Case Study

Bern Helmets

Despite a worldwide pandemic in 2020, for Bern Helmets, things weren’t all bad. With most brick and mortar retailers closed in the lockdown that year, consumers looking to purchase one of Bern’s cutting-edge low-profile helmets flocked to the company’s e-commerce site and consequently, the company’s online sales revenue spiked. The bad news was that, despite the meteoric growth in online order volume, Bern’s e-commerce business was still unprofitable.

Since its founding in 2004, Bern had historically focused on retailing its products via outdoor specialty resellers, like REI. And while the unprecedented events of early 2020 presented a huge opportunity for Bern to lean more into e-commerce, its DTC operation was still in its infancy and in need of some fine-tuning. Bern turned to t/hawk digital.

Responsibilities: Digital Strategy, Creative Campaign Development, Performance Marketing Campaign Management (PPC + SEO), Reporting + Insights
Bern Helmets skating
Bern Helmets cycling

our strategy

Implement a World Class DTC Marketing Operation to Take Advantage of E-commerce Growth

When we took over Bern’s digital marketing program, the DTC scenario was unsustainable for the business. The brand had a small organic search presence, a conversion rate below industry standards, a low average order value (AOV) and an unsustainably high monthly average ad spend and cost per conversion.

Conducted a Comprehensive Audit + Analysis

Our first order of business was to conduct an in-depth analysis of Bern’s DTC operation to better understand contributing factors. From our research, we prioritized a handful of deep and far-reaching initiatives.


Introduced Sweeping Changes to Bern's E-Commerce Site

First, we made sweeping changes to Bern’s website, working methodically to reduce friction in the buy flow, improve core web vitals and enhance and improve content site wide.


Re-engineered the Core Buy Flow

To drive a higher site conversion rate and AOV, we re-engineered Bern’s e-commerce workflow, improved the visibility of priority products, made access to product upgrades and accessories in the buy flow more intuitive, and overall, methodically identified and removed friction points that were inhibiting conversion.


Implemented Marketing Funnel Efficiencies

On the demand driving side of the equation, we introduced advanced re-marketing workflows that targeted prospects based on their interactions with Bern’s products, which helped reduce Bern’s average monthly ad spend and cost per conversion by moving consumers through the marketing funnel more efficiently. With this improvement, Bern was able to reduce their social media ad spend by a dramatic 70%, all without reducing the total share of conversions assisted by social ads.


Introduced a Custom SEO Campaign

Additionally, we introduced a custom SEO campaign designed to further lower Bern’s cost of revenue and increase profit margins by growing the brand’s organic search presence and taking some of the traffic driving burden off its paid advertising program.


Sunsetted Old Promotions

And finally, from our analysis, we identified and sunsetted a handful of long running promotions that were no longer economical for the business.

The results

Game Changing. In Year 1, through the implementation of our balanced digital marketing program, we delivered:


54% DTC Profit
Margin Improvement


Over 33% Average Order
Value (AOV) Improvement


190% SEO Sales
Revenue Improvement


400% Increase in Search
Engine Brand Presence


98% Increase in Owned