama here, here, and here. And those are just a sampling!

Stewart, who cut his home shopping teeth at QVC, wants to turn ShopNBC into a "world-championship" company, just like the Yankees. He even got all decked out in Yankee attire because with 26 world championships, "the Yankees represent the kind of excellence Stewart wants at ShopNBC."

While I certainly appreciate his enthusiasm and wholeheartedly agree with him that things need to change quickly in order to stem what he calls a "mass exodus from ShopNBC," by his Yankee logic, they need to be spending more money than all the other shopping channels luring the best hosts and top vendors away from QVC. That's how the Yankees win, right?

As far as behind-the-scenes talent, Stewart seems to be doing just that. Since being promoted to CEO in January, he has "recruited a half-dozen former QVC employees as executives, consultants or board members."

"We really need to get better at customer service," Stewart said. "We really need to get better at answering the phones quickly. We really need to get better at processing reorders quickly. We really need to get better at delivering products intact, on time and ahead of schedule. We really need to get better at product assortment and product mix.

"We're stale," he said. "Let's be honest."

He wants to see more gourmet food and even wants to add cruises (now that's something I haven't seen before!) He also wants his vendors to work with him to lower the average selling price from $225 to $100, which is closer to the QVC and HSN average of about $40.

Stewart seems to be all about setting high goals: double sales and profits every five years, double the customer base in five years, and go international in three to five years. That's a high bar to scale when the economy as a whole is contracting.

And while competitors get half of their sales from about 5 percent of the customer base, ShopNBC gets that same share from 20 percent of its customers. ShopNBC points out that the number of "active customers," those who make more than one purchase, is up 26 percent, and the business has increased its base of new customers by 63 percent in the past year.

Stewart even brought out an old QVC favorite: the letter. You know, too many returns. Since he felt like certain customers--with a 70% return rate--were just "renting" jewelry, he "fired them" as customers. The overall return rate was 33% in 2007, dropped to 23% last year, and Stewart has set a goal of getting that down to 17%.

Has ShopNBC really turned the corner? Will they live up to their new moniker:


Read the entire artile here.


  1. He has some great ideas and maybe they will work, and, I would add, get better show hosts, especially that one with the voice that annoys beyond belief, Shopnbc has the worse of them all, and, I certainly agree with getting lower prices, why on earth would I pay thousands of dollars for jewelry that I can get for half the price at the local mall??

  2. They need to start by replacing those shrieking, shrill, school-marmish, and completely unappealing show hosts. Where do they find these women? Good God!

  3. If they want to complete with HSN and QVC - they need to stop using show hosts who look and sound like they just came from the mid-west. Sorry, but that crap doesn't appeal to most viewers. Dont even get me started on the male show hosts - OMG they are gross.

  4. F.Y.I ...a great number of hosts at QVC and HSN came from the midwest! Colleen, Callie, Jill Bauer, Mary Beth Roe, Rick Domeier, Shannon Smith, Dan Wheeler, and the list goes on and on.

  5. There is never anything on ShopNBC that I ever want to buy -'simple as that.

  6. I have been a ShopNBC customer since about 1990. I loved the old ValueVision days--the hosts, gorgeous jewelry, a looseness and even zaniness that you did not see at QVC. I miss many of the hosts: the gorgeous Carmella Richards (SNBC should definitely try to lure her back), Laura Duffek, Skip Connelly, Suzanne Goldklang (a riot). I miss their lines of lovely costume jewelry--especially Shelley Cooper's Sweet Romance. Whatever they do while revamping, please keep show host Shawn Wilsie, a true gem! A sense of humor is essential in a host. And bring in some great fashion lines. And keep the McCoys! (Sorry to ramble; I just love this network.) --Queen Celeste

  7. ShopNBC has gone too far in trying to lure the mass market. The recent singapore chain Our Top Value was nothing better than what anyone could pick up at Walmart - for less money and no shipping.

    Mr Stewart has decided to make every customer pay $5 more per item to help his bottom line. How stupid do they think people are?

    I can shop elsewhere and already am. No purchases from ShopNBC since December.

  8. IMO, shopnbc is incredibly overpriced. There is the occasional piece that seems worth it, but otherwise, no thank you. Although, this is coming from someone who received THE LETTER from QVC, so perhaps I'm not the sort of customer they're looking for. I swear I'm not a "renter," I'm just incredibly picky!!

  9. Has anyone heard that ShopNBC is launching Horst Rechelbacher's (former owner and founder of AVEDA) new line of skin care?? Intelligent Nutrients?? Heard a rumor, this would be awesome!! Can you tell me if it's true???

  10. I thought Wayne Scot Lukas was onboard this month -- anyone with news on this?

  11. I love AVEDA and I had no idea about the connection to Intelligent Nutrients. I vaguely remember seeing that non-memorable title like maybe even today when I was checking out the programing at the big three. I'll check Shop NBC. I think that new CEO over there would be very smart to get you Queen Bee on his team or in a consulting agreement if he hasn't already. I'd pay top dollar to have someone around who knows where all the bodies are buried.

  12. What a cute blog!
    Queen Celeste thanks for the shout out!

  13. When it was Valuevison, and even later on, it was a great shopping channel...but firing all the good hosts who made it what it was, dropping some of the best lines of jewelry,,,like Treasures D'Italia,,,,,when Bill Fahey was fired that was it for me,,,,no loyalty to them, no more shopping for me,,slick new hosts who parrot what callers say,,,enough. Back totally to QVC,,,,ShopNBC lost all its flavor and uniqueness.

  14. I hate ShopNBC! I found that if you have to return an item, you sure as heck better pay extra for delivery confirmation because they'll claim they never received your return otherwise. I fought with them for weeks because they claimed they didn't receive a defective computer I sent back. Gave me the runaround for almost a month before I finally got my $400 back. Pretty good when a shopping network is so hard up for money that they try to cheat their customers out of their money!


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