Thursday, June 2, 2011

HSN combines gaming with shopping – uh oh.


The recently launched HSN Arcade offers users 25 different games to play while they shop. The goal of the games is to keep shoppers on the site longer and turn browsers into buyers. So, items for sale will be streamed next to the game during play. Prizes will be offered for high scorers and tournaments and guest hosts are on the horizon. Easy interaction with others via Facebook is part of the package to encourage sharing.

Given that 60% of the US population (140 million+) currently plays games online, it seems like the idea may be a winner. (Goetzl, 2011)

So what do you think? Do you play online games now? Do you shop HSN? Do you think you will try HSN Arcade? What about your friends, will they play?

Goetzl, D. (2011, May 31) HSN Arcade Plays Games With Female Users. Retrieved June 1, 2011, from


  1. HSN wants to turn its online shoppers (mostly females)into gamers, but would it turn the gamers into buyers? I think this reciprocity is not true. Even though launching games is a good strategy to differentiate the shopping experience of the web users, I don't think it will attract buyers (but maybe players!)...
    I am not a fan of online games, but I admit that I went to HSN Arcade to see what kind of games they offered. I barely shop HSN, but I am sure that some friends would be happy to discover that they can play while shopping. I am also convinced that by "sharing," and word-of-mouth, more people will try HSN Arcade (to play, at least).

  2. "These is the first time I hear about HSN, but actually I got into their webpage and signed in because it looked very convenient. I am not an online player, yet I really enjoyed the HSN games. I believe that it's a great strategy given the fact that 60% of the US population currently plays online games . From the moment the webpage opens, there is an intriguing tab that invites you to play. Once you are in, you are attracted to keep on playing for discounts, while at the same time you are getting to know the webpage which might lead you to buy something.

    Now that I have opened an account on HSN, I do believe that I might buy online from them; and furthermore, I would surely speak about this experience with my friends and invite them to play in HSN webpage."


  3. Marybel

    First of all I would like to say that I am not really a fan of online games but I am a fan of online shopping. After seeing for the first time the webpage HSN I realized that there are thousands of pages like that where you can find loads of different products for every taste.
    So I wonder, if the strategy they had implemented to differentiate from other shopping pages is to play some games while shopping will work?

    I think it could work for some people, in my case if I want to buy something I will and won´t stop for playing a game, but probably I am not the core target.

    The rewards and prizes are good incentives so that people want to stay more in the site.

    I think this strategy will work in some specific buyers but what a nice way to make a difference from the competition

  4. I'm not sure whether this strategy will or will not work, but I think it's a very innovative way to make use of the growing number of female gamers and linking that activity to one of the favorite pastimes for women online - shopping. Even if it doesn't increase sales, I definitely think it was worth the try. The games should help build engagement and longer time spent on the site. I imagine it will work best by capturing current casual, light shoppers. Through the arcade, they will get more involved. First, because the games are entertaining. Second, the games are an opportunity to earn coupons, prizes, etc. that will ultimately make them shop more than they currently do. By linking out the games through Facebook, it's also an opportunity for HSN to reach their friends, many of whom are likely to have similar shopping and gaming habits.

    Personally I rarely shop online. I like to see, try on, and test items in person before purchasing. But I realize I am in the minority. I also rarely play online games, but I think I would if I had more free time and can easily see the attraction. I think my friends would definitely check this out and it might hook a few of them.

  5. Usually free online games come with ads next to them and for some people that combination works. I’ve seen friends buying shoes online while playing poker. If 60% of Americans do play online then they are the perfect audience for this kind of approach.

    I do play online games occasionally but just on Facebook, every time I see ads next to the game I find it distracting and annoying.

    I checked the HSN website and personally I couldn’t tell what it was really about, is it online games, shopping games, shopping items, both? I wouldn’t be interested in playing while watching a video ad about clothes.

    Yet, I believe some people will try it out and eventually buy something, but I don’t think online shopping will replace the real shopping experience; to able to see, touch and feel the material can’t be replace, at least not yet.

    Angelit Meza

  6. As an online gamer I must make some things clear. Online gaming has nothing to do with playing puzzle, word or any other simple games on various websites. It relates to people playing regular games (World of Warcraft, Call Of Duty, Halo…) connected with other people, playing together or against each other. Although I don’t know the details about the statistics posted above I am sure that it is almost entirely based on the people I am talking about. Having said that, I don’t see the correlation between the online gamers and HSN Arcade, nor do I see the online gamers as a target.
    Personally I like the idea and I think it could be successful. It certainly doesn’t do any harm. I think the key to success for this idea is getting the word out to people who play those simple games on other sites to start playing at HSN Arcade because they will be rewarded in the form of discounts. Social networking sites would have a major role in this of course.
    On the other hand I am a little skeptical about this idea being successful, being that is implemented on the site that’s only for women. Also I don’t know how long you have to play to actually get rewarded, which is very important.
    I haven’t heard about HSN before; I tried the arcade, it sucks; Certainly not worth mentioning it to my friends.

