Mobile Wins Through Modern Technology
Going from mummified systems to a modern platform, traffic spikes are no longer spooky for Costume SuperCenter. 👻
When Costume SuperCenter began their ecommerce platform evaluation at the end of 2015, they recognized the need for a system built on a modern technology stack. Each Halloween, one of the largest costume retailers in the world was spooked about how to handle essential items like traffic spikes and page load time. The family-owned retailer decided on the large task of replatforming five specialty sites, including several retail and wholesale domains as well as an international site.
Ahead of Halloween, the retailer was able to launch all five responsive sites in just seven months on Workarea. The platform accommodates CSC's various business models, scales to meet their enormous October rush, allows their lean team to create engaging content to boost SEO and help convert shoppers, provides an out-of-the-box mobile-optimized user experience, and enables them to easily run multiple sites with minimal effort. By running on a unified system, CSC replaced several costly third-party tools including a six-figure search system.
Time for a Change
For too long, CSC been managing to get by using legacy tech. Magento was too complex to manage internally and the private retailer didn’t have the budget or desire for in-house, full-time specialists. "We don’t want to be in the software development business. We love that as Workarea adds improvements it just becomes part of their platform," said Jim Moore, VP Marketing for Costume SuperCenter. Magento was also no match for CSC’s tremendous traffic spikes throughout the Fall.
After extensively evaluating Demandware, CSC was not impressed by the platform’s lack of usability and higher cost pricing model. The CSC team set their sights on the modern, flexible Workarea solution. Moving to a SaaS-based model was imperative for them. Their previously self-hosted sites were cost-prohibitive and resource-intensive. They chose the Workarea subscription model that eliminated the need for managing and maintaining an onerous hosting infrastructure. Since Workarea is responsive, a necessary standard, the extra time to design for multiple devices has been eliminated.
“Now that we can create the digital customer experience we want to on a stable, responsive platform, our team is freed up to be more creative and worry less.”
VP of Marketing
Improving the Experience Inside and Out
Costume SuperCenter is no longer reliant on a large technical team to support their online business. A single member of the content team manages the entire customer experience through merchandising and content management in the unified Workarea admin.
The ecommerce team was relieved to abandon a cumbersome experience on their legacy platform’s rigid taxonomy constraints. No longer do they need to present twelve top categories and fifty subcategories. The five redesigned sites provide a superior shopping experience with a modern look and feel. Now, the optimized taxonomy with faceted, filtered navigation makes browsing intuitive, helping shoppers quickly find what they want on any device. A large part of CSC’s boost in conversion rates has come from integrating the powerful search functionality that's native to Workarea.
boost in on-site search conversion rate YoY
lift in mobile conversions in October YoY
increase in mobile conversion from tablets
Years ago, the online retailer had separate m.dot sites, which were slower to load and required labor-intensive updates to stay in sync with the desktop sites. Moving to the responsive, mobile-first Workarea platform resulted in a huge shift in traffic from desktop to mobile. Now their creative team does not have to design and update offers for multiple mobile sites; they can make fast changes and execute campaigns in our easy-to-use admin interface.
Before Workarea, CSC’s creative team was updating entire HTML pages in order to make changes because the pages weren’t modular. Their new workflow is accelerated as they are able to easily work with individual assets and Responsive Design Blocks. They’ve also reclaimed their nights and weekends by using Site Planner, which allows them to schedule all updates for a specific date and time rather than having to push changes to production at the exact time they need them to go live.
The freedom and flexibility that the CSC team gained with our platform has allowed them to re-allocate team members to creative work, including integrating content and how-to videos to improve the customer experience. Surviving in such a highly competitive space where nearly every brick-and-mortar store carries costumes, props, and decor, giving consumers eye-catching original content became a necessary evil.
Adding quality content during peak season, which changes at the drop of a hat, is now enjoyable and not a nightmare. Moore added, "If we want a new landing page, we just go into Workarea and create it. If we want to change navigation and add the word ‘Christmas’ in the header, we can add it in minutes; and on Dec. 24, we can remove it. Before, it would need to be scheduled as part of our next release and take two weeks to code and get on the site."
Through our modern, lightweight technology and multi-site functionality, CSC simplified their workflows and freed up their team. The Workarea admin, designed for non-technical users, gives the CSC team the freedom to focus on creative and promotional initiatives, and the data to gather useful insights.
Halloween is no longer a scary word to use at CSC's offices.