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HSN, owned by IAC Retailing, hasn't been the same since Mindy Grossman joined as chief executive officer in 2006.
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.
Much of this activity is thanks to Grossman's vision for the channel. "We offer a unique opportunity to build brands and businesses and to leverage technology that can create a new dynamic for the beauty industry. And I think we're in fact the new retail frontier," Grossman said during her presentation at WWD's Beauty CEO Summit.
She thinks the potential is enormous since HSN has a platform as both a marketing and commerce vehicle. "There is a confluence of consumer trends and technological developments that are occurring today which are creating this significant opportunity for our business," she elaborated. "First we're living in a here-and-now-minded world. Customers are demanding what they want, when they want and how they want it. So forcing them to a specific time or locations is no longer the optimum experience."
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.
Grossman told the audience that customers want an experience that they can engage with and that resonates emotionally and often that is celebrity-driven. However, she said, customers have a new definition of celebrity. Celebrities of today aren't just the stars, she said, but the hairstylists, fashion stylists, makeup artists, workout gurus and even psychics. Grossman said 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. And technology is influencing everything we do, particularly for our business," she added. Videos on the Internet are particularly effective in selling products. "The content and commerce model of HSN is a multichannel network of integrated experiences. We broadcast live 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to 90 million homes, making us the fourth largest cable network with almost $2 billion in sales. HSN.com is one of the...10 top-trafficked e-commerce sites in the U.S. and it is now also one of the most video-pervasive," she said. HSN is a leader in emerging interactive platforms, such as interactive TV, video on demand and community-generated commerce, she added.