  7. I think this might be a sign of what's to come - just as you said one day all commercials might turn into product placements in tv shows, movies, etc. I think this is a major effort to combine experiences in advertising - those being shopping (ecommerce), gaming (online games) and sharing (social networking). The idea of merging ecommerce and online experiences such as Facebook or gaming is very intriguing and one that I don't want to shun immediately. While the games are offered as a free "perk" on HSN, it's not definitely going to be the tool that leads people to buying a product. In order to work, it has to be executed extremely well and successfully tap into the typical shopper's psyche - which, is most cases on HSN, is a woman consumer. HSN is essentially making an attempt to tap into the women shopper and game-player, which I'm not all too sure will add up.
    HSN will need to seamlessly connect these worlds, which I think may be a very difficult task. I do not personally think the average women shopper would be interested in playing games that would lead them to buy products (people will be in interested in buying things online or just playing games on the HSN website without wanting to make any connection to the product).
    -Hannah Glazebrook

  8. Johanna KoenigheitJune 8, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    If we discuss this strategy on an overall scale, yes this is brilliant. Especially if 60% of the US population plays online video games.

    On the other hand, I am concerned about something: considering a significant of purchases are made upon insinct and temptation, what happens if while you are playing online, you see an ad promoting a brand news bag and you are automatically seduced to the point of actually making the purchase. Can you press pause and make the purchase? Or do you have to start the game all over again and put yourself at risk by being seduced another time by an ad on the side? This might be pervert.

    I do not play online video games at all. I don't shop at HSN and I think there might be something wrong the strategy applied to HSN. Considering most of their products and online department are targeting women, is this really effective? Did they increase they monthly/annual sales?
    Most of my female friends like to focus when they shop, especially online since they can't try on the product. They want to make sure they have selected the right product, the proper size and check twice the online bill. Their only distraction would be a phone call, a bbm, somebody at the door or a text message.

    I do not believe they would mix online video games and online shopping.

    See you tonight in class!

  9. For the target market - I think this is a brilliant idea. When I think of Home Shopping Network, I think of a stay-at-home, suburban mom. Someone with a bit more time on their hands than a busy working professional, the kind of person that is looking for some diversion during the day. Fusing games with shopping could potentially be an awkward combination (when I think "games" I think of young males) but the way HSN integrates the two seems right on point. It creates the sensation of being a participant in a game show - something else I bet is popular with this demographic. As HSN can be a bit dry (who wants to watch a pair of earrings on display at different angles for 30 minutes?), this brings an exciting, interactive, faster-paced vibe to the HSN experience, and I think it will be a big win.
    Personally - I don't play games on online (or on any device), and don't shop HSN, so this is not a big draw for me. Neither do any of my female friends. But then again, I doubt that young, urban, female professionals are the target here, so my personal insight won't help gauge the potential success of the campaign.
    -Marina Tokar

  10. It is my opinion that an online game can definitely "keep shoppers on the site longer" and, sometimes, "turn browsers into buyers."

    This is the first time I visit the HSN website, and although I´m not a fan of online shopping, I spent the last twenty minutes playing in the arcade and yes, I clicked on some of the tabs just to see their products.

    This made me realize this is also a great strategy to attract online gamers to the website and turn them into potential buyers.

    I think I would go back to play in the arcade, and I know some friends that would play and shop too.


  11. Recently, I have started playing games online. But aside from this blog, I doubt I would have ever come across the HSN Arcade site. I doubt any of my friends would have ever come across this site either. No one that I know, myself included, have ever purchased something from HSN, nor do we watch it.
    But, people that are familiar with HSN may stumble upon it or it may be advertised during the broadcasts.
    I think it appeals more to people who are familiar with the HSN model of buying things from the television but not from the Internet.
    In that case, it is an excellent bridge for individuals who may be intimidated, or uncomfortable with online purchasing. And it is a great segue for those who are interested in playing games online but are not tremendously comfortable with an established gaming interface.
    The games are not intimidating. They are approachable and familiar. Sudoku, crosswords, mahjong, slots, and various card games are represented in the HSN Arcade. To me, this particular selection of games suggests an approach that entices folks that enjoy playing old-school games but otherwise would not have ventured to the Internet to play them.
    Rather than attracting a new demographic, I feel that HSN Arcade will familiarize current HSN customers with the digital world. That new-found familiarity could be quite profitable for HSN since they wouldn’t have to allocate as many resources into over-the-phone customer service and cable broadcasting (assuming they want to stream more product presentations online).
    It’s a great motivator for those that enjoy the featured games, and would like to win HSN prizes all whilst watching HSN presentations. It’s a fun, welcoming introduction to the Internet for those who aren’t entirely comfortable with it.
    If it is HSN’s goal to introduce current HSN customers to the digital facet of their business, I feel that the HSN Arcade will be a big winner!