In a warehouse about 30 miles north of Atlanta sit close to 700 Ted Cruz bobblehead dolls, boxed and sealed in airtight containers, loaded onto pallets, ready to go … nowhere, basically. The wobbly-noggined likenesses of Cruz, a former GOP presidential hopeful, are packed away next to nearly 7,000 Mitt Romney bobble­heads that never saw the light of day in 2012, after Republican nominee Romney lost the election to President Barack Obama.

Politics is fickle business, and so is the business of selling politically themed merchandise. Warren Royal, founder of Royal Bobbles and Bobbleheads.com, knows this well and has tried to better hedge his bets when commissioning and ordering figurines that take about 30 days to sculpt and then another 60 days to produce and get to market. “We sculpted a lot of different candidates this year who we thought were viable,” Royal says. “When it came down to the final few candidates on the Republican side, we had the [Donald] You-Know-Who and Ted Cruz figures. The day we received inventory on Cruz [May 3] was the day Cruz dropped out.”

An impassioned electorate and the flood of media attention paid to the election provide a ripe opportunity for e-retailers that sell politically themed goods to acquire customers during the election cycle. They must be keen on their merchandising and marketing, and, like a candidate, be ready to roll with the punches—and capitalize on opportunities—if they want to come out on top.

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