The $2.1 billion QVC-HSN acquisition isn't only about economies of scale.
It's also about finding space to reel in more customers in the pocket between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores, says QVC President and CEO Mike George. That space, George added in a July 7 speech at HSN's St. Petersburg headquarters, the day after the deal was announced, is open to a company that puts the fun back in shopping.
“Retail is going through this great crack up, right?” asks George, according to a transcript of the speech QVC filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission July 18. “More stores closing than at any point in our history. A few big, giant, global, scale-based players winning and growing. Wonderful companies, monstrously efficient companies, but they practice a kind of joyless form of shopping. Efficient, effective, I shop those players, but not a lot of joy.
“And so what we believe in, together, what we share in common, is this belief that there's a third way from brick-and-mortar, and from big scale e-commerce players. We believe that humanity still matters in shopping, that relationships matter, people matter, inspiration matters, joy matters, fun matters in shopping, and that's a really special thing that we get to experience together. So we're going to have a lot of fun with all of that.”
George talked about the future of the combined companies, admitting “that there will be some overlapping activities, there will be some headcount implications of that.”
He also says the end game of the merger has to be a better-together model — otherwise customers will bolt. Customers said as much on social media after the sale was announced. “Our customers are very clear, and very forthright, and very loud, which is what we love about them,” says George. “They don't want HSN to become QVC lite, and they don't want QVC to become HSN lite. They don't want either of us to become Amazon lite. We got to be who we are, just be better.”
George, returning to the joy theme, noted the company's ability to be a retail therapy outlet for customers.
“We're in the business of inspiring people. We're in the business of curating amazing discoveries that help people's lives, that bring them joy, that bring them entertainment,” says George. “It's a wonderful thing to do, and I think it's an important thing to do. We offer a kind of respite from political cycles, and news headlines, and negative press, and all the things that are out there that cloud our lives, and that's a really wonderful thing to do every day.”