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For over 60 years, Rubie’s Costume Company operated almost exclusively through a pen and paper catalog ordering system. Understanding that the future is digital, Rubie’s looked to Guidance to modernize and standardize their printed catalog into a fully immersive website solution. And since Rubie’s costume business is not just a catalog of products for their dealers and they are the trendsetters in the industry, this website had to be a representation of that leadership status and global presence.
Originally founded in 1951 by Rubin (Rubie) and Tillie Beige as Rubie’s Candy Store in Queens, NYC, Rubie’s Costume Company is now the market leader of both licensed and proprietary costumes and make-believe accessories around the world. As a family owned and operated business, Rubie’s costumes are sold by retail partners globally for all occasions and now include thousands of licenses from popular culture and media in the Americas, Europe, Australia and Asia.
As the one of the largest, if not the largest, designer, manufacturer and distributor of costumes and accessories, Rubies looked to Magento to fulfill their website platform requirements. Magento, along with AWS, provides a scalable platform for browsing and an improved checkout experience. Rubie’s required a platform they could leverage for multisite capabilities to showcase their brand globally. While the website may look like a B2C website on the surface, under the hood exists a powerful B2B site that restricts the display of content, pricing and the ability to purchase solely to registered business users.
Magento supports a content rich mega menu with an embedded carousel to help users cycle through popular brands and categories. The “Where to Buy” feature is an important tool that aids the B2C user in finding the nearest store to purchase their selected costumes. Magento’s My Account section acts as a hub where dealers are served information on upcoming events/new product releases. The dealers also have access to signage and other resources to support their displays in brick and mortar stores.
Rubie’s website required price and checkout functionality to be limited only to registered users. Unique form field requirements had to be included as part of Rubie’s internal custom dealer registration process. Furthermore, based on the dealer’s location, merchandising had to be added in strategic locations. The custom checkout flow allows dealers to select shipping and process the order entirely to the point of payment. Magento’s B2B platform has enabled a transformation from a once primarily paper driven catalog business to a streamlined digital ordering solution.
As a family-run business with a global presence, the Rubie’s site has to be easy to maintain and update. Magento’s Page Builder allows for easy editing and quick changes to the catalog and all the products therein. Most importantly, the website has to be mobile friendly and the catalog must render elegantly on mobile devices. During peak periods, like trade show season, much of the catalog browsing and ordering is on mobile devices that must present the products in a sleek and stylish manner.
From humble beginnings, the family-owned and operated candy store evolved into one of the largest costume companies in the world. Originally founded in 1951 by Rubin (Rubie) and Tillie Beige as Rubie’s Candy Store in Queens, NYC, Rubie’s Costume Company is now the market leader of both licensed and proprietary costumes around the world. Guidance encouraged Rubie’s to tell their story and promote their roots through a visual history of the brand on their History page. The logo may seem whimsical but behind the jolly clown is an empire that spans the globe.
Guidance also helped Rubie’s create a robust footer to house their global presence in a visually comprehensive style. The map highlights their locations around the world while a list alongside the map further serves to emphasize their reach. As a family owned and operated business, Rubie’s costumes are sold by retail partners globally for all occasions and now include thousands of licenses from popular culture and media in the Americas, Europe, Australia and Asia. The footer also includes a list of their family of brands with links to those sister stores.
Rubie’s manufactures and sells thousands of licensed costumes that range from inexpensive gag gifts to serious cosplay outfits. Guidance’s creative design had to elevate the brand experience with rich, immersive photography and educate all their wholesale clients on the latest trends months before the seasonal peaks. Furthermore, the costumes themselves are colorful and visually appealing, so the visual design had to add to and emphasize the product without distracting from the path to purchase.
Guidance achieved a balanced visual design language with select brand colors and a proper use of white space to call attention to CTAs and other interactive information. A framework was provided that showcases the playfulness of the costumes without competing against them. As a whimsical brand, the theme had to be fun and vibrant while helping to merchandise the products and provide a clear entry for users to add to cart.
Guidance firmly believes that while B2B is a unique website experience, it should never result in poor user experience and the end user (humans) should always be kept in mind when developing the best brand experience. Customer experience is key for B2C as it often focuses on user experience and user interface elements of design, speed and functionality. B2B ecommerce requires all these features and more as B2B customers often represent mixed buying groups with multiple stakeholders and different negotiated price points assigned to each account. Rubie’s new website provides a professional and polished user experience that doesn’t compete with the product’s colorful and playful nature. Furthermore, their new website showcases the brand as a global leader in their industry with a strong creative design.
