In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
Century Novelty opted to use its e-commerce vendor for m-commerce.
Century Novelty is following in the footsteps of its competition by launching an m-commerce site just before Halloween and the holiday season.
The retailer of party supplies, decorations and costumes used vendor SLI Systems’ new mobile service, SLI Mobile, to build the site. The site, which launched earlier this month, integrates with Checkout by Amazon, enabling shoppers registered with the Amazon payment service to use saved shipping and billing information to check out quickly.
Other costume and party supplies retailers, including CostumeSuperCenter.com and BuyCostumes.com, also went mobile this month. Costume SuperCenter launched an m-commerce site; BuyCostumes launched an iPhone app that lets users place pictures of themselves and others in costumes and share them on social networks.
Century Novelty says it began to consider launching a mobile site when it noticed growing sales from mobile devices.
"By looking at our site analytics, we could see that customers were starting to buy products using their smartphones and other mobile devices,” says Ian MacDonald, vice president and general manager, Century Novelty. “It was a small part of our business, but one that we expect to grow over the next year."
MacDonald says he chose SLI Systems because it was about a third less expensive than the other options his company explored and because SLI was able to optimize for mobile the features it provides to Century Novelty’s e-commerce site. This made the process of launching an m-commerce site much faster, he says.
“We didn't want to spend a lot of time or money launching a mobile version of our site, given our limited resources,” MacDonald says.
SLI says it can take the product data from the features it provides to an e-commerce site and quickly optimize those features for mobile. For example, SLI might eliminate a drop-down menu with additional navigation options to account for the smaller screen sizes on mobile devices.
MacDonald says he expects average order size, time on site and page views per visit will increase on Century Novelty's mobile site compared with when mobile shoppers could only render the retailer’s traditional e-commerce site on their devices.
"With our new mobile site, we know we are giving mobile shoppers a better experience now than we were before," he says.