Igloo: 4.6x YoY Online Growth by Expanding from Legacy Retail to DTC Ecommerce

Igloo Coolers

Outdoor Equipment


Full Service Growth

The Brand

Born from a metalworking shop in 1947, Igloo has been instrumental in redefining how we live, work, and play. What began as a modest mission — bringing clean water to worksites — transformed into a worldwide enterprise.

With 1,200+ employees and 500+ products sold at hundreds of retailers around the globe, Igloo can confidently call itself the number one cooler manufacturer in the world.

Through it all, Igloo hasn’t lost sight of its original goal — to create products that enable the pursuit of happiness (however you define it).

Igloo brand imagery

“As a traditional wholesaler, we made the decision to build the DTC business as our consumer demand told us to …

“The economics are in our favor, and the data collected is invaluable,” says Brian Garofalow, CMO at Igloo.

That’s where Common Thread Collective (CTC) came in.

The Challenge

Even though it was a successful legacy brand with a massive retail presence, Igloo didn’t take the leap into ecommerce until 2018.

Among its initial challenges were the acquisition of new customers, driving online traffic, and selling profitably.

“Our concentration was on testing core products with high AOV and finding ways to win through paid media strategy,” said Growth Guide, Andy Reese.

By focusing on customer acquisition, the CTC team drove site visitors through Facebook advertising and compelling creative that promoted its core products — with especially strong success in key sale moments.

Igloo ad creative examples

“We partnered with CTC to not only execute best-in-class advertising strategies on the platform, but also help Igloo stand out in a crowded marketplace via a thoughtful creative approach,” said Garofalow.

“With a full-funnel strategy in place, CTC helped us hit the ground running from the get-go.”

Between 2018 and 2019, Igloo was able to simultaneously increase traffic by 2.4x while lowering acquisition cost by over 20%.

With proof of concept for selling online, 2020 then became focused on scale.

Until the world changed.

When the coronavirus hit, Igloo’s new challenge became clear …

Why would anyone need to buy a cooler during a pandemic?

The Solution

Igloo knew it’d have to do two things: act fast and think creatively about its strategy.

With this in mind, Igloo decided to partner with the CDC Foundation and give 100% of the profits from its Playmate® coolers to the Coronavirus Response Fund.

Its goal was simple, use Facebook and other paid channels to make the biggest impact at the most efficient ad spend.

In a winter season known traditionally for slow cooler sales — compounded by a pandemic — Igloo flipped the problem on its head. Retail closures were a unique opportunity for continued online scale.

Within 24 hours of launching the campaign, Igloo had 2.8x’d projections for the month. The success didn’t stop there.

“Breaking through the clutter in social advertising in times like these requires intentional and thoughtful messaging to amplify the right emotions that lead prospects on a journey of positivity,” said Garofalow.

“We can’t think of anything more powerful than removing our for-profit agenda for the cause at hand.”

Still, the campaign messaging wouldn’t make a positive difference without an equally compelling creative strategy.
Igloo CDC Foundation Collaboration: Igloo will donate 100% of profits from each Playmate cooler sold on igloocoolers.com to the Coronavirus Response Fund

The top priority was ensuring that the mission of the promotion was always front and center — utilizing straightforward copy that got the point across as quickly as possible.

As an added touch, the team leaned in on the vibrant designs and colors of the original and licensed Playmate® coolers to grab attention, stripping away any design elements non-essential to the promotion.

Together, those factors enabled the below ads to hit 3.61, 4.74, and 3.53 ROAS.

Igloo top performing creative

In the weeks that followed, Igloo continued to move fast: new collaborations emerged, each supported by advertising that iterated rapidly on both the creative and paid fronts.

Coordinating Google with its social campaigns, meant not only more product discovery but a far more efficient use of spend.

“Throughout the campaign, the CTR was super high and CPC was super low,” said media buyer, Jenner Kearns. “That’s essentially the perfect equation for getting as many people to the site and confidently converting on the backend. Year to date, it’s still the highest performing campaign in the lifetime of Igloo’s account.”

The Results

Through the use of Facebook and Google — in addition to an exceptional PR and organic social campaign — Igloo was able to …

  • Increase sales 796% YoY for April 2020
  • Earn 37k new customers & 1,200+ 5-star reviews
  • Raised +$300k for the CDC Foundation
  • Raised paid ROI on Google 30.4% over the last 5 months
  • And grow 4.6x year to date

Igloo: By The Numbers

Most important, Igloo established an emotional connection with consumers. In Garofalow’s words:

“Did everyone need a new cooler? Probably not. Will they have use for it in the future? Of course.”

“But, they weren’t buying coolers. They were buying that fantastic feeling of doing right for the community and they were buying art from a license that they loved.”

Neither the tangible nor intangible results were here today, gone tomorrow. Even after the promotion ended, Igloo kept the sales momentum going.

All that work laid the foundation for even more growth; after stimulus checks landed and Americans changed their summer vacation plans to socially distant, close-to-home outdoor adventures.

The net results? Operating a profitable business unit, understanding what triggers purchase behavior from which cohorts, and envisioning a long-term plan for the future.

Brian Garofalow, CMO at Igloo Coolers
“The trends say we shouldn’t be successful. But we’re growing faster than ever before. How? By collaborating with social causes and pivoting to new opportunities in product and creatives quickly.

“Common Thread Collective’s creativity, speed, and performance-driven results have helped us increase sales 796% YoY for the month of April 2020 and 4.6x year to date.”

Brian Garofalow,
CMO at Igloo Coolers

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