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Van Cafe Fuels Ecommerce Success with BigCommerce and Google Ads

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In every adventure, it’s all about the journey. Mike and Greg Labate, Van Cafe’s twin founders, would agree.

Their first venture, Rocky Mountain Westy, was a parts manufacturer and associated repair shop in Fort Collins, Colo. Eventually, the brothers sought to expand their offerings, so they acquired more space, renamed the company Van Cafe, and built the Rocky Mountain Oasis, where road trippers can take a shower, use the kitchen area, and even sleep overnight in their vans.

But the Labates wanted more, so they began the transition from a brick-and-mortar business to a hybrid ecommerce rising star.

Starting the journey with the right navigator

Enter Ingrid Getzan, former director of marketing, whose vision for the future of Van Cafe included a marketing strategy that brought together the best of technology and machine learning to help Van Cafe realize its founders’ vision. 

Developing a roadmap for success

The company needed a more modern, user-focused website, so Getzan selected BigCommerce for the ease and flexibility of its platform. To drive traffic, she turned to Google Ads for its reach, targeting, and automation features.

Getzan was delighted to find that the Ads and Listings on Google integration in BigCommerce was free and simple to set up. “The streamlined organization that came from this implementation was huge for our team,” Getzan said.

Get into the fast lane with BigCommerce

With the right tools in place, the fledgling company was poised to overcome any bumps in the road ahead. First they needed to scale the business to include manufacturing capabilities, and then pivot toward the massive opportunity for growth from adding ecommerce to the mix.

The flexibility and customizability of the BigCommerce platform helped Van Cafe highlight both areas on the company’s website – to the delight of van enthusiasts everywhere. 

“We have a great customer service team. But with this new BigCommerce site, we wanted to make it easy for people to shop on their own.”

– Ingrid Getzan, Former Director of Marketing, Van Cafe

Let Google Ads guide you to your target audience

Next, Van Cafe had to reach and engage a niche van-life audience, wherever and whenever they were searching for van parts across the web. Getzan turned to Performance Max from Google Ads for its proven reach, targeting, and optimization features.

“We went from ads all over the place to very detailed, pinpointed targeting, thanks to Google’s AI. It’s allowed us to dial in on those specific products that we know will sell well with minimal touch points. We saw an uptick in site visits and conversions because of that,” Getzan said.

Streamlined processes clear the road ahead

Thanks to Ads and Listings on Google, the native integration built with BigCommerce, she was able to easily upload products spanning an astounding 3,000 SKUs.

“I can just open the app and see that my Shopping ads are up and running. If there’s a problem with an image or something else, it’s easy to fix. It’s really a time saver for me,” Getzan said. “I love knowing that my Performance Max ads are being seen in a number of different places and touch points without having to go in and manually pick the display network, a look-alike audience, etc. The ease of use is much better.”

Notable milestones along the route

In just four months after implementing Performance Max campaigns:

  • Click-through rate increased by 45%.

  • Ad impressions climbed by 1.7M.

  • Engagement rate grew by 12%.

The final word

Fueled by the momentum the company has enjoyed over the past year, Van Cafe has ambitious goals for the year ahead.

Driving revenue is always top of mind, so they plan to reallocate more of the budget to run more Performance Max campaigns. She also wants to expand Van Cafe’s audience – including women, a growing segment in the van conversion space.

Learn more about Van Cafe’s Growth story and other tools they use for success.

Pablo Gallaga avatar

Pablo Gallaga is a Senior Manager of Content Marketing at BigCommerce where he focuses on thought leadership content. His years of experience in tech, from startups to enterprise, inform his ecommerce insights.