How the World’s Largest Costume-Maker Doubled Online Sales

Rubie’s needed to revolutionize their B2B operation.

If you’ve ever dressed up for Halloween as a character from a movie or television show, the costume you bought was probably made by Rubie’s. The New York-based costume maker is the largest in the world, manufacturing more than 50 percent of all licensed costumes sold in the U.S., including the lucrative Star Wars and Wonder Woman outfits. Remarkably, the business started life in 1951 by Rubin and Tillie Beige as a soda shop and novelty store in the neighborhood of Queens. Today Rubie’s is owned by the children and grandchildren of the founders and is still a family run business.

In the past 67 years, the business has grown into a major corporation earning hundreds of millions, with 3,000 employees, four U.S. factories, and six sprawling warehouses on Long Island, in Arizona, and South Carolina. Rubie’s boasts 15 subsidiary companies in Japan and Europe, but U.S. B2B sales remain their focus: The company sells costumes to party stores and re-sellers large and small through a network of in-house and external salespeople. While this formula had led to success, the company knew they had to update their eCommerce operation in order to thrive for another 67 years: “Our website was very out of date and wasn’t mobile optimized” said Rubie’s Michael Beige. “Our website also didn’t  allow orders to be placed online…for the longest time it was only phone and fax orders, and then email.”

"Magento Commerce 2 was a really good fit for us."

Michael Beige

Rubie's

Rich visuals and a wide-screen storefront.

To bring their B2B operation into the 21st Century, Rubie’s partnered with Guidance, a Magento Solution Partner. Rubie’s had operated on Magento Commerce 1 since 2015, but carefully reviewed other eCommerce platforms too. “We narrowed it down to Magento Commerce 2, which ended up being a really good fit for us,” said Beige. “It just had everything that we were looking to do really well. The new B2B capabilities were coming out too, so that made the decision much easier.” Rubie’s knew they needed to go live before Q1 of 2017, the peak time for early Halloween sales.

With Magento Commerce 2, Rubie’s gave their B2B customers a greater insight into product details and inventory levels. “Customers use our site to gather info, then place the order with a sales rep,” explained Beige. “So, adding UPC to item pages was key.” Rubie’s hosted their new site on Amazon’s AWS, and employed various extensions to make their business operations more efficient. “New Rapid Flow was our favorite extension,” said Beige, “It helps export and import products in bulk, which is important as we have over 50,000 active items in our product line.”

Since consumers often find their way to the Rubie’s site, they added official movie trailers to product pages, and a where-to-buy functionality. “Customers can search either using their zip code or an address, and find the nearest stores within five or ten miles,” said Beige. “I think a lot of our customers have enjoyed a little extra foot traffic.” The most important aspect of the upgrade for Rubie’s was making their site visually appealing: their new homepage features bold, colorful imagery, and lets visitors know straight away they have landed on the world’s largest costume company. The new site is also fully responsive, and works like a dream on mobile.

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Now their B2B operation is streamlined.

The new Rubie’s site launched in March 2017, with a beautiful, wide-screen design ready to promote one of the biggest movies of the year, Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman. Rubie’s B2B customers could easily browse for Wonder Woman’s shield and sword, or even a light-up lasso, as Princess Diana of Themyscira became the number one Halloween costume pick of the year, and the most searched for online. “Our site definitely ranks a lot higher than it used to before the upgrade to Magento Commerce 2,” added Beige. “And if you search for ‘Star Wars, Last Jedi costumes,’ Rubie’s ranks first right now. For all of our licenses, this is obviously really important to us.”

The new webstore is also finally moving Rubie’s customers away from fax and email orders. “We’ve had a lot of customers move over to processing orders via web now, who originally had no interest in moving away from the old format,” said Beige. Magento Commerce 2 is also helping the company boost its international expansion: “We do quite a bit of business around the world not only in North America but in Europe as well.” And in late 2017, Rubie’s launched their Canadian site: “It’s pretty much the same skin and template from the U.S. site but it has been simple to customize as needed,” said Beige, speaking of how fast and easy it was to launch. And for Rubie’s, their B2B transformation is far from over, as they look into new digital tools for their salesforce, and prepare for another blockbuster Halloween.

"Magento Commerce had everything that we were looking to do really well. The new B2B capabilities were coming out too, so that made the decision much easier."

Michael Beige

Rubie's