While in Philadelphia for the AAM conference I took the opportunity to visit QVC’s Studio Park. Yes, the home shopping channel. The brochure in my hotel room did a great job of drawing me into the experience as well as offering a $1 off coupon on the tour. I’ll come back to the other two items of collateral, which ended up as take-home mementos.
Many museums do behind-the-scenes tours, so I was curious to see what I could learn from a for-profit enterprise. It was a great experience!
Upon arrival, an effective (but nondescript sign) let me know I was heading in the right direction.
Monitors in the right of the lobby area, locked onto their website, allow people to look up products and learn more about QVC while waiting. Is your museum doing this?
A very friendly face is waiting at the ticket booth, which is colorful and perfectly located. All signage is branded and clear.
This is the back side of the ticket booth (staff opening is on the left). For museums with light but steady attendance, small spaces and small staff size, this could be a great solution to maximize the front desk person’s impact.
Logo items are displayed separately, as soon as you walk in. This allows for impulse buys for people who might not visit the store itself. Interesting idea…
I don’t know how many people buy steaks here, but it’s great that they sell the insulated bags as well. If you sell specialty items, is there a collateral item that would make visitors’ lives easier? Like selling stamps alongside your postcards? And offering an outgoing mail basket?
Of the whole tour, the bathroom was the biggest disappointment. Yes, it was clean. But I was expecting a showcase for all the QVC home products here and feel they really missed this piece of the experience.
The store itself was well laid out and easy to shop. It was fun to see the products “in person,” even though I’m not a QVC shopper.
Unfortunately, they don’t allow you to take photos on the actual tour. But here are 7 highlights that directly apply to museum tours:
- Create a succinct theme and repeat that theme throughout the tour. (QVC’s is “right product, right price, at the right time.”) Easy, memorable, repeated enough times for me to remember it.
- Start with a short overview video that’s fun and well-made. Give people comfy seats to watch it.
- Add two other video stops (on a one-hour tour) to give people a break. If one can be funny (their bloopers reel is hilarious), all the better.
- A timeline of the museum’s notable events can be effective, IF it’s tied to the tour theme.
- All the “back of house” areas are staged for this tour, including the windows looking into offices. If you are building a new museum and plan to offer tours, how can you design spaces and a path for the tour that doesn’t impact operations?
- A long boring hallway was transformed by life-size photo cutouts of the on-air talent. Each has a name tag with how long they’ve worked there, their favorite color, and their favorite movie. It’s like “walking among friends” as one of the other tour participants noted.
- The entire tour built up to a great finale experience: getting to walk out onto the catwalk to be in the studio during the live broadcast.
When I bought my ticket, I was asked if I was a QVC shopper. (I said no.) I was pulled aside before the tour began and given a $10 coupon to try out QVC online. I was also given a tour feedback card (both are in the first photo, above). What a great way to make people feel welcome. How could your museum utilize this concept?
Tip of the day: Ideas are everywhere. If you are doing behind-the-scenes tours, try taking one at a for-profit location to see how they create their experience.