Elite Team

Designing A Premium Online Retail Environment

How much would you pay for a blanket branded with your favorite NFL team? For most people, the answer isn’t consistent with the premium price of exclusive NFL-branded blankets from Elite Team cost. But not every person is the right buyer – we needed to pinpoint “super-fans” who are deeply passionate and loyal to their team and premium gift-givers who want that luxury item. Then we needed to create an online retail environment that would demonstrate that these are the highest-quality blankets you can buy. But we would have to flip the traditional e-commerce model to make that happen.


Monterey Mills is a manufacturer of luxury blankets using a unique technology called sliver knitting, which produces a higher-quality product that the mass retailers cannot reproduce. When the company secured licensing from the NFL to produce luxury team blankets, we were faced with building a retail brand from the ground floor and establishing the company as a premium online retailer. But the luxury nature of this product comes with a price, and our challenge was to demonstrate that it’s worth a premium price when the competition is selling their blankets at one-third the cost. We wouldn’t be able to treat this brand launch like traditional e-commerce – this required a considered purchase marketing approach.


To launch the brand, we quickly established a brand platform, defined a brand name – Elite Team – and created a brand identity. As an exclusively online luxury retailer, we had to overcome the fact that people are not going to “impulse buy” a luxury blanket that they can’t feel or touch. It forced us to really scrutinize our audience to understand their mindset: loyal to authentic, American-made products, “super-fans” who are premium gift-givers, deeply passionate and brand loyal, families who gather around the love of their team. This buyer is looking for a blanket they can love as much as the team it represents.


With this in mind, we set out to design a premium online retail environment by benchmarking the highest-end retail websites to see how they present these products in a digital space. As a result, we pursued high-quality photography and video, and set out to design a compelling e-commerce site that would give buyers the confidence that this is the best blanket they can buy.

Due to prior testing conducted to determine benchmarks, marketing strategies and investments, we knew we would have to flip the traditional e-commerce script that typically leads with price. Because these blankets are far more of an investment – financially and emotionally – we would have to first demonstrate the quality and exclusivity of the product, then introduce price.


The most important thing we learned in launching the brand was that in the consumer category of branded merchandise, Elite Team blankets are a highly considered purchase. And because of that, we had to appeal to a specific buyer on a more complex purchase journey than impulse buyers. By approaching e-commerce in a new way, we were able to optimize the digital retail environment to cultivate the trust needed for a purchase to take place.


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