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HSN debuts mobile commerce iPhone app

August 26, 2009

hsnHSN Inc., an interactive lifestyle network and retail destination, has launched a mobile commerce application for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch.

Consumers who download the HSN Shop application can view HSN programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week nationwide. HSN claims this is the ecommerce industry’s first live-video three-screen experience enabling consumers to browse and shop the network’s 35,000-plus array of products from home or on the go.

“HSN is a leader in the electronic retail industry, and this is a part of our overall multichannel strategy to be everywhere our customers want us to be, whether she wants to shop with us via TV, Internet or mobile phone,” said Brian Bradley, executive vice president/general manager of online and advanced services at HSN Inc., St. Petersburg, FL. 

HSN’s core demographic is 80 percent women, with a majority of them being between the ages of 35 to 54.

“She is active and on the go and likes to know the latest offerings when it comes to fashions and lifestyle products,” Mr. Bradley said.

“Being available to her via our new HSN Shopping app is another component of our multichannel strategy to provide a seamless, integrated one-channel experience for our customers,” he said.

“Initially, we see this as another sales platform for our customers to access the tremendous array of products at HSN, but we are exploring additional monetization opportunities as well.”

The HSN application is available for download at and in the iTunes App Store.

Familiar hallmarks of HSN programming will be available through the mobile experience.

The application features live, around-the-clock HSN TV, along with a library of original videos, the HSN Today’s Special and Items Recently Aired, as well as the many hosts, featured designers and their tens of thousands of products.

Additionally, the HSN Shop application has a set of new features, including the interactive shake2shop, which, with a shake of the device, generates random product recommendations as well as deals and promotions targeted at HSN’s mobile customers.

The centerpiece of the HSN Shop application is its transactional experience, letting consumers call HSN directly or use the device’s browser to buy an item.

Items can also be saved for later purchase or emailed to a friend. will soon feature a tutorial that walks all new users through the application’s various fundamentals and features. The application will also evolve based on customer feedback.

Inlet Technologies’ Spinnaker live streaming appliance provides the encoding backbone for the HSN Shop App’s streaming video.

Spinnaker supports Apple’s HTTP adaptive streaming, which reduces buffering and other interruptions to create a better viewing experience and diminish latency, helping HSN customers move through the purchasing process quickly.

Inlet, a specialist in advanced encoding solutions for new media, has been a HSN Web streaming partner since 2008.

At launch, the HSN Shop application will be marketed via on-air promos run throughout HSN TV programming. Other promotional efforts will follow.

“Beyond traditional PR outreach, having a network that reaches 90 million households gives us a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness of this new app among our large customer base through on-air mentions and promos,” Mr. Bradley said.

“This is in addition to marketing we will be doing moving forward on our website as well,” he said.   

The HSN Shop application arrives amidst HSN’s ongoing multichannel convergence effort, which includes expansion of its Shop-by-Remote service and transition to high-definition format.

This is not HSN’s first foray into mobile, as it has offered mobile alerts for its Today’s Special promotions and order tracking for a number of years.          

“We see tremendous potential for mobile commerce in the future, not only as a sales driver, but also as a way to elevate awareness of our brand,” Mr. Bradley said.

“This is another valuable tool for us to reach both existing and new customers with the compelling lifestyle content we offer via HSN TV as well as the broad array of quality products available at,” he said.

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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