December 26, 2000, 9:55 AM

Topper site is tops

Lids.com has covering your dome covered. With baseball and Gilligan-style hats an important part of the under-30 uniform, Lids is filling the niche.

“They are focused on their market and do a great job of getting at it,” says John Lovett, sporting goods analyst with Gomez Advisors. One of the most impressive things about the site, he adds, is that it makes it easy for teens to buy. Lids offers phone cards in its bricks-and-mortar stores that customers can use online and offline. About 100 of the 400 stores have kiosks (which Lids calls e-centers) for ordering hats that are not on the shelf. Lids uses a store locator map on its site to let visitors know where to find a bricks-and-mortar Lids. Lovett commends Lids for its ability to integrate online and real-world stores.

Lids President Nancy Babine-Kucinski says integrating online and offline operations is the backbone of Lids’ online plan. “We really believe technology is the best way to serve customers,” she says. Lids.com is profitable and accounts for nearly 10% of the company’s sales. “We see that percentage increasing tremendously in time.”

The site is simple and clean, with several search options. The lingo is hip and the information vital to the Lids’ market of mostly 12- to 24-year-old males. The site offers a cleverly named “Melon Meter” that allows users to print a head-measuring template for hat sizing. The site also tells users how to make the perfect bill curve and how to wash the different hats.

Another feature to lure young shoppers is a lids-for-less section. Here a pictured grocery list of discounted hats shows the former price and the current price. Some hats are discounted as much as $15, selling for only $5. Another factor to appeal to teens: Lids shoppers can get free shipping by having the order sent to a Lids store and picking it up.

Lids.com

Westwood, Mass.

Monthly visitors: 100,000+

Sales: N/A

Went live: August 1999

Design by: Four-Point Partners &
Concrete Media

OS: Exodus

E-C Software: Interworld

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