Last Year's Headline: Hy & Zel's puts on Internet marketing push Synopsis: In an effort to attract a greater number of younger customers, Hy & Zel's, a 16-store drug and grocery chain based in Thornhill, Ont., announces it is launching...

Last Year’s Headline: Hy & Zel’s puts on Internet marketing push

Synopsis: In an effort to attract a greater number of younger customers, Hy & Zel’s, a 16-store drug and grocery chain based in Thornhill, Ont., announces it is launching a comprehensive e-commerce site and Internet marketing program. Developed in conjunction with Markham, Ont.-based Valu-Net, the Web program is expected to begin selling herbal remedies, groceries and general merchandise by the spring. Hy & Zel’s says it is planning to rely on its regular printed flyers and television spots to drive people to the site. Details of specific online marketing efforts are not disclosed.

One Year Later: The chain failed to meet its April 1999 target. A sign on the Hy & Zel’s Web site at still reads ‘Online Shopping Coming Soon.’ Meanwhile, Joe Shanab, Hy & Zel’s director of marketing and purchasing, says he’s not at liberty to elaborate on why the rollout of the chain’s e-commerce initiative has not progressed as rapidly as planned, adding, ‘I don’t know the direction we’re taking.’

Last Year’s Headline: HMV chooses Canada for e-commerce experiment

Synopsis: HMV announces it will put a huge push behind a Web-based e-commerce strategy. Canada is selected as the first market to try out the music retailer’s new effort. British and Japanese sites are next on the list. Leveraging its strong retail brand, and Canadians’ adoration of the Web, HMV hopes to draw traffic to its site, which will catalogue more than 300,000 CD, video and DVD titles, as well as feature high-impact graphics, facts and downloadable music samples. Interactive kiosks are installed in stores across the country to provide an alternative Web access point.

One Year Later: HMV’s site is now ranked among the top e-commerce sites in the country and was awarded the first-ever ‘E-tailer of the Year’ award at the Canadian Music Week Gala Industry Awards Dinner earlier this month. It’s currently linking its site with the newly launched sites in Britain, Japan and Australia – serving up access to more than a million titles. Features such as live online performances, links to the artists’ Web sites, exclusive offers and targeted e-mails have made the site a huge success, says Sara Ross, HMV Canada’s Internet marketing manager. The site has been known to outsell individual bricks-and-mortar HMV stores on some new releases – especially when the above-mentioned promotional elements are added, Ross says. Approximately 30% of HMV’s Canadian customers are now using the Net to either browse or buy, she adds. Ross says that in the very near future, HMV will launch a permission-based e-mail newsletter that will target consumers by music genre, providing alerts to new releases, special offers, contests and events.

Corner Officer Shifts: Martin Fecko leaves Tangerine

Plus, PointsBet Canada and Thinkific name new marketing leaders as Lole gets a new ecommerce VP.
Corner Office

Martin Fecko departs Tangerine 

After roughly two years of serving as Tangerine’s chief marketing officer, Martin Fecko has a new gig. And this time, the financial services vet will apply his marketing leadership to a new sector, having been named CMO of Dentalcorp.

Fecko will lead the dental network’s end-to-end patient journey, support its overall growth, and work to maximize patient experiences across every touchpoint, the company said in a release.

“Martin’s in-depth expertise in engaging and retaining customers through a digitally enabled experience will be valuable in realizing our vision to be Canada’s most trusted healthcare network,” said Dentalcorp president Guy Amini.

Prior to joining Scotiabank’s digital-only banking brand in late-2019, Fecko was country manager for Intuit Canada and spent 10 years at American Express in consumer and digital marketing.

PointsBet Canada nabs former Bell marketer as it pursues expansion

Dave Rivers has joined PointsBet, an online gaming and sports betting operator, as Canadian VP of marketing.

Rivers joins from Bell, where he was most recently director of brand marketing and sponsorship, responsible for driving the company’s national sponsorship strategy and portfolio. He will report to PointsBet Canada chief commercial officer Nic Sulsky.

According to Sulsky, Rivers will “play a key role as we prepare to launch a business that is unique to our roots here in Canada.”

PointsBet has a significant presence in Australia, where it was founded, and in the U.S. In July, it named Scott Vanderwel, a former SVP at Rogers, as CEO of its Canadian subsidiary, one of several hires aimed at establishing the company’s presence locally.

Thinkific names first CMO among other executive appointments

Vancouver’s Thinkific, a platform for creating, marketing and selling online courses, has appointed Henk Campher as its first chief marketing officer as it invests in marketing to support its growth plans. It has also upped Chris McGuire to the role of chief technology officer and moved former CTO and co-founder Matt Payne into the new role of SVP of innovation.

Co-founder and CEO Greg Smith said Campher and McGuire “will play key roles building high-functioning teams around them and optimizing investment as we continue to carve out an increasingly prominent and differentiated position in the global market.”

Campher joins from Hootsuite, where he was VP of corporate marketing. Before that, he was VP of brand and communications at CRM giant Salesforce.

Lolë names new VP of digital omni-commerce as parent company exits bankruptcy protection

The Montreal-based athletic apparel and accessories retailer has appointed Rob French as VP of digital omni-commerce.

French will lead Lolë’s efforts in consumer insights, supply chain-to-consumer models and online customer journeys. In what is a new role for the company, he will also work to grow the company’s retail brand. He arrives with sixteen years experience in ecommerce, having spent the last few years as chief digital commerce officer at sporting goods retailer Decathlon.

In May 2020, Lolë parent Coalision Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection, citing several years of losses as a result of a downturn in the retail clothing market, increased competition and excess inventory – problems exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the filing, Coalision was seeking an investor or purchaser of its assets.

It successfully exited bankruptcy protection last year and is currently rebuilding its executive team, according to a spokesperson.