When The Candleberry® Candle Co. set out to enhance its product catalogue, the brand wasn’t thinking about how their candles might make homes cozy and comfortable in the midst of a global pandemic. The 25-year-old family business says it was simply trying to create a premier product for discerning consumers: clear-burning, long-lasting candles capable of filling an entire home with fragrance.
To say the company succeeded would be an understatement.
“Everyone wants to say they have the strongest candle out there, but when we say it, it’s real” explains Creative Director Lisa Clark. “We actually have methods, to make the fragrance carry through the whole house.”
But while the brand knew it had something truly outstanding to offer with its scented candle line, getting those candles in front of online shoppers was another story. It took a good deal of trial-and-error for the team to find its way to successful promotions. But eventually, those efforts paid off — big time. And when COVID-19 led to some major industry changes, the company was prepared.
Here’s how it all went down.
For years, Candleberry says the company struggled to find a reliable online advertising partner.
“We didn’t know what we were doing,” Clark says. “We were attempting to manage our Google Ads on our own. Every six months we’d hire a company…and then we’d find out two to three months later that the people we hired had a ‘set-and-forget’ approach. We were continuously paying for that service and they weren’t doing anything more.”
Then, in one last “leap of faith,” Clark says the team decided to take a chance with ChannelAdvisor.
When Candleberry partnered with ChannelAdvisor Managed Services for Digital Marketing, Clark says the candle company discovered a whole new approach to Google advertising.
Unlike previous partnerships, this one was highly collaborative in nature. Working together, ChannelAdvisor and Candleberry began to create highly targeted Google Discovery campaigns with the goal of improving customer acquisition and increasing revenue. Within a matter of months, Clark reports the company was seeing impressive sales increases.
Then COVID-19 lockdowns hit, and the industry saw some shifts. Retailers in the U.S. were ordered to close up shop, and consumers were told to stay home. But surprisingly, Clark says none of that had a significant impact on Candleberry.
“Thankfully for us, we were already online,” Clark says of the experience. “We saw an opportunity.”
At a time when sales were slowing for some brands, Candleberry took steps to expand its e-commerce presence. Instead of closing its factory doors, the company says it kept a small group on hand to handle shipping. And rather than pulling back on advertising, Clark worked with ChannelAdvisor to take advantage of a sudden surge in search traffic.
“We actually asked to spend more money because never again would we find a time when we can out-manoeuvre Walmart or Wayfair,” Clark says of the decision.
For the first time ever, Candleberry secured number-one rankings in Google search.
“I couldn’t believe we were above Wayfair,” Clark recalls. “We were above Walmart. We have never seen the kind of orders like we saw when we had the shutdown.”
Over the course of 90 days, the brand reports it witnessed revenues soar 95% year-over-year. According to Clark, orders increased 71%, and return on advertising spend (ROAS) rose 20%.
“It was unbelievable what happened,” Clark says. “Our business exploded during that time because we were positioned perfectly.”
Clark says the company was getting orders from all over the US, including from many markets where consumers had never before engaged with the brand. Clark credits its new approach to increased marketing within the company, paired with the new efforts of ChannelAdvisor.
“Had we not had a weekly meeting with our account manager saying ‘here’s something you’ve got to take advantage of,’ we would not have known to take those steps,” Clark says. “We now have a customer base sprinkled farther out. That would not have happened had ChannelAdvisor not been there.”
Now that Candleberry has experienced what can happen with the right partnership in place, Clark says the team is excited to see what happens next.
“I have heard people say that all you have to do is put money into Google Ads, and you’ll get your money right back,” she adds. “Not true. Not true at all. We’ve tried that. However, as long as you’re working with someone who knows what they’re doing and your hand is in the work but the work is not in your hands, the rule does work.”
Next up, the group is making preparations for the end-of-year holiday shopping season.
“With the help of ChannelAdvisor, we’re bringing in a variety of customers looking for high-quality candles,” Clark says. “This year, we’ll be prepared.”