Owned and operated by iMedia Brands, ShopHQ is the American cable, satellite, and live broadcast home-shopping TV network that reaches approximately 90 million US homes with unique shopping entertainment and product storytelling. ShopHQ programming is live-streamed at ShopHQ.com, Facebook, and from the company’s mobile apps for iOS and Android.
ShopHQ promotes a balanced assortment of proprietary and well-known brand names to consumers. A focus on exclusive items, special prices, daily deals, and limited-time offers combined with ‘easy to say yes’ payment options inspire millions of viewers to tune in daily.
In the summer of 2021, the ShopHQ marketing team was tasked with increasing mobile app installs and app engagement from social media as well as from live and recorded broadcasts with hosts including Allie Krings. The team had already concluded that many consumers prefer the app experience over the web, and they saw the ShopHQ mobile app as a key driver of future growth for the company.
Live broadcasting was seen as an easy way to increase app installs and usage immediately. In discussing the topic further, the team wondered if it was enough to simply ask viewers to download the app. What other strategies could the team implement to increase app usage?
‘The ShopHQ mobile app is central to our growth strategy,’ said Jean Sabatier – Executive Vice President and Chief Commerce Officer. ‘A unified experience that ties together television programming and the mobile app requires new ways of thinking and new solutions.’
Driving app installations was important because, in addition to higher sales, another benefit of increased adoption of the app was lower call center activity. App users had fewer questions and a higher average order value, yet they dialed the call center less often. The team brainstormed how they could use app links and QR codes to increase app installs and get users back into the app more often through different marketing channels, including on-air broadcasts.
A more app-focused strategy could also bridge the gap between generations. Millennials and Gen-Z-ers prefer to do most of their shopping on their favorite apps, and increasing app installs could help the company reach a younger generation of shoppers.
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The team set about doing some research and quickly realized that a single link or QR code could potentially bring together the TV audience and the mobile app audience and help the company deliver one, synchronized experience across viewing channels.
The social team had long used regular ShopHQ links in Facebook posts and other social platforms. The challenge with regular links, however, was that they could not open the ShopHQ mobile app for iOS or Android. App users that clicked ShopHQ links from Facebook and other social media platforms were sent to the ShopHQ mobile website. The team realized this experience hurt conversion and frustrated loyal app users.
Links and QR codes that could open the ShopHQ app or go to the right app store when the app was not installed would be ideal. During the discussion, important questions were put forward, such as: what percentage of the shoppers clicking ShopHQ links from social media, QR codes, and other channels had the app installed on their mobile device? This was something the team hoped to learn as they made their social media promotions more app focused.
When promoting app links and on-air QR codes, the team needed control over the fallback URL. Sometimes it made sense to have the fallback be the ShopHQ website, but certain offers and promotions could also be used to drive app installs, so giving the marketing team control over this fallback setting was important.
The team noticed that QR code experiences were all the rage in the marketing industry and that on-air QR codes were quickly becoming the norm on television. ShopHQ wanted to be a part of that new trend. Could on-air QR codes be implemented in a way that would align the mobile app with the products being promoted during the live and recorded broadcasts?
The marketing team at ShopHQ searched for an app linking and QR code solution that did not require development skills or resources. The solution needed to be accessible to the entire team so they could easily create and implement codes for their daily broadcasts and campaigns. Both internal and external contacts at the company recommended URLgenius.
As a cloud-based enterprise solution, the codeless approach of URLgenius was key, as this would help lower the resource burden on the ShopHQ technical team. In addition, the marketing team wanted to get started on the strategy immediately. URLgenius required no coding and no SDK, which meant the team could get to market quicker with app links designed to increase app engagement and app installs.
Working with URLgenius, the team implemented an app linking and QR code solution that addressed all their requirements, including codes that could be scanned to open specific content in the app. Key elements of this strategy included:
URLgenius app links were set up for implementation immediately. The website, email, and social media (paid and organic) were all important drivers of ShopHQ mobile app installs. Single, intelligent URLgenius links enabled the team to remove unnecessary landing pages in the content journey and route the viewer immediately to the right app store depending on the device clicking the link.
The URLgenius app link could be set to open a specific screen in the app and could be used in any channel, including Facebook ads. For brand continuity and to inspire confidence in the link, the ShopHQ domain was for app links regardless of the marketing channel.
The marketing team knew most people watching from home also had their cell phones in their hands, so QR codes that brought the viewer into the app to the right product screen during a live or recorded show were important for increasing engagement and conversion. This can be done by entering the app address in the settings for the link and this can be changed at any time as product promotion changes.
In addition to scanning to open the ShopHQ app to specific product or content screens. The team needed the ability to set the link behind the QR code to go to the right app store if it was not installed or to the corresponding web URL depending on the product and promotion.
While the marketing team needed control over the design and destination of the QR code, the analytics team wanted to be able to measure the number of scans for each code and if the code opened the app, the app store, or the website when scanned. URLgenius delivered on all of these requirements, plus offered training on QR code customization best practices, which include the proper scaling of the on-screen display size, density, color(s), and other aspects of the QR code. From there, they were able to optimize their QR code performance:
The results of ShopHQ’s new app linking and QR code engagement strategy became immediately clear. When the team started using URLgenius app links and then QR on-air QR codes they could see an immediate increase in app engagement and app installs.
Since using URLgenius, ShopHQ has seen the following results:
Another previously unknown insight was understanding which types of products have a higher concentration of app users. For example, consumers with an interest in jewelry and clothing have a higher app install rate.
URLgenius delivered and the results proved the marketing ShopHQ team’s theory that an app-focused multi-channel strategy would immediately pay dividends.
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