How the QVC/HSN merger illuminates the future of omnichannel shopping

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Last week’s merger of QVC with Home Shopping Network (HSN) is being cast by some observers as a “move to challenge Amazon.” The question is what kind of challenge it is, if any.

As a combined retail entity, QVC/HSN is third behind Amazon and Walmart in sales. Both Amazon and Walmart have been making big acquisitions in recent months that signal their desire to become omnichannel giants.

For University of Florida retail/marketing teacher Steven Kirn, the former head of the Miller Center for retailing education at that school, the new QVC/HSN isn’t much of an omnichannel presence.

“The consolidation is not surprising,” he told me, referring to QVC’s acquisition of the 62 percent of HSN that it didn’t previously own. It reflected the fact that TV-based shopping “has been declining,” he said, “and is a move to create an efficiency.” He doesn’t see QVC and HSN’s online selves or their small number of physical outlets as major factors in their future.

But Anita Bhappu, a retailing expert now teaching at the University of California at Merced, thinks the merger illuminates what is happening with these giants.

[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]

About The Author

Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.


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