Have you checked out our new and improved Funtober store selling Halloween costumes and other fun fall products such as pumpkin coffee and Funkin artificial pumpkins for jack-o-lantern carving?
This will be our fifth year selling Halloween costumes here at Funtober. But we made some substantial changes this year. So we thought that we would explain them as they do impact what happens in the buying process.
For the first three years at Funtober, we ran a traditional online costume shop. We offered a few thousand costumes for sale. You purchased them on our website and we paid a warehouse to ship the item directly to you. We also handled all of the returns if the costume fit or didn’t work. We had a lot of satisfied customers, but we were also operating on a thin budget against better funded competitors.
This March, we bit the bullet and made a substantial change. Funtober is now a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Our Funtober Shop is filled with around 12,000 products that are listed for sale on Amazon.com. They are not sold by us – they are sold by Amazon or one of their third-party providers. Although you can add them to your cart here at Funtober, selecting the checkout will send you over to Amazon.com for purchase. When you proceed to Amazon, you will receive a message asking you whether you want to add them to your cart on Amazon – click yes. The products purchased are ultimately fulfilled by Amazon (or their provider). If you want to return the costume, you follow their policies and procedures.
Why did we switch? There are many reasons.
First, we had perpetual inventory problems. Costume sales happen in a short period and we had trouble keeping up with the inventory offered by our warehouse provider. It’s heartbreaking to explain to someone that because of a technical snafu, you don’t actually have the costume that their child had their heart set on wearing this Halloween.
Second, we had one day shipping issues. It was prohibitively expensive to guarantee one day shipping from our warehouse. In one case of one day shipping, we paid around $80 – much more than we were getting paid by the customer. Our Halloween store competitors were charging between $20-30 for the same surface while Amazon perpetually did it better than us. Because the postal service picked up the mail after 5 PM, Express Mail was not a reliable option either.
Third, we weren’t making enough money at it to justify the work that we were putting into it. It was a lot of effort to put together all of the information about festivals for fall across the country as well as run the costume store. Many people have told me that you need to focus on one or the other over the years. We’re finally taking their advice (sort of). By essentially outsourcing the costume sales to Amazon, we can focus on growing our traffic and helping people find fall fun – something that we are very good at and capable of doing on our current budget for this company.
Fourth, we now have a much bigger selection of costumes. Because most retailers also sell on Amazon, we can help you find costume ideas where we would have previously sold out very early in the costume buying season. In addition, they are extremely competitively priced.
Finally, this change has enabled us to provide other products, from the pumpkin coffee to fake pumpkins. If you need a fog machine for your Halloween party, we can help you find it on Amazon now through our website. We now have hundreds of products that we didn’t list on our website before.
All of these extra benefits come at no extra cost to you. We get paid a small percentage by Amazon for every item that we help sell. It is less than if we sold items from our own inventory, but it also requires a lot less work and risk.
In talking to our customers and examining our own lives, more and more people are using Amazon to replace traditional retailers. If we couldn’t sell them their chosen costume idea, they would just go to Amazon and purchase it there. Amazon provided what in many cases was a superior solution, so we are going to give them a try. If it doesn’t work, we can always take the products from Amazon and replacing them again with our own items for sale.
For nearly the past five months, we’ve been working on the new store. We’ve made substantial progress. It is still a work in progress, but we’ve sold nearly 100 items on it so far. We haven’t heard any complaints yet – except for one cases where the price had changed and their was a small gaffe in our program (which we’ve fixed now).
We still have alot to do on it over the next eight weeks to get it ready for its first Halloween season. But we’ll be ready! We hope you will join us and buy your Halloween costume. We have a ton of costume ideas for you to choose from in 2017.