lids
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Specialty chain beefs up loyalty program, goes mobile

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Lids Sports Group is giving its fans something to cheer about.

In addition to unveiling Access Pass, Lids’ new rewards program that features exclusive deals and invitations to once-in-a-lifetime experiences, the retailer also launched a new mobile app to keep members instantly connected to their account.

The app, which is available for iOS and Android devices, enables members to track Access Pass points and rewards, engage with Lids’ social channels, and receive exclusive in-app offers. The app also can be customized to track merchandise for users’ favorite teams and brands.

Shoppers can download the app in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Access Pass replaces the Lids Club loyalty program. Existing Lids Club members will have the option to join Access Pass immediately or once their membership expires, the retailer said.

Lids also features two versions of its new loyalty program. Access Pass Premium, which requires a $5 annual fee, rewards members will receive 10 points for every dollar spent. Once 1,000 points are accrued, members will receive a $10 reward toward their next purchase, which is redeemable at any of Lids’ more than 1,300 retail locations across North America, or online.

Members are also eligible for sneak peeks on new exclusive Lids merchandise, special gifts on birthdays, early access to special sales in-store and online, 20% off on all headwear and embroidery, and 10% off apparel and novelties. Members can also participate in exclusive sweepstakes for the chance to win experiences at highly-anticipated entertainment and sporting events, including tickets to the Chicago Cubs and the Indianapolis 500, Lids reported.

A free version of Access Pass is also available. It rewards members with five points for every dollar spent, and features limited incentives.

“The new loyalty program is another way for us to recognize and reward our most loyal fans.” said Jeff Pearson, senior VP of marketing and e-commerce at Lids. “Through Access Pass, we also look forward to engaging with newly-devoted consumers who embody the qualities of today’s headwear culture and transforming them into brand advocates, while simultaneously attracting the next generation of shoppers.”

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abof
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Indian fashion retailer personalizes experience with cognitive learning

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Fashion retailer abof is breaking new ground by leveraging machine learning and natural language to better service its online shoppers.

Aditya Birla Online Fashion (abof) sells apparel, footwear and accessories for men and women, and has a strong millennial consumer base. Knowing this customer segment expects a highly convenient and distinctive customer service, abof needed a way to personalize its online experience.

To achieve its goal, abof partnered with IBM to integrate natural language questions within its e-commerce platform. Not only does abof expect the solution to drive greater personalization and streamline product recommendations, but leveraging natural language questions is a first for India’s retail market, the retailer reported.

The new question and answer interface leverages Watson’s Natural Language Classifier, a service understands the intent behind text and returns a corresponding classification, and delivers a confidence score; as well as IBM’s Retrieve and Rank machine learning capability.

The combination of solutions, both delivered on IBM Cloud, enables shoppers to ask natural language questions about abof's unique product assortment, and then receive custom responses to their inquiries. For example, if a customer types, "where can I find a red floral dress?" or "show me black shoes below INR 2000,” these inquiries are recognized and understood by the system, and then will recommend top matches to the shopper.

"The business of fashion has experienced extreme change in recent years," said Prashant Gupta, president and CEO, abof.

"Our aim is to create seamless and convenient shopping experiences for our customers in the digital world,” Gupta said. “This is a start of our cognitive journey and we plan to implement more Watson-enabled solutions in the future to continue our momentum."

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Earns Kohls
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Kohl’s taps former Best Buy exec as chief marketer

BY Marianne Wilson

Kohl’s Cos. has a new chief marketer.

The retailer on Monday named former Best Buy marketing executive Greg Revelle as chief marketing officer. He will be responsible for Kohl’s marketing organization and overall marketing strategy, including its focus on driving customer engagement through analytics, enhancing the loyalty platform, accelerating customer traffic and continuing to build Kohl’s overall brand position. Revelle will report to Michelle Gass, chief merchandising and customer officer.

Revelle most recently served as chief marketing officer of Best Buy, a position he held from 2014 until March 2017, where he was responsible for marketing, customer strategy, brand positioning and execution across all channels and customer touch points.

Prior to Best Buy, Revelle served as chief marketing officer at AutoNation. He also previously was VP of worldwide online marketing at Expedia Inc

Kohl’s has not had a chief marketing officer since Julie Gardner departed the chain in November 2012. Gass has overseen the marketing functions.

“Greg will be a strong addition to our senior leadership team,” said Gass. “He is uniquely experienced in reaching customers in more relevant and personal ways. We are excited to have him lead our efforts in driving omnichannel traffic, building strong customer engagement and leveraging data-driven insights to create powerful customer interactions.”

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