When the world locked down at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Island Creek Oysters' (ICO) primary business of selling to restaurants rapidly dried up. However, they were convinced that their customers still had an appetite for oysters, and they were able to quickly ramp up their D2C business by building off the surge of people looking to celebrate at home.
As this grew into a bigger piece of their strategy, it became clear that they needed a digital agency to ramp up the sophistication of their paid media. While they had a very loyal following of brand evangelists, they still needed to get their message out to a wider audience.
By mixing media with analytics, we were able to build out a funneled strategy where spend was allocated according to estimated and real-time sales. This enabled ICO to take advantage of key moments by doubling down on ad-spend, which was balanced by scaling back at times when their customers weren’t as interested in buying oysters.
Leading into the 2020 holiday season, it was clear that Q4's consumption habits would be different. While get togethers were anticipated to be much smaller, people were still determined to make them special occasions. By ramping up ads and calling out the altered nature of the holidays, we were able to push out the idea that oysters were the ideal addition to any celebration.
Though ICO had been able to produce significant numbers from D2C throughout the pandemic, surrounding the December holiday, with a big push from paid, they were able to more than double their previous best month in terms of revenue. The ad campaign maintained a $9.18 ROAs over the course of the month, while contributing almost 50% of total sales across the site. Like so many other businesses, the pandemic forced ICO to shift their mindset and pivot to a new approach. By being aggressive and smart with this strategy they were able to dominate a new vertical. In 2021, even as people across the country start to return to normal and the restaurant oyster business returns to pre-pandemic levels, the D2C business has maintained its strength, now as an additional revenue stream as opposed to cannibalizing from restaurant sales.