The web is already full of services that combine commerce and social networking, most notably Facebook (s FB) and Pinterest. But that isn’t stopping cable shopping channel QVC from launching a social network of its very own.
After a summer of testing with beta users, the company on Monday officially launched toGather, a Pinterest-like social network for QVC shoppers.
The launch comes about nine months after QVC acquired Oodle, an online classifieds site that ultimately powered the Facebook Marketplace, to boost its profile in social commerce.
“One thing that always impressed me about QVC is that they really excel in shopping as entertainment,” said Craig Donato, the former CEO of Oodle who is now the VP of social at QVC. “QVC on television is this inherently social experience… Now the web has evolved and there’s a real opportunity for QVC to reinvent what it does for online.”
The company says it reaches 250 million homes globally with its live product-centric programming. But, increasingly, it’s connecting its identity to new media platforms. Even though the web already offers so many options for brands and online retailers to combine socializing and shopping, as QVC goes digital, it sees social commerce as a key driver of growth. Its e-commerce business generates 37 percent of its global revenues (or about $2.9 billion) and, in the last year, customers who engaged with at least one of QVC’s social channels generated more than half a billion dollars in revenue.
Through toGather, users can follow other shoppers and featured brands on QVC, see what’s trending online, “heart” items they like and curate their own collections of goods.