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The final link
To make the e-Centers more accessible to youths and teens, Lids has introduced a prepaid debit card. The cards, which are also promoted on Lids.com, can be purchased over the counter and enable customers too young to have a credit card or debit card to make purchases through the e-Centers and the web site.
“You’ve got to have a card to make an online purchase,” notes Murphy. “We introduced the card about the time we began testing the e-Centers and it has been well received in the e-Center environment.”
While initial sales through the e-Centers have been strong, Murphy acknowledges the company faces a delicate balancing act when it comes to keeping in-store sales agents from steering customers away from the e-Centers for fear they will eat into their sales commissions.
To alleviate those fears, Lids has put an employee incentive program in place that pays bonuses to in-store sales agents based on the volume generated by the e-Center at the store in which they work.
“We did not want to create a point-and-click model that competes with our brick-and-mortar model,” Murphy says. “The whole idea is to migrate our web site to our stores so they complement each other.”
So far, it looks like a good fit.
Peter Lucas is a Chicago-based freelance business writer.