A small, regional building supplies company with a brick and mortar location in the Lehigh Valley, PA., wished to invest in e-commerce. After a bad relationship with their first marketing agency, they partnered with FunnelKake to grow their online presence.
The e-commerce hardware and building supplies space is dominated by three major players: Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowe’s. Their branding, their aggressive digital marketing, and the brick and mortar presence for Home Depot and Lowe’s makes these companies formidable and intimidating competitors.
We identified the advantage for a small, pro contractor focused company immediately: Unlike the major players, this company had the knowledgeable employees in-house to respond in real time to technical questions about tools, fasteners, lumber, and applications. They also had the freedom to negotiate bulk pricing quickly either by phone, chat or email, usually within minutes (it’s par for the course for contractors to order dozens of cartons of fasteners and they typically seek discounts). This was a very significant competitive advantage locally, and as it turns out, nationally too.
Year 1: FunnelKake increased their orders by 128% and revenue increased by 156%. Click for larger view.
It can if unit sales and high customer churn is your only goal. This very salient fact was discussed at length in e-commerce marketing meetings. We experimented with product pricing extensively, mostly via Google Shopping. And yes, when they offered the cheapest price on any item, they sold the most units. But the lowball price path to profitability was weak and not a formula for long-term success, as they were selling products at razor thin margins. One cannot beat Amazon at their own game.
Professional contractors were the play here, both locally and nationally. Many contractors find the customer service at the big box stores very frustrating and want nothing to do with Amazon. They also appreciate having a go-to person to buy from at a local company, who can answer questions that non-professionals cannot. And for this convenience, they’re often willing to pay a little more.
Over the course of 3 years, FunnelKake:
- Built out their e-commerce website on the Big Commerce platform
- Developed and managed email marketing campaigns via MailChimp
- Designed and managed Facebook ads
- Built a presence on Pinterest
- Added and managed select inventory on Google Merchant Center
- Wrote and managed Google search ads
- Managed YouTube ads
- Performed Search Engine Optimization for products and pages
- Developed Content marketing via blog posts featuring tools and how-to tips
We know – you’re asking Pinterest? Yes indeed, and it worked very, very well. The advantage Pinterest has over other social media platforms is that when a Pinterest user saves one of your pins to their boards, it creates a unique link back to the product or page. These links build SEO. And believe it or not, tool people love big, fat images of nail guns, band saws, power drills, routers, table saws, and home improvement tips like your Aunt loves pictures of cake.
But organic search was the biggest driver of sales, usually double (or more) what any other channel delivered. So we monitored SEO closely and made frequent changes based on Google Search Console data. Merchant Center/Google Ads was the next largest driver of sales, so the Merchant Center feed was continuously monitored and updated to maximize the conversion rate.
Over a 3-year period, FunnelKake grew this company’s email list by thousands, grew revenue by 1,085%, increased Average Order Value (AOV) by 49% and increased total orders by 695%. The larger regional lumber company which purchased this smaller company has contracted with FunnelKake to continue growing their e-commerce presence, re-develop their corporate website and manage their digital marketing.