Here is a loose overview of how shopping channels structure their programming, how you can deliver within the format in the role of the host, and some tricks of the trade that will put you a step ahead of the competition! Again, this isn’t the exact order of how you need to present and you don’t have to hit every single thing below, but it is a general format.
Shopping Channel Host v. Guest Expert
You will notice that most shopping channels usually also have a guest expert or brand ambassador there on behalf of the product being sold. it’s their role to support the host and provide any information about the product the host may not know. This can be the owner/inventor of the product, someone hired from the company to represent it, or even someone who has gone through training to speak on behalf of the product and company. Their job is to be dynamic and help the host communicate the features and benefits of the product. Guest experts do NOT list item numbers or price, take phone calls, or open or close the segment. They are the guest of the host’s show and are expected to stay in that role. This doesn’t mean that they should not have speaking points prepared and an idea of what they want to communicate, when, and how. But it does mean that it’s their role to be the guest in the host’s home and allow the host to be the lead.
a “The next item we have for sale is Flashy Lashes, the last lashes you’ll ever need to wear!”
b THEN problem -> solution -> product OR offer the problem, then introduce the product and solution (be sure to talk about what this means to the viewers and why they should care).
2: Item # & Price! This is not usually included in the audition for these net- works.
3: The hosts on these networks do talk about deals like “Interest free for $_ and if you put it on your QVC/HSN card, you get reduced shipping and handling!” OR “Today’s Top Value,” but you will usually skip this during the audition process. It is good for you to know, though.
4: Story, feature -> Story, feature. We don’t just want to list of all the product specifications. Build a story or personal anecdotes around features to make them more interesting so we don’t just tune out.
5: Tour the product. How does it feel, taste, smell, etc.? The best way to do this is to look at the product and think of all the questions you might have if you were buying it as a consumer. Put it in their hands!
6: Figure out what it does and all the problems it’s addressing and then create stories to weave. For example, from the Flashy Lashes above: “You’ll never have to worry about mascara running or flaking on you again!” (problem it solves) “I can’t tell you all of the mascaras I’ve gone through that have flaked all over my under-eyes or ran down my face when I sneezed. It can be such a mess!” (story to support the problem)
7: You are always talking to “HER,” as your demographic is made up almost entirely of women, ages forty and up. Remember, this means speaking to one person! Avoid “you all,” “everybody,” “everyone,” etc.
8: You want to take a casual conversational tone and presenting approach. That means speaking at a warmer, slower conversational pace, as if you are talking to an acquaintance you want to get to know more and become friends. This is NOT a hard sell!
9: Don’t overwhelm with facts and figures. Think about explaining things in a way that your grandmother would be able to follow.
10: Be self-deprecating and always assure your audience you’re on their team. Examples: “I’m no tech wizard. If it has more than three steps, I’m done!” “We moms need to stick together.” “Hey, if you’re like me, you’re a little klutzy.”
Popular shopping networks include:
For more on the main areas of hosting, check out the all-new book,
Shannon O’Dowd is an on-camera host, commercial spokesperson, & media training/on-camera instructor. Shannon has been working on both sides of the camera for well over a decade. I eat, sleep, and breath on-camera training and coaching. I Literally wrote the book on how to prepare and embellish your on-camera performance. Finding talent managers and eventually agents means focusing on building out your resume, headshots, and sizzle reel. Having on-camera training can get you ready for the audition. I go above and beyond for my clients and teach up and coming professionals and established talent all over the Los Angeles area. Reach out! I want to continue to build a thriving community of entertainers.