October 31st is a month away, which means it is time for Halloween planning. Pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, costume parties, haunted houses, horror movies—the Halloween to-do list goes on forever. Luckily, Costumes Galore, Inc. has numerous promotions ready and waiting to help you prepare your website and maximize your sales and earnings this season.
Predictably, Halloween is the peak season for Costumes Galore. This family-owned business started with inventory of a few dozen home-sewn costumes available for rent, and in less than a decade, it blossomed into an online retail powerhouse. It now supports 120 full time employees, and operates out of a 100,000 square foot warehouse in Mankato, Minnesota. The company generates its top online sales between the months of September and October, requiring it to bring in over a thousand seasonal workers this time, each year.
LC Merchant Representative, Aaron St. Gelais recently conducted an interview with Lee Burg, Affiliate Marketing Specialist at Costumes Galore, to learn more about the company and to get a feel for how its affiliate program works during its busiest season.
Aaron: What is it about Costume Galore’s products that people love the most? What makes it stand out from its competitors?
Lee: We can proudly say that HalloweenCostumes.com has the largest inventory of Halloween costumes and accessories on the web, a feat made possible by carrying more plus size costumes and more exclusive styles than any of our competitors. In addition to constantly expanding the products on each of our category pages, we have created an unmatched user experience by launching unique tools that make the costume purchasing process both pleasant and seamless. Highlights include our Fit Finder tool, Group and Couples Costume Selector, and Custom Mask Creator.
Aaron: What two or three traits stand out to you the most when selecting and working with an affiliate partner?
Lee: When working with current affiliate partners or recruiting new partners, three main things we look for are:
Whether or not they fall within our Halloween niche
The strength of their site
Feedback/reviews to confirm that they practice ethical marketing techniques
Aaron: Where do you go to continue growing your affiliate marketing knowledge base?
Lee: We seek to expand our knowledge, discover new ideas, and stay up to date on industry best practices, through reading authoritative affiliate marketing blogs and forums. Between constantly changing Nexus laws and an affiliate marketing landscape that’s always evolving, it’s important to take the necessary time to do research. Networks are working tirelessly to develop that “next big tool” that will separate them from the rest, so we certainly don’t want to be the uninformed merchant that missed a new development!
Aaron: What bonuses, rewards, or other techniques have you tried to increase affiliate productivity?
Lee: We’ve tested quite a few techniques to increase activity. To name a few:
We send out monthly newsletters detailing new promotions, links, and banners.
We are always open to exploring paid placement options and discussing revenue share increases
We’ve run incentivized giveaways for our affiliates and plan to do more of these in the future
Aaron: How do you attract quality affiliates to your program?
Lee: Our program is attractive due to a variety of factors. We boast a high average order value, competitive commission rates, exclusive inventory, custom banners, and the ability to ship internationally.
Aaron: Beyond your Peak Season, do you make an effort to creatively promote during other major holidays such as Mother’s Day, Halloween, or the winter holiday season? How do you do this?
Lee: Perhaps surprisingly, we promote our costumes and accessories year-round. Costumes are such fun products that there are plenty of times and places for them outside of just Halloween Night! In fact, every holiday is a great time for us to promote. We carry themed costumes for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, 4th of July, St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day. Beyond that, we are a popular stop for school play casts, music festivals patrons, renaissance faire goers, film buffs attending movie releases, pet costume enthusiasts, and more.