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Kay Jewelers creates a perfect Mother’s Day promotion

BY CSA STAFF

Kay Jewelers has launched an innovative jewelry collection designed to drive traffic to its stores this Mother’s Day.

The retailer has created Miracle Links, a jewelry collection designed with interlinking circles to symbolize the special bond between a mother and her child, now available in select Kay Jewelers stores nationwide and on Kay.com.

"The jewelry category has always been where customers turn to commemorate important relationships, and there is no bond more special than the one between a mother and child," said Ed Hrabak, president, Kay Jewelers. "With the introduction of Miracle Links, there is now a signature gift to celebrate the birth of a child and growth of a family. We are thrilled to be launching the collection in time for Mother's Day, and excited for our guests to experience it firsthand."

The innovative collection celebrates the most important event in life and offers a perfect gift for welcoming a first born or celebrating the entire family. The Miracle Links collection is designed around the circle shape, as it is a well recognized symbol of unity and harmony – sentiments commonly associated with family and the unbreakable bond it represents – while also reflecting that a mother's love never ends, always protects and forever endures. The circle charms are interlinking – a large circle represents the mother and smaller circles, which attach to each other, represent each of her children – allowing a mother to add links each time her family grows.

The Miracle Links collection is available in a variety of styles, meticulously crafted in white, yellow and rose gold (both 10K and 14K) as well as sterling silver. The collection also includes select designs accented with diamonds.

Signet's Sterling Jewelers Division operates Kay Jewelers among its over 1,500 stores in all 50 states and has more than 19,000 employee team members.

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GameStop wants to give power to employee scholars

BY CSA STAFF

As retailers feel the pressure to raise wages for employees, GameStop is focusing on education by giving staffers an incentive to enter the classroom.

GameStop is launching a new scholarship for its employees that would allow them or their children to go to college. The program is called “Power to the Scholars,” a reference to the “Power to the Players” slogan the company has popularized over the years.

The “Power to the Scholars” scholarship will work in partnership with Scholarship America, Inc. as an extension of GameStop’s employee-oriented Gamer Fund. Applications for the program begin on May 1 and can be accessed online through scholarsapply.org. The program will offer 40 scholarships worth a total of $2,500 each or $100,000 in all.

“There’s no better way to invest in our company than by supporting our employees and their families,” said Mike Buskey, president of the Gamer Fund. “The ‘Power to the Scholars’ program will enable us to help employees achieve great things in their careers, their lives, and for their families.”

From May 1 through June 19, 2015, employees and/or their dependents can visit the “Power to the Scholars” websitehttps://scholarsapply.org/powertothescholars to submit an application. For the 2015-2016 school year, GameStop will award 40 scholarships of $2,500 each for a grand total of $100,000 in college aid. Each applicant must meet certain criteria, including current GameStop employment for at least one continuous year and a minimum grade point average of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale on their most recent transcript. Scholarships will be awarded based on financial need, academic performance, demonstrated leadership in school and community activities, work experience, and career and educational goals.

“Our mission is to make higher education more affordable and attainable for all students,” said Lauren Segal, president and chief executive officer, Scholarship America, Inc. “When a company like GameStop recognizes the value of higher education, how it can benefit employees and its broader network, and invests in this type of program, not only does it impact the company in a positive way, but it helps improve economic success for all.”

Selected scholarship recipients will be notified by July 20, 2015. Scholarships can be renewed for use in subsequent years as long as recipients continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

The addition of the “Power to the Scholars” Scholarship program is GameStop’s latest initiative to help protect and support its employees and their families. Since launching in 2012, the Gamer Fund has provided more than $400,000 in assistance to associates in need. The employee-sponsored charitable organization provides financial grants to assist with short-term needs due to unforeseen emergencies or hardships. These events can include the loss of a home due to natural disaster or fire, a death of a spouse or child, or the inability to pay rent due to an illness or injury.

Texas-based GameStop operates more than 6,600 stores across 14 countries.

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Tech Bytes: Three Lessons from the Target-Lilly Pulitzer Fail

BY Dan Berthiaume

In theory, the launch of a limited-time, 250-piece Lilly Pulitzer designer collection on Sunday, April 19 should have been a major coup for Target. Instead, it was a major disaster in marketing, CRM, and operations. By now, the story of how consumer demand for Lilly Pulitzer overwhelmed Target’s website and stores has been told many times. Let’s look at three lessons retailers (including Target) can learn from this experience.

Know Your Customer
In an online Q&A, Target chief merchandising and supply chain officer Kathee Tesija admitted that Target thought it had enough Lilly Pulitzer merchandise to last “several weeks.” Stock cleared out in a few hours.

In this age of social listening, one-to-one customer engagement, etc., it is unacceptable to misjudge customer demand to such a large degree. By performing some simple keyword analysis of social media buzz and reaching out to registered social media followers and loyalty members in advance, Target could have realized just how strong demand for its Lilly Pulitzer collection really was.

In her commentary, Tesija actually references strong social buzz for the collection, which makes Target’s failure even worse. Clearly Target either did not perform enough research or did not properly analyze the social data it collected.

Be Prepared
The Boy Scouts have operated by the two-word motto “Be Prepared” for more than a century, because it works. Target’s website was overwhelmed by sharp spikes in traffic caused by customers looking for Lilly Pulitzer merchandise. Although Target says the site never actually crashed, it had to shut down at least once for maintenance.

Target did not adequately prepare its website for the intense levels of Lilly Pulitzer traffic. The retailer has publicly admitted this was an unacceptable failure and has promised to fully investigate what happened. Target also previously said it would invest $1 billion in digital during 2015.

Pledges to investigate and dedicate money to the problem are all well and good, but don’t get to the heart of the matter. Quite simply, Target did not prioritize website resiliency to the necessary degree. This is an issue of organizational culture and philosophy as much as an issue of IT or budgets.

Target needs to evaluate any situation that might cause a significant increase in Web traffic and then make sure its servers and supporting infrastructure can support traffic and sales volume surges exponentially higher than expected. Boy Scouts always pack a poncho even when the weather forecast is bright and sunny – Target needs to make sure its own digital “poncho” is always at the ready.

Control the Spin
Target has been getting heavily criticized on social media, and general publicity has been pretty negative. It is too early to say whether this incident will cause any long-term damage to Target’s brand image or customer loyalty, but short-term has caused a black eye.

Target did take the correct step of personally replying to Facebook comments, but only offered generic responses to most Twitter complaints, often hours after they were posted. The fact that complaints on Twitter were more numerous and often harsher only made it more critical for Target to do a better job of reaching out there.

Target should also still be more actively reaching out and apologizing to customers even now. Tesija’s public suggestion for customers to check stores for possible Lilly Pulitzer returns might be a nice sentiment, but more cynical observers could view it as an attempt to get miffed customers back in stores.

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