When Elizabeth Ragone, Director of Digital Merchandising at HSN, took the stage yesterday at Merch ‘12, she dropped these stats: HSN.com has 350,000+ unique users each day, nearly 5 million page views daily, and 65,000 unique products. Okay, Elizabeth, we’re listening.
What’s really intriguing about HSN is not just its high traffic, but how the company has embraced video and games into their website.
When most of what we’ve been talking about this week at Merch ’12 is about getting customers to click buy, introducing online games within a retail website could seem like a customer distraction. But the e-commerce execs at HSN did their research: Over 141 million people play casual games online, or 66 percent of the U.S. population. Fifty-eight percent of online casual gamers are women, with the average age of 43. As Ragone pointed out, that’s the exact demographic of the HSN customer.
Women who shop HSN via television don’t just sit in front of the TV for hours; she turns it on and goes about her day. The same concept is applied to games. HSN Arcade is a place where women can take a break and play a game. Products cycle through on the right side of the page, so if something catches her eye, she may start browsing. But Ragone noted, the games aren’t about driving conversions; HSN Arcade is about acquiring and retaining customers. It’s about a having a little fun and making the one-time customer a long-time customer.
Ragone said that about 62 million games have been played on HSN Arcade. HSN has also seen success adding social elements built into the shopping experience, too. The ladies’ magazine-style fashion quiz “What’s your fashion personality?” allows women a fun quiz to share via social media. And in spite of Ragone’s initial skepticism, the conversion has been “unbelievable.”
Ragone’s advice for launching games on your site? Try it, be authentic, offer value to your customer, be bold (in baby steps), enable sharing and then test, rinse, repeat. If you think it through and know your customer, you can come up with a winning plan.