The Shopping Channel rebrands, rolls out national campaign

The Shopping Channel is revealing a major rebrand today that encompasses everything from its on-air and online presence to shipping policies. President Steven Goldsmith, who started in his role at the Canadian retailer last December, called the refresh “an evolution, not a revolution” during a sneak peek at The Shopping Channel’s new look and sets […]

Alicia Androich September 06, 2013

The Shopping Channel is revealing a major rebrand today that encompasses everything from its on-air and online presence to shipping policies.

President Steven Goldsmith, who started in his role at the Canadian retailer last December, called the refresh “an evolution, not a revolution” during a sneak peek at The Shopping Channel’s new look and sets at its Mississauga, Ont. headquarters last week.

This evolution builds on what the 27-year-old company knows about its “hundreds of thousands” of customers, said Goldsmith, and the opportunities for the brand.

The way customers shop online or via their mobile devices and what they expect from a shopping experience has changed in recent years, said Goldsmith, “but we hadn’t evolved yet.”

Part of this evolution meant differentiating itself from other shopping networks. Pointing to a cluster of TV screens in the corner of his bright, sleekly decorated office, Goldsmith said he’s always kept an eye on The Shopping Channel’s U.S. equivalents: QVC, HSN and ShopHQ. “Those three do over $8 billion per year and one of the things I noticed at The Shopping Channel is we became an amalgam of those three shopping networks,” he said.

So, The Shopping Channel used insights gleaned from the research team at Rogers Media, which owns The Shopping Channel (as well as Marketing magazine), to find out who its Canadian customer is, what she wants and who it isn’t attracting that it might want to.

The results helped inform the substantial changes to The Shopping Channel. For starters, the on-air look—from the logo to the graphics to the set—have been overhauled. While other shopping networks use the traditional “L” formation to run on-screen graphics, The Shopping Channel got feedback from its customers that they wanted to see more of the screen. So it has eliminated its bottom graphic so that words only appear in a vertical bar on the left.

The channel is also incorporating social media into its on-air presence by intermittently displaying live comments from customers on screen. It’s an interactive technique Goldsmith used at previous roles he’s held at online retailers such as Amazon and Victoria’s Secret. “Nothing sells products like a customer recommending it to another customer,” he said.

There are also changes on the digital front. On top of making nearly all of the website available in French (only one-third of it had been French previously), The Shopping Channel now also, for the first time, has an app where people can watch product presentations live and easily buy what’s featured on-air.

The Shopping Channel has also changed its shipping policies. All orders over $150 are now shipped free and Goldsmith said more than 75% of all of the items now have reduced shipping rates.

When he speaks about his customers, Goldsmith never uses “he” or “they”—that’s very intentional, he said. The Shopping Channel is marketing to women in their 20s to 50s who want fashions for themselves or their home. The problem for The Shopping Channel, though, is that not enough of that demographic in Canada knows about it. While its existing customers are great supporters – Goldsmith said the average Shopping Channel customer buys from it seven times a year and its EBITDA “is up double digits” – research showed that most Canadians don’t know the brand. Period.

“They didn’t have a negative perception; they didn’t have a perception,” said Goldsmith. “So we need a lot more awareness.” A national multiplatform campaign officially launching today should help.

Developed by The Shopping Channel’s in-house marketing team and Rogers corporate, the campaign heavily leverages Rogers Media’s suite of assets, said Christopher Mercer, marketing VP at The Shopping Channel. Beyond using its 24 TV properties, 55 radio stations and also roughly 20 magazines (both internal and external), there is a strong digital component to the campaign that reaches further than the more than 90 digital sites owned by Rogers Media to include other ad exchanges. “Over 11 million digital impressions have been booked for September” for the campaign, said Mercer. OMD handled the media buy.

The main marketing message behind the campaign is that The Shopping Channel tells stories that helps its customers discover something new every day. The “Discover” tagline appears in each element of the campaign, followed by a different word each time. For instance, one ad reads “Discover. Compliments.”

“For many Canadians, [we’re] not a retailer that they’ve discovered yet. This whole campaign is really about highlighting the experience that one can get from The Shopping Channel. We want to introduce ourselves to her.”

The first celebrity to launch the refreshed network is Isaac Mizrahi, who will appear on the channel tonight at 10 p.m.