Cable TV shopping juggernaut QVC is jumping into social media and e-commerce feet first, with the launch of a new social network, toGather, which resembles Pinterest and is intended to bring together like-minded shoppers and boost product discovery. The network officially launched Monday after beta-testing over the summer.
Shoppers who sign up for the network can explore what products are trending in the community or set up their own personalized feed by following people and brands for recommendations. The user can “heart” products for later purchase and curate their own online product collections. Of course they’re also provided with an online shopping cart and full product catalogue for browsing.
QVC already has a substantial e-commerce operation, generating 37% of its global revenues, or about $2.9 billion in the year ending June 2013; shoppers who engaged with QVC’s other social channels contributed about $830 million of that figure. In 2012 the company acquired Oodle, an e-commerce and online classifieds platform best known for its Oodle Marketplace on Facebook, with an eye to beefing up its social commerce capabilities.
Social commerce is a natural fit for QVC, where a large part of the TV experience consists of shoppers calling in with testimonials and recommendations concerning featured products.Craig Donato, Oodle’s former co-founder and CEO who is now vice-president of social for QVC, stated: “One thing that always impressed me about QVC is that they really excel in shopping as entertainment. QVC on television is this inherently social experience… Now the web has evolved and there’s a real opportunity for QVC to reinvent what it does for online.”