Featuring Rachel Ungaro, Vice President of Apparel Buying, Design and Global Sourcing, QVC, and Lori Twomey, Chief Merchant, zulily
QVC’s Rachel Ungaro and zulily’s Lori Twomey know a thing or two about discovering new products and brands. On their watch, QVC has launched and fostered the growth of some of today’s most successful brands, many of which were founded by women, including bareMinerals, Spanx, IT Cosmetics and Lori Greiner, while zulily, QVC’s sister company, has worked with 15,000+ beloved and boutique brands.
More powerful than a single retailer, QVC and zulily together represent an experiential e-commerce powerhouse with appeal that spans generations of women. For those entrepreneurs looking to develop and differentiate their brand, Rachel and Lori offer their insider advice.
Make your product relevant and shoppable
The merchandising strategy is truly customer-centric at QVC, which, over the past 30 years, has transformed from a TV medium to a multi-platform leader that is focused on delivering a consistently engaging, seamless and rewarding user experience, both online and on TV. QVC’s priority is to provide a shopping experience that brings the joy of discovery to life through product storytelling. Customers dictate QVC’s product assortment approach and “we consistently make investments to understand the customer response to our products so we can make meaningful adjustments,” says Rachel. When listening to a product pitch, the team, she says, looks for the following key elements:
- Does the item solve a problem?
- Is it relevant? Will the customer find it entertaining?
- Is it different and better than current items on the market?
- Does it deliver value? (And that doesn’t necessarily mean the lowest price.)
- Does it benefit from its story being told and/or being demonstrated in a video format?
Be online and self-promote
Investors, businesses and entrepreneurs should have a presence online and demonstrate their product in a dynamic way, like on video! By self-promoting and creating an online presence, you can differentiate your product. Also, QVC merchandisers have found some of the best products through connecting with small businesses and entrepreneurs over social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. So, when promoting your product, make sure to utilize social platforms in addition to attending major trade shows and conferences.
Be open to growing with a retailer and trusting its experts
“At zulily, we love to help brands grow their businesses, which is part of what makes us unique in the e-commerce landscape,” says Lori, under whose direction, the 500+ merchandising team works to uncover brands that offer a great value, ensuring zulily the ability to launch 9,000 products a day, up to 70 percent off to their passionate customers. “Whether it’s helping vendors determine their best-selling styles through our vendor portal, or advancing their supply chain and fulfillment success, we want to work with brands that want to grow and evolve with us.”
Be personal and create an emotional connection
Customers love to connect with entrepreneurial or exciting development stories, so make sure you’re selling not only your product, but you too! “At zulily, the big wins for our team come when we can uncover a brand that is truly unique in their market, and creates an emotional connection with our customers,” Lori says. “So find your niche, make it unique and tap into the interests of your customers.”
Learn more about becoming a vendor with QVC and zulily.