Sharper Image adds a new channel TV

The Internet, 149 stores, and 85 million catalogs annually aren’t enough for high-tech gifts merchant Sharper Image Corp. On Feb. 2 the San Francisco-based company launched its own interactive shopping television channel, Sharper Image ITV.

Broadcast on satellite TV programming provider Dish Network, Sharper Image ITV is initially featuring 25 best-selling Sharper Image products, including its line of Ionic Breeze air purifiers, the iJoy Turbo 2 Massage Chair, and the Emergency Radio/Spotlight. Viewers can make purchases via their Dish remote control rather than having to pick up the phone or head to the Sharper Image Website. According to Dish spokesperson Kelley Baca, Sharper Image ITV is the first channel in the U.S. to offer purchasing via remote control.

“Much like e-commerce,” notes Sharper Image senior vice president of marketing Roger Bensinger, “interactive TV shopping is available 24/7, and you don’t have to get off your couch to do it.”

After a shopper makes a purchase, Dish will bill Sharper Image, which will then bill the customer and ship out the order. Sharper Image is expected to update its offerings at least quarterly, says Baca.

Bensinger says that Sharper Image will keep the prices of products featured on the new channel consistent with the pricing offered via its other channels. “We do not create incentives to give one channel an advantage over another,” he says. “Our goal is for our customers to decide where they want to shop based on their convenience.”

If sales of its best-sellers meet expectations, Sharper Image will consider offering additional products on the channel. “This launch represents more than a test but far short of a rollout of our entire assortment. The plan is to add more products and marketing efforts in phases,” Bensinger explains. “This is a new channel, and we believe it will take a while for customers to take advantage of the new service, but our customers are early adopters, which is one of the reasons Dish chose to launch [this type of channel] with us.”

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