Last week’s merger of QVC with Home Shopping Network (HSN) is being cast by some observers as a “move to challenge Amazon.” The question is what kind of challenge it is, if any.
As a combined retail entity, QVC/HSN is third behind Amazon and Walmart in sales. Both Amazon and Walmart have been making big acquisitions in recent months that signal their desire to become omnichannel giants.
For University of Florida retail/marketing teacher Steven Kirn, the former head of the Miller Center for retailing education at that school, the new QVC/HSN isn’t much of an omnichannel presence.
“The consolidation is not surprising,” he told me, referring to QVC’s acquisition of the 62 percent of HSN that it didn’t previously own. It reflected the fact that TV-based shopping “has been declining,” he said, “and is a move to create an efficiency.” He doesn’t see QVC and HSN’s online selves or their small number of physical outlets as major factors in their future.
But Anita Bhappu, a retailing expert now teaching at the University of California at Merced, thinks the merger illuminates what is happening with these giants.