QVC Pulls Beauty iQ Off-Air, Makes Subscription Box the Next Millennial Play

QVC is making some updates to its Millennial strategy.
Most notably, the multiplatform retailer in April quietly pulled the Beauty iQ channel from cable networks in favor of shifting focus to its digital and app presence. Also, during its Black Friday in July digital event today, QVC will launch a subscription beauty box — the Try It Love It, or TILI, box — that will be promoted by influencers.
QVC has tried sampling boxes before, but the TILI is its first play at subscription. The monthly cost is $25 plus tax and shipping, and the first, a collaboration with influencer Lauren McBride, contains eight full- and sample-size products from brands such as Sunday Riley, Bare Minerals, Becca and Origins.
Though QVC is admittedly late to the game on subscription boxes, "We knew it would be a great way to connect with the consumer, and we think this could be a substantial business," said Rob Robillard, the company's vice president of beauty merchandising. The TILI box is an opportunity for data collection, but the retailer is also expecting strong conversion, he added.
QVC is hoping to foster a community with the TILI, going so far as to create a private Facebook group called "I Love My TILI," for those who love their subscription boxes and want to communicate with others who also love their boxes — not unlike private Facebook fan groups for beauty podcasts such as Fat Mascara and Glowing Up.
TILI is launching during QVC's "Black Friday in July," shopping event, which airs on Facebook Live. It is 12 hours of streaming content including live interviews, guests, "surprises" and giveaways, and last year was's highest referral day from social media traffic dating back to October 2015.
With the removal of Beauty iQ from cable and the digital-only, influencer-backed launch of TILI, it seems that QVC is acknowledging that its younger audience lives and shops on social and isn't necessarily tuning into the home shopping networks on television.
"In the past 24 months, the company has really embraced social and the role of influencers to drive the total business," Robillard said.
Beauty iQ was launched in 2016 as a home shopping channel dedicated solely to beauty with an emphasis on social media, and was at the time seen by the industry as QVC's big attempt to draw in a Millennial audience. Though now off-air and viewable only on and its social media channels, as well as streaming devices like AppleTV and Roku, Beauty iQ "is an integral part of our growth plans for beauty," according to a statement from the company.
Going forward, Beauty iQ is to focus on "delivering a beauty experience that's customized for small screens, featuring clip-based beauty shows that align to digital beauty stories, such as top beauty finds under $50," in order to continue attracting Millennials to QVC.
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