Clearwater, Fla. – Multichannel retailer/product marketer As Seen On TV is taking advantage of the burgeoning crowd-funding trend to let its customers help decide what new products will be available for sale. Partnering with crowd-funding software provider Launcht Inc., As Seen On TV will allow inventors to upload video, images, design specifications and marketing strategies relating to their product ideas onto its e-commerce site. Customers will then be able to comment on, review and make prepurchases of products. Those items with the best customer response and highest presale totals will be brought to market, with crowd-funders having special early access.
"This is a significant opportunity for our company and a terrific way to interact with consumers worldwide," said Ronald C. Pruett, Jr., president and CEO of As Seen On TV. "We will use the feedback and consumer response to influence the product design and distribution channels we select.”
Pruett is correct that early customer response to proposed merchandise can provide valuable real-time feedback while products and marketing campaigns are still being developed. In addition, this program is a great means of creating customer intimacy and a sense of empowerment that would likely drive loyalty.
However, having customers allocate dollars to prepurchases of items that may never hit the market will require taking the time and expense of processing refunds, and also may create disappointment and possibly even anger among customers who hope to get early access to a favorite product and instead are told it will not be available. As Seen On TV is probably better off selecting products based on customer commentary and review, and then accepting early crowd-funding purchases before they are made available to the general public.
As Seen On TV expects to launch its crowd-funding program later this summer.