Release Date:December 02, 2009
Summary:A classic stand-by for convenient, at-home shopping, now available on your even more convenient iPhone.
It’s odd that many of my childhood memories involve QVC. I remember thinking it was a household name, and maybe it was, among mothers in their 30s and 40s in the 1990s – especially in Pennsylvania, where QVC was founded – but I was the only kid in my school who would refer to her sweater with, “Oh yea, my mom ordered this on QVC,” and be met with confused stares, a quizzical eyebrow, and the silent, collective agreement that Jackie was making up things again. All these girls were doing trendy things, like buying cheap earrings at Claire’s, donning the tennis shoes in neon hues and graffiti from ESPIRIT, and doing funny things I won’t mention here with scrunchies, the hair accessory that will never die. But, mom was, and is, a huge QVC fan, and there was many an afternoon spent playing Legos with my brothers, with my mom at the couch, writing down item numbers from QVC and then dialing in a hurry. Many a cooking set, pair of shoes, jacket and bizarre tchotke in our home could claim their lineage from QVC.
In the beginning, QVC – standing for Quality, Value, Convience – mostly catered to the stay-at-home mom demographic who couldn’t find the time to shop and would thus watch television, and buy whatever she needed, at good, reduced prices. But in the late 1980s and ensuing decade, the QVC corporation underwent a series of huge mergers that would broadcast QVC for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with expanded merchandise, and celebrity endorsements that skyrocketed its national appeal. My mother, to this day, keeps her eyes peeled for Today’s Special Value, an item with its price nearly slashed in half. In the mid 1990′s, with the commercialized advent of the internet (I still can’t believe I witnessed it’s birth – mind you, I was in the fourth grade), QVC began offering its services via the web, as any well-minded business would do, and newer generations developed more of an affinity with the web-based service over the televised one. Naturally, with the advent of the iPhone, and the way it’s changed our lives, condensing the internet, mail, phone and computer into one handheld device, QVC made the wise move to create their own iPhone app, to once again appeal to another generation of technology.
The QVC iPhone app maintains the clean interface and ease-of-use of all previous QVC incarnations, and for that, it successfully upholds that diehard standard for Quality. The main page opens to all the QVC essentials: the One Time Only Value, the Today’s Special Value, and two tabs that link you to the item currently on air and items recently on air, respectively. A large banner beneath shows a vibrant, multiracial woman with the phrase “Whole You” adjacent, representing QVC’s recent line of wellness products for women. The ad for this is rife with beautiful women, in beautiful situations, resplendent in pinks and soft hues, and doing those beautiful girlish things like loving animals, smelling flowers, winking flirtatiously, and just being, well, beautiful women. It caters the idea that Whole You will help every woman find what makes her unique – a beautiful marketing ploy at materialism, I could coyly say. But, on to more technical matters.
When recently tapping on the item currently on air tab (a picture is shown beside it), I was shocked to see a pair of lovely, scrunched leather boots for the ridiculously low price of $40.00. Mind you, in another clever marketing tactic, QVC peppers their name all over their business – in this case, the price is called “QVC price,” and it’s been called that since the 1990s. That’s a Value, indeed, if I may point out another upholding of the QVC standards. I can zoom in on the picture if desired, read a product description (usually including measurements), select among an array of colors and sizes, and then, should I absolutely need this product, I can buy in one of two incredibly easy ways: I may call, just by tapping Call to Order, or, if I’m a QVC member, I can even more easily tap the Speed Buy tab. The Speed Buy instantly sends the purchase through to your online account, with your stored credit card, shipping and billing information (a long Privacy Agreement is given, for those with deep trust issues skepticism). So, no more punching numbers, ladies, all you need to do is tap a button, and recite the easily seen Item number at the top of the page (the Rialto Pull-on Scrunch Boots w/Belted Straps are #A95235). QVC was convenient to begin with, so I applaud their ability to outdo themselves over and over again.
In the Featured Tab section, you can browse by New Today, Customer Top Rated, and Most Wished For, each of which usually contain great items at great prices (or, at least, they’re never above the price you would find in a store). If you don’t feel like browsing, then just tap on the Search tab, and search to your heart’s delight; also, any previous searches you have performed will conveniently appear below, should you want to return to a specific search. My one problem with the search function is the lack of filters – for a big site like QVC, I’d like the option to filter my search results based on price, from low-to-high, or the highest-rated. Price, really, is a big one, especially for a site that touts Value and Convenience so much. When searching for a television, not only was I bombarded with vast price ranges in random order, I was also presented with various tv-related items, like media stands, remote controls, and covers (yes, TV covers). It’d be nice to refine my search to solely televisions.
In the end, however, QVC is remarkably convenient, and priced at a great value of zero dollars. For anyone who uses sites like Overstock.com, SteepandCheap, or even Sephora, QVC is a great app to find great values, for just a phone call or finger tap away. And yes, it still mostly caters to women.