March 4, 2014, 1:22 PM

KeepYourCooler.com heats up B2B sales and eyes international growth

With a recently redesigned web site on the Yahoo e-commerce platform, the seller of personalized insulated cooler packs used as lunch and picnic bags is stepping up sales to businesses as well as consumers. It’s also targeting new markets in Europe and Australia.

Lead Photo

A California Cooler bag sold by KeepYourCooler.com

Keep Your Cooler.com is putting on a new face that is perking up sales to both businesses and consumers, thanks to a relaunched web site designed to make shopping easier and to win the site higher rankings on search engines, sales manager Sofia Romano says.

The old site, which the company launched 10 years ago on the Yahoo platform, lacked some of fundamental content needed to complement its current product line of personalized and insulated, soft-pack containers for packing lunches and picnics—items imprinted with corporate logos and individual’s names that companies often buy for employees or clients. Some of the changes on the new site were pretty simple, requiring just new product titles and navigation menus to connect with shoppers with products, Romano adds.

Keep Your Cooler had been building a reputation for selling popular personalized soft, insulated bags with shoulder straps and side pockets—for example, it has been featured as offering the “coolest cooler” in Cook’s Illustrated, a magazine associated with the TV show “America’s Test Kitchen”. But until recently its e-commerce site, KeepYourCooler.com, referred to its lunch packs by the outdated term of “lunch boxes.” When customers saw that term, “they were expecting something old, like a big square metal thing,” Romano says.

And while Keep Your Cooler was also known for selling product lines made exclusively for it by such manufacturers as California Cooler Bags, and which it marketed under the category “Exclusively Ours,” the old site didn’t make it easy to find where it featured such products. “Customers would call and ask, ‘Where’s Exclusively Ours?’” Romano says.

After listening to the needs of its customers through calls to customer service and observing how they shopped, Keep Your Cooler set out to redesign its web site last year. Among the most obvious new design features are large home page displays that call attention to corporate imprinting and embroidery services, and that link shoppers to the section on “Exclusively Ours” products.

Other improvements include letting visitors sort products by price and category. These changes have helped Keep Your Cooler.com boost conversions and sales, Romano says, declining to be more specific.

After considering other e-commerce technology platforms for its redesign, the company decided to stick with Yahoo Inc.’s Yahoo Merchant Solutions, which provides the e-commerce technology platform formerly known as Yahoo Store.

Although Yahoo’s technology has not been without its problems, such as occasional downtimes related to platform upgrades during busy shopping periods, it offers site features and functionality and overall reliability comparable with other leading platforms, Romano says. “Yahoo can be frustrating, but it’s never pushed me to go to another platform,” she says. “Other platforms always have problems as well, so it’s not worth changing. And changing to another platform would result in losing of lot of what we’ve built over the years.”

One of the major improvements in the new site, for example, is a broad expansion of informative content, such as articles that explain how to best pack a cooler. These include tips on packing coolers in ways that keep food warm (with heated gel packs) as well as packing other coolers to keep food and beverages cool.

The additional educational content has improved sites search engine optimization, or SEO, resulting in higher rankings in natural search results, Romano says.

For now, Keep Your Cooler is focusing primarily on the United States, including all 50 states, and Canada. Based in Thousand Oaks, CA, near Los Angeles, it ships most products from a single warehouse in nearby Carson, CA. While Keep Your Cooler takes ownership of its inventory, it outsources the operation of the warehouse to E*Fill America.

Keep Your Cooler ships some orders to Europe, all via the U.S. Postal Service, and is considering developing a separate Yahoo e-commerce site for handling orders from Europe, Romano says. It’s also considering building a web presence for Australia, she adds.

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