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Hockey Gold Medal Means Merchandising Opportunity for IceJerseys.com

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While we’re proud to be a Toronto-based company, this week we’re a little prouder than usual due to that recent nail biter in Vancouver. More than a few Nextopians arrived at our office the next day with voices raspy from having exhorted our national heroes 2,500 miles away as they battled for the men’s Olympic ice hockey gold medal. The result also generated more than a few congratulatory emails from Nextopia customers, some of whom were fans of Team USA. Regardless of which team you were pulling for, even those who don’t like hockey (I think Canada has fewer than 100 people who’d fit this description) would have to admit that it was an incredible game. Let’s hope that the National Hockey League agrees to contribute its players to the 2014 Games in Russia.

(Thumbs-up, too, for the hockey-playing Canadian women who went undefeated and earned their own medals in that same gilded shade).

What does this have to do with our usual posts about ecommerce excellence? Gold medals beget merchandizing opportunities. And ice hockey gold medal victories by Team Canada mean lots of merchandizing opportunities for Nextopia customer IceJerseys.com, which is headquartered in Montreal.

We fired off a few questions to Anthony Wolfe, the company’s VP of of Ecommerce. Anthony didn’t have much time, given that Olympic gold medals in Canada’s favorite sport aren’t as common as we’d like.

First, general comments on the Olympic Hockey tournament?

I think the tournament was great all around. Fans were treated to seeing the best players in the world competing for their country with everything on the line – it really doesn’t get much better than that!

Did you see a jump in sales (and search queries) coincide with the Olympics? If so, when did sales start to go up?

We started to sell Olympic merchandise at the beginning of Q4 2009, and sales gained momentum throughout the holiday shopping season. In fact, we’ve carried jerseys and apparel for most participating countries from the beginning and sold out of a lot by Christmas. Sales never really dropped off much after Christmas, picking up significantly as the Olympics approached. As a result, a huge chunk of our search queries have been focussed on Olympic teams and merchandise.

How much of an effect will Canada’s gold medal have on your sales this year?

The gold medal has resulted in a major sales boost over the past week, and we anticipate it will linger for a few more weeks.

What is the top selling “let’s celebrate the gold medal” item?

Right now we have two champs items that have been very hot:

In addition, the two official Team Canada jerseys continue to sell at an incredible clip:

Canadian pride aside, what was your favorite jersey (mens or womens) among teams in the Olympics?

Honestly, I think there were a number of really nice jerseys in addition to Canada’s. The USA alternate jersey, Germany, Norway, Finland and Russia were among my favourites. I especially liked how many of this year’s Olympic jerseys worked a sublimated ‘patriotic’ pattern into the jersey fabric – or in Canada’s case, the crest. Very subtle, but nice attention to detail.

Lastly, what are some of the countries from which people have bought Canada jerseys?

In addition to Canada and the USA, we have shipped Canadian jerseys to pretty much everywhere around the world, including: Australia, Bermuda, France, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

A hockey jersey and Bermuda shorts must certainly be a strange sight on the island. Anyway, with the Closing Ceremonies fading into history, we’d like to thank Anthony for taking the time to talk to us. We’d love to talk to him more later in the year about his site operations, as well as the mystery why Slapshot remains so popular.

In the meantime, enjoy fulfilling those orders.

– Team Nextopia (who are big fans of Team Canada)

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