A home shopping host is the main person seen on screen during a home shopping television show. The host’s primary duty is to present the products being sold in the best possible light by explaining their features and enticing the audience to call in and purchase them. The host may also introduce special guests and keep the conversation flowing in an entertaining way.
The main role of the home shopping host is to sell products, which requires keeping viewers from changing the channel long enough to learn about each product. A good personality is essential to fulfilling this role. When home shopping networks first gained in popularity, the choices were limited to one or two shows. Now, most cable stations carry several home shopping networks. If viewers cannot relate to the host on one show, they are likely to switch to another channel, so the host must always exhibit the type of personality that keeps viewers from moving on.
Home shopping hosts are able to clearly articulate ideas and improvise when necessary. Each product is on the television screen for a limited amount of time, typically around ten minutes. With some products, it can be difficult to explain all the features in such a short time, while with others the host may struggle to find enough material to cover the entire ten minutes. Finding the right pace to ensure that all the pertinent details are covered and there are no lingering moments of silence is a skill that takes practice
Throughout the show, special guests may be presented to explain more about the products to entice the audience to make a purchase. The home shopping host typically introduces guests to the audience and asks questions that prompt the guest to interact with the audience, both in the studio and at home. Most interview questions are written before the segment, but the host should be able to recognize when unscripted follow-up questions will be beneficial to viewers.
Most home shopping shows are aired live, meaning in real time, rather than being prerecorded. If the segment is filmed in front of a live audience, the host may be required to stay on the stage for the entire shift, up to several hours at a time. Even if the studio does not use a live audience, the home shopping host must still maintain a professional “on-air” personality for an extended period. While good public speaking skills come in handy, mistakes may still be made, and the ability to recover quickly is essential.
Although the segments may be scripted in advance and prepared by the marketing team for the product, the home shopping host should still be able to do some research ahead of time. Knowing the basics about the product beyond what is written on a script can help make the host sound more believable. A good host knows how to make the audience believe the product being presented will somehow enrich their lives.