I don’t know why the Home Shopping Network TV station remains so successful, but I have a hunch.
People have the need to explain the things they own. They don’t like the idea that they just bought something “because”. When a friend compliments you on your coffee maker, it seems weak to reply, “Uh…yeah…it was on sale, and the color looked good with my countertops.”
The Home Shopping Network gives the uncertain shopping pre-packaged talking points for the stuff they buy. A consumer can spend 30 minutes listening to 2 generic middle-age women awkwardly caress the coffee maker and wax philosophic about how unique the features are, how good the build quality is, how convenient it is to clean, and how the automatic start-timer will change your life. Suddenly, all this information equips the uncertain consumer to defend this unit infinitely better than some random store-bought equivalent.
Secretly, everyone wants to have some point to all their stuff. That’s what HSN provides.
P.S. I’ll bet the online site doesn’t do nearly as well, because it doesn’t share this key trait with the TV station. The online experience isn’t differentiated from any of the better competitors. Price alone isn’t enough, if it doesn’t come with the point of my stuff.