The Major Reason Why Amazon Failed in Its Shipping Show “Style Code Live” (and What We Learned from Its Failure)
Launched in March of 2016, Style Code Live, the Amazon version of QVC was launched to provide a home shopping experience that was streamed online and to mobile devices used by Amazon shoppers. The channel was seemingly ripe for success because Amazon itself was already the largest, most successful online retailer in the world.
In addition, the channel was augmented by adding fashion and beauty experts who provided valuable advice in terms of personal style, fashion news, and tips for looking your best. Yet just over a year later, Style Code Live folded on Memorial Day weekend of 2017.
Just how could an online channel that was built on the remarkable success of Amazon and augmented by the proven formula of QVC not succeed? It seemed rather impossible considering the backing the channel received and the relatively low overhead of the production considering that it was designed for online use and not the broadcast airwaves. Yet, it did fail and while there were some significant reasons as to why, there was one overriding factor that seemed to play the most important role. The #1 reason is pretty straightforward: Lack of Focus.
Although Style Code Live was helmed by proven talent, the channel itself seemed to be a cross between a typical home shopping channel and a light daytime talk show that talked about style, fashion, and beauty tips. While Amazon did not release the number of viewers who tuned into the channel or how many sales were generated by the products sold, it does appear that the main reason for its failure was the lack of focus in combining two different TV genres.
In essence, people who enjoy shopping channels like QVC and HSN obviously got bored in watching the tips and reality show aspects of the channel. Meanwhile, those who liked listening to tips and guest appearances by the likes of Kourtney Kardashian (Instagram) and Sarah Jessica Parker (Twitter) were probably turned off by the push to sell the products. Hard sell and soft sell rarely work well together, and this may have been the overriding reason why Style Code Live met its demise.
What is interesting is that Style Code Live appeared to fail on all levels. Before deleting its social media accounts, the show garnered on the order of 42,000 Facebook likes, 69,000 followers on Instagram, and about 18,000 followers on Twitter. Comparatively speaking, these are paltry numbers considering the channel’s potential. In addition, the YouTube channel for the show demonstrated the same lack of interest which meant that Style Code Live never really took off, so it did not have to fall far to be a failure.
The direction of the channel to use YouTube influencers augmented by celebrity guests did not translate as well. When you consider that Kourtney Kardashian has about 57 million Instagram followers, you can see just how small the audience for Style Choice Live was at the time. It didn’t help that the production costs, which were relatively low for a YouTube channel, were enhanced considerably by adding stars and well-paid personalities to the show. The key to any business succeeding is to limit expenses as much as possible. The problem was that the celebrities the channel did pull in apparently did not pull in their followers which made them too expensive for what little attention they provided.
Although the sales figures are not known, it can be assumed that from the small audience on social media that the sales results were disappointing as well. Had the channel sold its products in the expected numbers, then it would still be on YouTube regardless of its social media following.
What MD Online Boutique Has Learned from the Failure of Style Code Live (and Why It Has a Better Chance to Succeed)
What should be noted from the failure of Style Choice Live is that there is plenty of potential for businesses to succeed with the home shopping format. Although not nearly the size of Amazon, MD Online Boutique actually would have a better chance to succeed for several reasons.
1. Focus: Because MD is aimed at the female shopper base, it has the chance to succeed where a giant like Amazon could not. This is in large part because MD provides a better shopping experience in fashion compared to Amazon which is more akin to a large department store.
Amazon is simply too big, offering too many items that prevents it from focusing on the right customer base for such a channel like Style Code Live to really work. However, because MD is aimed at the female shoppers looking for the best in fashion, they can draw in the type of audience that provides for success.
2. Better User Experience: With MD, it’s not just providing a superior product, but also a superior user experience that helps bolster success. Because MD provides a known user quality, it means that the viewers enjoy a better experience in watching the short videos from its YouTube channel and getting the most out of it. A better experience translates to a stronger audience which in turn provides for substantial, long-term growth without the need for expensive stars to drain the budget.
3. Quality of the Products: In addition to the user experience is the known quality of the products and service provided by MD. The reputation the company has built over the years provides a platform for success on its social media channels like Pinterest that other companies like Amazon cannot take advantage.
For those who specialize in a single industry, the potential for success on social media sites is considerable. That may be the best reason why MD can succeed where other, larger companies have failed.
Because MD is a proven company that occupies a celebrated place in the fashion world, their social media channels can succeed where a giant like Amazon was virtually doomed to fail. Focus, user experience, and reputation for quality are the essential elements for success. For those looking to see if a Style Code Live type of show can make it, look no further than MD. Give it a try.