The world of home shopping television rarely pulls back the curtain to allow viewers and customers to see the true inner workings of a home shopping network. As home shopping hosts ourselves who have over a decade of experience in the industry, we’re lifting that curtain revealing the top ten home shopping secrets that can save you a lot of cash!
1. Best Times to Buy: As home shopping hosts, one question we always get is “when is the best time to shop?” You’re always going to be able to purchase the “hot” items during primetime hours, but some of the best deals appear on home shopping television when the viewing audience is smaller which is late at night and early in the morning. Perfect for night owls and early birds!
2. Sense of Urgency is For Real: The sense of urgency to “buy now” because you can’t get this price anywhere else is often times a reality. Home shopping networks have the leverage to negotiate a lower price on goods found on store shelves and from online retailers, so take full advantage of the savings while they last! (However, read the next tip for insurance)
3. Do your home-work: That same sense of urgency to “buy now” can sometimes be misleading, which is why it’s up to you to do your own homework. While watching your favorite shopping network, utilize technology and your multi-tasking skills to quickly look online to ensure that the product isn’t available for a lower price elsewhere.
4. Surf, Ship, Save: Many home shopping networks are making more than fifty percent of their overall profit through online sales, which also means you can find fantastic deals when you surf their sites! Take advantage of free shipping deals, it’s not just a gimmick to get you to buy. Customers can really save a lot of money when shipping fees are waived and by surfing the network’s website for online deals!
5. Don’t Get Tricked: In a world where even supermodels are photo-shopped to perfection, it’s easy to understand why products on a home shopping network would be photographed under the best lighting as well. Our rule-of-thumb is to focus on the product shots that are taken live with the on-air host, rather than the pre-shot ones, for a realistic and honest look at what you’ll be taking home.
6. ASK Questions: Thousands of home shopping customer service representatives are at your fingertips, so take advantage of their knowledge! You are in the driver’s seat and if you didn’t get a product measurement, need more details about the lifetime guarantee, or just want to know more, feel free to call in and ask any product-related question you need to feel confident in your buying decision.
7. No Dough? No Go: Far too often, we see the pitfalls of customers who shop emotionally rather than rationally, and no home shopping host wants customers to buy something they can’t afford. Some networks offer payment installment plans, but our advice is, if you don’t have the dough, the purchase is a no go!
8. Know-Return policy: Every shopping network offers different stipulations in their return-policy, so it’s up to you to ask the customer service representatives the right questions before you pay up. Save yourself a lot of heartache by asking questions like this: How long do I have to return something? Will I get a full refund, or house-credit? Is this a final sale?
9. Beware of the Screen: Have you ever heard the phrase, “read the fine print?” It’s a very true statement and applies to the world of home shopping in terms of the on-air graphics that appear on the screen. Read those graphics thoroughly and ask your customer service agent questions to ensure that you are indeed buying 14KT gold and not 14KT gold overlay, or that you’re actually getting a mother-nature made gemstone and not a lab-created look alike!
10. Auctions Save You Money: Many home shopping networks offer auction formats at certain times of the day and they’re a great way to get incredible items at even better prices! If you’re not sure when these auction shows take place, simply call the network’s customer service line or visit their website for details.
11. Bonus Tip: Don’t Shoot the Messenger! We take our job seriously when it comes to informing, entertaining and aiding you in buying products that we know you’ll love, use and share with others. And we completely understand if you’re not satisfied with a purchase or would like a refund, but sometimes the host gets blamed for things that are out of their control. We will gladly talk slower (viewers request that a lot!), change our hairstyle (yes, viewers request that too!), or wear different clothes (lots of fashionistas in the world of home shopping TV customers!), but when it comes to things that are out of the hosts’ control, contact customer service to get your problem resolved! We will do anything and everything for our customers, but please don’t shoot the messenger!
Brook Roberts and Tara Gray are stars of TLC’s new show The Good Buy Girls, premiering Wednesday June 5th at 10/9c. The series tracks the former pageant girls, as they launch careers as hosts of a home shopping show.