As the leader in costume design and distribution, Rubie’s website is not only a catalog of their products, it also represents their position as trendsetters and educators in their field. The company sells to everything from small “mom and pop” shops to large retail chains and the costumes Rubie’s decides to license and create become the trends for that season’s Halloween or other holidays. Rubie’s provides foresight into merchandise under development and styles that will be big for that season and their website must be a reflection of their leadership position in the costume industry.
Traditionally (and some still to this day), costume orders were placed through pen and paper on the phone or in-person at a tradeshow while rifling through huge printed catalogs. One of the complexities involved with bringing Rubie’s website online was in digitizing their entire catalog of over 11,000 SKUs. From a site architecture standpoint, a decision had to be made around how the products would be categorized within the main menu. Guidance helped Rubie’s build a hierarchy of their products and create a mega menu to house all their products in an organized and findable solution.
To add another layer of complexity, the licensed costumes have multiple legacy and original characters as well as multiple pricing tiers, sizing differences and multiple add-on accessories. Rubie’s also sells costumes for pets and human sizes from infants through adults. With the new mega menu and search functionality, users can easily find the costumes they’re looking for or they can go through a guided journey of “best sellers” to stock their stores with known favorites. With a view to educating the user, Product Description Pages are full of valuable resources including videos, downloadable specifications, enhanced descriptions and more.
While the website is mainly used as a catalog site, it now functions as much more than the printed catalog it once was. At trade shows, salespeople are empowered with bar codes on each item for easy scannable “Add to Cart” functionality. Once logged into their account and browsing with pricing visible, the user is encouraged to add all items to their cart and proceed to invoice creation--this has saved Rubie’s sales team countless hours of manual labor.
With over 11,000 SKUs, searchable products is paramount to the success of such a broad catalog website. Rubie’s selected Searchspring’s powerful site search solution to help their clients find the perfect costumes based on a multitude of query options. Rubie’s website consists of a fully shoppable digital catalog as well as an ecommerce portion and Searchspring powers search for both. Capable of transforming the ecommerce experience, Searchspring provides intelligent search, product filtering and merchandising features.
The customizable onsite search with filters and merchandising applications uses machine learning to improve the search experience and product discovery journey. Rule-based automation and an easy-to-use interface eliminates manual intervention for the Rubie’s team. Most importantly, the popular searches in the search bar allows the user to enter just a portion of the license or pop culture reference and the results are immediately displayed in thumbnail versions below the search query.
Even just a few years ago, B2B websites were synonymous with a lackluster appeal--they were typically not designed with the end consumer in mind. Imagine creating a website for a business that specializes in B2B transactions but looks so user friendly that an end consumer hopes to shop their digital aisles! Guidance helped Rubie’s create a B2B website that facilitates transactions (but is non-transactional) yet has the look and feel of a B2C website. In fact, given the sheer breadth of Rubie’s name brand costumes, many customers will search for the Rubie’s website and feel frustrated that they cannot order the costumes directly from the sleek-looking website. Guidance helped to assuage that frustration by implementing a clever Find A Store solution.
Amasty is a powerful Store Locator solution that enables customers to quickly and easily find the nearest stores using a built-in Google map tool. Shoppers can find the nearest costume store that stocks the specific model and size with advanced filtering options and easily shows the user distance to store and directions to the store from a specific location. The responsive, mobile-friendly design allows users to comfortably view the map and discover specific locations based on geographic areas. Amasty has enabled Rubie’s end customers to enjoy the B2B website with tools designed for a B2C user.
Guidance has helped Rubie’s Costume Company transform their pen and paper catalog ordering system into a fully digital catalog. Whereas before every order had to be placed manually, Rubie’s now saves countless manpower hours with a digital ordering solution.
The replatform to Magento supports a content rich website with searchable digital catalog and the new omnichannel Store Locator tool helps customers find the perfect costume in-store at their nearest costume retailer.
Rubie’s Costume Company is a fun and whimsical brand but their empire required a website solution that would reflect their status. Guidance helped Rubie’s transform their traditional pen and paper catalog ordering system into a fully automated digital catalog. For decades, Rubie’s has been the trendsetter in costumes in nearly every genre and this new website will cement their position as global market leaders.
The new website has helped the company expand their operations by minimizing manpower hours spent taking orders manually. At over 11,000 SKUs, the new fully searchable digital catalog gives their resellers the ability to generate full invoices or scan SKUs directly from the screen into a new order. Meant to educate and empower their resellers, the website holds a wealth of downloadable resources and information for costume businesses of every size.