Precious Metals & Bench: News
QVC says it's just a big TV network that continually advertises
the jewelry category
QVC is available to 70 million homes. Its Web site, iQVC,
has quickly become the largest general merchant on the Web, John
Calnon, QVC jewelry vice president, told a hushed audience at
the International Gemological Symposium in San Diego in June.
Calnon wasn't there to lord it over brick and mortar
retailers, but to convince them electronic sales merchants, via
TV or the Web, aren't the devils they appear to be.
"Does QVC create new demand? Yes. Can we coexist with
traditional retailers? Yes. Will cybermerchants crush traditional
retailing? No," said Calnon, who was once a vice president
at the mainstream World Gold Council. He shared these views.
Advocates for Buyers
Technology isn't the only key to QVC's success, said Calnon.
Ecstatic hosts who act as advocates for the buyers at home drive
sales. If QVC can do it, so can traditional jewelers. The hosts
intelligently explain the jewelry while romancing its exotic
The quality/value balance in the jewelry is there because
consumers get what they expect for the price they pay, he said,
calling this price integrity. QVC presents what it sells realistically,
and consumers make a choice. Not everyone will be pleased with
what $90 buys (QVC's average price point), but the company accepts
"Breakthrough" customer service is a central focus,
said Calnon, with knowledgeable order takers who reward
frequent purchasers and point out QVC's 30 day return policy.
With its average purchase price of $90, QVC creates a bigger
cohort of jewelry buyers and does not cannibalize the more upscale
jewelry buyer base, he said. These new jewelry buyers may later
patronize a traditional retailer, he said.
Calnon said manufacturers and some retailers have partnered with
QVC and found the exposure helped them create more demand for
their brands at traditional retail stores. He cited a recent
sale of Honora jewelry, which resulted in $4 million in sales
in five hours of airtime. This helped boost Honora sales in other
outlets, he said. Prices were clearly lower for the Honora jewelry
sold on TV, and consumers made different choices about where
Brand names such as Judith Ripka, Robert Lee Morris and Fortunoff
have taken the QVC plunge also. Fortunoff's experience was heady
indeed. The company sold $168,000 in merchandise in eight minutes,
with prices up to $2,300, and felt the appearance furthered its
Research shows QVC shoppers shop everywhere, said Calnon.
They are typically upscale Baby Boomers who have cable TV and
excess dollars to spend. They're also likely to shop at luxury
retailers. Just like the Prada customer who buys her drawstring
pants at The Gap, a QVC customer retains the right to shop wherever
For the future of storefront retailing, that's good news.
But interesting products, well described and romanced, with exceptional
customer service, are even more important to the traditional
retailer's health. That's the standard many consumers have been
taught to expect by QVC.
by Peggy Jo Donahue
The TV Branding Boom Continues
Gori & Zucchi and the team of jewelry manufacturer Frederick
Goldman and De Beers sightholder Leo Schachter recently debuted
branded lines on television shopping networks.
The Home Shopping Network, St. Petersburg, FL, introduced
1AR by Unoaerre, a 14k gold line designed exclusively for HSN
by Gori & Zucchi, a jewelry manufacturer based in Arezzo,
Italy. Retail prices range from $36 to $700. Though made mostly
in yellow gold, some white gold pieces are available also. Jeffrey
Taraschi, executive vice president of merchandising, says the
line brings a new note of distinction to HSN. The pieces were
romanced on air by the line's designer, Paola de Luca, and HSN
host Colleen Lopez, who traveled to Arezzo to show off the company's
factory and artisans and the Italian setting to viewers.
Meanwhile, QVC introduced the Promise Diamond Collection,
produced by the Goldman and Schachter team. Scenes of a South
African diamond mine and an Israeli cutting factory augmented
the debut sale. The collection features
diamonds that are D, E or F color and retails for $185 to
$5,800. Center diamonds that are 0.25 ct.or larger are laser inscribed
with a Gemological Institute of America certification number.
by Peggy Jo Donahue
||Promise Diamond anniversary bands are between
$1,120 and $1,600 suggested retail.
From the 1AR collection by Unoaerre, 14k gold polished
and textured love knot earrings are $168 suggested retail.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.