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E-commerce helps U.S. athletes stay competitive

Delivering a new e-commerce site might not bring you a gold medal, but it does help raise money for Olympic athletes.

The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) has launched a redesigned online store that offers Olympic-insignia merchandise including apparel and commemorative coins. Proceeds from sales at the site help support the training of U.S. Olympic athletes. The site offers featured merchandise and cross-sells, tax and shipment calculation, online credit card validation and authorization, full-text search, express buy for registered shoppers, personalized account management, separate bill-to and ship-to addresses, and automatic e-mail confirmation of purchases.

The committee has had an online store for several years, but needed to upgrade it to handle the avalanche of interest it expected to accompany the Olympic games underway in Sydney, Australia.

Says Tony Basile, chief information officer for the USOC, “We wanted to deploy a store that could meet the demand. Rather than undertake a long process of assembling an online store from components for catalog management, content management, order processing, personalization and data analysis, we selected a customer interaction system from Blue Martini.”

According to Basile, the new application integrated easily with the USOC’s legacy system. It runs on hardware at facilities managed by Internet service provider Digital Island, which provides an e-business network comprised of hosting, network services and content delivery.

“At the USOC, we are applying the best practices of private industry to the competitive world of the Olympic Games,” says Norm Blake, CEO of the USOC. “Just as we work to select America’s best athletes for international competition, we worked to implement a premier e-commerce application for our new Web site. The USOC has delivered a secure, reliable, high-performance e-commerce site to our U.S.-based customers.”

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