I’m not an avid shopper.
Every once in a while, I’ll hit the store to pick up an item or two.
Most of my shopping is done online, and in response to a real need.
Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, etc., are when my shopping cap goes on, and I generally handle my business.
So shopping (outside of essentials) is never high on my list of priorities.
But that’s just me.
There’s a whole other world of shoppers, who take shopping very seriously: the home shopper.
If you’re into home shopping, then anytime is a good time to shop.
If there’s a bargain, you’re looking for it.
While shopping used to require getting into the car and heading to a mall, strip mall, flea market, or consignment store, the home shopper now has a number of different outlets for getting their shopping on (and I’m not talking catalogues either).
They’ve each got channels devoted entirely to giving shoppers steep discounts on everything from watches to sewing machines.
They also have websites, which allow visitors to browse items featured on the network, as well as other special offers.
But more importantly, each of them has a branded app, which allows you to shop directly from your iPhone, iPad or Android device, while you’re away from your television or home computer.
ShopNBC does the best job of promoting the fact that they’ve got apps.
Although you’ve got to scroll to the bottom of the page to see this section, the iPhone and Android logos point to the fact that they’ve got apps.
And while they don’t promote the fact that they’ve got a mobile version of their site too, they do.
HSN’s apps are promoted in a similar fashion as ShopNBC, but not quite as well.
The mobile phone logo, appears in a banner below the fold of the page, under the title “HSN Everywhere”.
But where HSN falls short in the visual promotion, it more than makes up for it with the breadth and depth of it’s mobile app offering.
QVC does the worst job of promoting the fact that it’s got a mobile offering.
The link to their mobile app is buried in the site map, located at the bottom of the home page, with no icons and even less fanfare.
QVC only offers an iPhone version of their app, and they don’t have a mobile site at all.
I took each of the apps for a test drive to see how well they were built.
I didn’t buy anything mind you, but I did check out what they had to offer.
As expected, each of the apps let you to make in-app purchases.
They also have a ‘watch now’ or ‘live’ feature that lets you to follow along with the network programming directly from your device.
There is a short time delay between the live show and the mobile version, but it’s not material.
But there are material differences in how the live viewing options work on the respective apps.
HSN does the best job for a few reasons, including the fact that it utilizes the accelerometer of the iOS devices, allowing you to watch in both landscape and portrait modes.
The menus and content streams, that frame the viewing area, adjust, letting you expand or collapse the screen to watch in full screen/partial screen mode.
While HSN gives you multiple viewing options, ShopNBC’s live viewing is only viewable in full screen landscape mode.
And unlike the HSN app, you’ve got to quit the video, in order to interact with any other content on their app.
QVC’s iPhone app works similarly to HSN’s and is viewable in both landscape or portrait mode.
In landscape mode, the dash slides away letting you watch full screen.
But after experiencing HSN and ShopNBC’s apps in the larger form factor of the iPad, watching QVC’s show on the iPhone was markedly underwhelming.
Each of these apps had their pluses. But hands down, HSN is clearly the most progressive and forward thinking of these home shopping networks.
They have the most comprehensive suite of options for accessing their brand.
Notwithstanding my critiques, each of these brands are clearly thinking about how to help shoppers get the most out of their connected devices.
And at the end of the day, if you’re a ‘shoppy’, you should be over the moon!