LONDON – Britain’s toney Harrods department store entered the world of home shopping in Europe this month, when a selection of its upmarket goods was featured on CNBC’s `Gold Card Television’ program.
The new series, broadcast across Europe on Saturdays and Sundays between 7 and 9 pm, advertises a selection of Harrods’ products in-between features on travel, fashion and food.
“This is the first time we have piloted, and I stress piloted, the idea in Europe,” a spokesman for Harrods said.
“Interactive shopping is the norm in the US but here it has yet to catch on. We’re going to assess the success of this project with CNBC and decide where to go from there,” he added.
Viewers who wish to purchase goods call a toll free number and are connected to a call center. Payment is by credit card.
“The call center is not located at Harrods – this has been outsourced,” said the spokesman, who declined to identify the teleservices company Harrods chose to handle the calls.
The department store says the reason for entering into the partnership with CNBC Europe is two-fold.
“It’s a selling and public relations exercise. There is a selection of products on offer, lots of footage of the store. So if it isn’t a great selling tool, a lot of people will see the store and perhaps visit us when they next take a vacation in London,” the spokesman said.
CNBC Europe, a Dow Jones and NBC venture, is broadcast to 46 countries in Europe to a potential audience of 50 million.
This is the second time Harrods has sold its goods via TV. Between 1996 and 1997, at the request of the department store’s controversial owner, Al Fayad, Harrods’
products were featured in a handful of slots on QVC.
At the time critics viewed Harrods appearance on the US owned shopping channel as cheapening the image of the UK’s
grandest department store.
“We don’t think this is the case,” the Harrods spokesman said. “There is only one Harrods of Knightsbridge and will only ever be one Harrods of Knightsbridge.”
The store has increasingly utilized direct mail over the last two years and has produced catalogs “for more than one hundred years.”
CNBC Europe is “really excited about this special weekend programming and excited to be in a partnership with Harrods,” according to a CNBC representative, Liz Healy.
“It will provide our viewers in Europe with their first opportunity to buy Harrods’ products via the television,” she added.