Can Qurate Retail Group become the Netflix of beauty commerce?

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Can Qurate Retail Group become the Netflix of beauty commerce?
At yesterday’s CEW event in New York City, Qurate CEO Mike George told the sold-out room that he thinks it’s a realistic goal. Beauty is big business in the new age of retail; the personal care, cosmetics, and fragrance sectors generate annual sales of $2bn + for Qurate (the new umbrella company of QVC, HSN, etc.). And the company's dynamic 27,000-person team is “ready to go wherever the customer goes.”

Late last year QVC acquired HSN; and earlier this month the retail group (which also comprises zulily, Ballard Designs, FrontGate, Garnet Hill, grandin road, and improvements) rebranded as Qurate, as Cosmetics Design reported​.

“There are no boundaries on what Qurate can do,”​ Mike George, CEO of Qurate Retail Group, said at Wednesday’s CEW event, explaining that long-standing companies can be unnecessarily restricted by institutional expectations and the arbitrary guiderails of historical president. “Qurate, as an idea, lets us lift our heads and get into the future,” ​George said.

Outstanding retail brands

Qurate is quite content to be a retail entity unto itself. The company exists “beyond bricks and beyond clicks…as a third way to shop,” ​according to a video introducing the new company that was shown as part of yesterday’s CEW event. As George sees it, Qurate is “differentiated from traditional retail, traditional brick-and-mortar, but also equally differentiated from transactional ecommerce.”

“What would it be like to be the Netflix of commerce?” ​wondered George aloud; emphasizing that the team at Qurate is dedicated to keeping the company agile enough to be “the place for amazing video shopping content” ​regardless of the inevitable platform changes that come along as all things digital continue to transform how consumers engage with content and brands.  

Building beauty brands

Jenni B Fine, executive beauty editor at WWD, led the conversation with George and asked several questions about how beauty brands can position themselves to partner with Qurate and thrive in the video commerce space.

When considering new cosmetics, fragrance, and personal care brand partners, Qurate hopes to “find amazing people who connect in an authentic way and continue to innovate,” ​said George. But it takes more than amazing people and great product from new brands and innovative mainstays to be successful on QVC or HSN.

Qurate is a unique retail ecosystem and the brands that flourish there appreciate the nuances of the medium and create product that is patently a part of the community and immersive experience Qurate shoppers know and love. “It takes a while to understand the model,” ​acknowledged George, “to speak to the customer and adapt your product development to the model.”

And while the company has no plans to formally incubate or accelerate beauty brands, “we do see ourselves as a brand builder,”​ said George, who went on to say that Qurate works with its brand partners to ensure they are worthy of customers’ time and attention.



Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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