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A Marketer’s Review of Lids Access Pass Premium

I’ve developed a bit of a hat problem.

Every time we go to the mall, or any store for that matter, I always seem to gravitate towards the hat rack. Dad hats, trucker hats, snapbacks, I love them all.

In my defense, I do go through hats quite a bit, especially in the summer. After work and on the weekends, I spend a lot of time outdoors and the sun is always shining on my head.

So, I wear a hat to protect my noggin from the sun (and I think I look better in one). Therefore, I thought it would make sense to join Lids Access Pass Premium.

Here are my honest thoughts around the program.

Lids Access Pass in a Nutshell

Lids uses a tiered approach to their loyalty program. Lids Access Pass is free to join and offers benefits typical of a traditional loyalty program. Members must spend over time to get rewards that come later.

Here’s a breakdown of the Lids Access Pass program.

  • Join for free
  • 5 points per dollar spent
  • $10 reward per 1000 points
  • Birthday gift
  • Early notifications on limited editions and special offers

Having to spend $400 to basically get a free hat didn’t really seem like a great proposition to me. What I was really interested in was the Lids paid loyalty program. While there was still a points component to it, the benefits looked much more valuable.

Here’s a breakdown of the Lids Access Pass Premium loyalty program.

  • $5 annual membership fee
  • 10 points per dollar spent
  • $10 reward per 1000 points
  • Birthday gift
  • Early notifications, plus access to purchase early limited edition and special offers
  • 20% off hats
  • 10% off apparel, novelties, and accessories
  • Buy one, get one

What really attracted me to the paid program was the instant discount. I could really get behind a discount on every purchase.

(The Lids website states that the 20% off, 10% off and BOGO doesn’t apply to the first item purchased, but it was applied for me on the first hat I bought after I signed up.)

In this age of instant gratification, customers expect everything immediately. Giving them great benefits that they can use 24/7/365 is a must if you want to create real loyalty.

In this interview, Lids Senior Vice President, E-Commerce & Marketing Jeff Pearson talks about how Lids’ best customers are more engaged, but also have higher expectations.

At the end of the day, I’m actually a Lids customer, so this applies to me as well. I was excited to sign up and start using the program.

The Lids Access Pass In-Store Signup Experience

I already knew that I would be signing up for Access Pass Premium before I entered the store, but I had to pretend I didn’t know much about the program to see how things could go down for another customer.

There was some great in-store signage present which clearly outlined the two tiers and their respective benefits. I knew a little bit about the program already, but the signs made the benefits structure easy to understand.

Basically, both programs earned you points that could be turned into discounts later, but the paid premium loyalty program also offered instant benefits that could be used every time a member engaged for an annual fee. Great!

What surprised me a little was the POS experience.

Your Employees Are Key to In-Store Joins

After picking out a lovely maroon hat that really caught my eye, I proceeded to the register. While there was a display sign about the program on the counter, the sales associate didn’t mention it. He simply rang up the hat.

I asked, “Can you tell me a little bit about the loyalty program?”

The associate then explained to me very clearly what the free program entailed. I pried further.

“What about the premium loyalty program?”

He also did a wonderful job explaining the paid tier, but I had to ask about it. And after explaining it to me, he didn’t ask if I wanted to sign up.

So, I asked him.

I also asked him to look up my email address to see if I was already a member of the free tier. I was. The entire checkout process went smoothly from there, but I had to wonder how many missed join opportunities had happened that day and that week and so on.

Signage and marketing materials are great, but ultimately, it’s the humans in the store that make or break the final leg of the join journey.

Using Access Premium Plus

Since my initial purchase and signup, I’ve already made subsequent purchases using Lids Access Pass Premium. Ordering from is super easy.

My 20% discount is automatically applied to the items in the shopping cart when I’m logged in. This is a fitting example of removing unnecessary steps and reducing cognitive load in the buying process. It all comes down to that instant gratification and removing friction.

The only thing I can’t tip my hat to (bad hat joke number 1) is the fact that my initial in-store order is not visible in my order history online. It appears that only online orders show up there which does not make for a great omni-channel experience.

Hats Off to Lids Premium Access Plus

Even though I joined Access Pass Premium partly so that I could review it, I really do find a lot of value in it. And I’m going to use it just like any other customer.

I know that for an annual fee, I am getting a good discount on every hat that I buy. There’s no need to wait for coupons from retailers to buy hats. And honestly, when it’s time for me to buy a hat, I’m going to look at Lids first because of my premium loyalty program membership.

See what makes customers willing to pay for premium loyalty programs.

My feedback to Lids is to find a way to get employees excited about the program. If I wasn’t asking, they weren’t telling. Signing up for the paid program practically paid for itself after buying one hat. I think that’s a no-brainer for any customer.

Also, make the entire customer experience omni-channel. While it is in a lot of ways, not being able to see my in-store orders when logged in online was a little inconvenient. After a hat wears out, I will sometimes buy the same one again if I really loved it.

I should be able to see my past orders and be able to easily reorder from any location and from any device at the drop of a hat (almost the last joke).

All in all, hats off to lids (the real last joke) for putting together a loyalty program that offers so much value I’m happy to pay for it.

Paul Wolfer

Paul is our Senior Manager, B2B Marketing. He works closely with the leadership team on strategic positioning, messaging and branding. When he's not posting on LinkedIn or working on the newest data study, he can usually be found adventuring to breweries or attempting to learn a new song on his guitar.

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ebbo™ is an all-in-one loyalty company. With our data driven strategy, full-service approach, and the unwavering support of the people behind the platform, our dedicated team will work with you to understand your loyalty goals, innovate solutions and help you build customer engagement on repeat.

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