Spotlight on CostumeBliss
CostumeBliss was founded in 1997. Jason heard about eBay through a friend and decided to apply his interest in Star Wars and superheroes by starting an online retail business focused on costumes. 15 years later, his company serves a worldwide audience through two distribution centers in Nevada and Florida.
Jason explains how he became a longtime subscriber to our service, "I read about Terapeak and could tell that you were doing cool things with eBay data, organizing records into a more useful, more easily searchable format. I signed up in 2007 and it's become an essential part of our listing process. The benefits extend beyond just helping improve our performance on eBay. The keyword intelligence for example, can be useful for attracting Google traffic to our website."
I ask Jason to expand on how he uses Terapeak to build effective titles:
I ask if Jason ever discovers "money keywords" (terms that represent a major traffic advantage). Jason responds, "I believe there are keywords that have an immediate effect on search ranking and keywords that help long-term. When we list costume wigs, we always put the color in the title because listings that don't have that detail, seem to attract less shopper attention. We carry a Marvel Iron Man accessory which the manufacturer calls a "mask". I know from my research that we will sell more units with terms like "helmet with visor" than if we call it a "mask". It's little details like that that help you achieve and maintain strong search placement.
Terapeak keyword research is incredibly valuable. With an 80 character limit on eBay titles, you have to be critical about how you use title 'real estate'. In some cases, search ranking on eBay appears to favor shorter titles which makes us scrutinize our keyword selections even further. We use Terapeak research to measure the opportunity cost of each term. We focus on high traffic keywords and phrases that drive consumer activity.
Next Jason describes how Terapeak guides some of the ordering decisions at his company: "Category and competitor research are both useful for exposing best-selling product ideas in the costume market. We follow the market closely to discover what shoppers are interested in. It can be hard to predict what consumers will be interested in without marketplace intelligence. Certain licensed properties are hot, and others never really take off. We place orders for most of the rest of the year as early as January. That is part of the reason why research is so important. We need to be sure of what we want to carry in advance.
"Competitor research also helps us optimize the structure of our listings. We review which competitors are successful with certain SKUs and take a closer look at what it is about their methodology is appealing. You can see a real difference in the way that certain retailers present information and how they structure their ads and descriptions."
A while back I did a Halloween costume themed infographic for Terapeak. Being familiar with some of the licensed properties that generate big figures on eBay, I ask if any of them align with Jason's best-sellers. We both agree that the sales performance of Disney's Frozen characters in 2014 was a rare phenomenon. According to Jason, the official costumes and accessories ran out quickly. After that, retailers with anything even remotely similar to Frozen also ran out of stock. The demand was unbelievable.
Jason continues, "Interest in Star Wars is strong and it will probably stay that way for a few years thanks to the Force Awakens sequel and spin-off movies like Rogue One. Darth Vader is easily our most popular costume for men. Boba Fett sells on a daily basis. We carry a Jabba the Hut suit with a built in fan that inflates the costume while you're wearing it. Inflatable costumes are a really exciting trend. Characters like Godzilla and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man do really well as an inflatable suit."
Movies seem to have a major influence on Jason's audience. Costumes from the Dark Knight trilogy still sell well years after the series has concluded. I speculate that the success of the Daredevil Netflix series and the release of another Avengers film spells good things for Marvel Comics costumes this Fall.
Halloween is certainly the biggest time for costume purchases, but several minor holidays like Saint Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo also contribute business throughout the year. I am surprised to hear that Christmas is the second busiest sales period due to demand for Santa Claus outfits and the popularity of Santa Con, a massive scale costume event taking place in multiple cities around the world.
I ask what is next for Jason's company. They are already selling on multiple channels and considering API integration with Jet.com. "Our independent website generates most of our sales revenue, followed by Amazon then eBay." Jason explains, "eBay isn't our biggest channel but it is important to us nonetheless because it attracts a unique population that we want to serve. There is a constant learning curve with eBay. We put a lot of time and effort into developing successful listing strategies. The perspective we gain from Terapeak competitor research is very helpful in that respect."
Browse the massive selection of costumes for all ages at www.costumebliss.com