Coolest Cooler No Longer Hot as Price Drops on Amazon

Coolest Cooler Number One on KickstarterLast time we visited the saga of the Coolest Cooler, creator Ryan Grepper was struggling to deliver on his backer commitments from his high-profile Kickstarter campaign. The determined Grepper promised to deliver all of the promised high-tech Coolers one way or another – but it was going to take some additional time.

Coolest remains one of the top Kickstarter campaigns ever. The cooler raised over $13 million in 2014.  Like many rewards based projects that generate significant consumer interest, the Coolest Cooler project struggled to scale and deliver to backers.  Unfortunately for backers, the promised price was far too low to cover the cost to produce the product and get it delivered. Additional challenges along the path of fulfilment did not make things easier.  In a statement last February, Grepper explained his dilemma;

“We knew that the Kickstarter funds, in the end, would not cover the actual cost of fulfilling all the backer orders, but with such huge interest we knew we would find a way to help us finish the process and grow as a company.”

coolest-cooler-on-amazonIn April, Grepper announced an option for impatient supporters to pay approximately $97 per unit more to receive a guaranteed delivery date of before July 4th.  Enough backers signed up to ship an expedited batch.  Yet challenges remained while some coolers were delivered.

A quick trip to ShittyKickstarters on Reddit, and DanWin does a great job of outlining the most recent round of frustration – including the fact that Coolest is selling on Amazon for a serious discount:

Coolest Cooler now selling on Amazon for $225, down from $499 last November self.shittykickstarters

Some backers noticed that it was on sale last week for as low as $199. Amazon has it in stock for $225 with free shipping, which is 50% off of its list price of $450. Its list price on the Coolest Cooler website is currently $399.

Last November, Coolest Cooler was slammed for selling on Amazon before delivering to backers. CC claimed that they had offered backers too good of a deal — early birds got it for as little as $165, though the majority (50,000+) went in for the $185 option. And those are prices before shipping. Which means if you had caught the Amazon last week, you would’ve gotten the Cooler for about as cheap as an early-bird backer, except that you would actually have the cooler right now.

Quick recap:

  • By July 2015, about 5 months after the estimated ship date, they had shipped 30,000 coolers.
  • They started selling the coolers for $499 last November.
  • By April 2016, they had run out of money and asked backers to send them an extra $97 for “expedited delivery”
  • At the end of June they announced that more than 10,000 backers agreed to pay the extra $97.

That the coolers are now so cheap on Amazon could be very good or very bad news. They said that for every 2 to 4 Amazon/retail sales, they could afford to ship a cooler to an original backer, which means it would take as many as 140,000 retail sales to fulfill backer pledges.

So, if the retail price is this low, either they’ve reached that impossibly high milestone and/or reduced factory costs, and just haven’t gotten around to announcing the good news. Or, backers are going to be waiting for about 5 more summers to get their coolers.


The comments on the Kickstarter campaign vary from benign support to utter despair. Someone has even taken the time to create a Facebook page for the Coolest Cooler “Fiasco: Rants & Reviews”. At this point, Grepper is probably wondering why he ever decided to do a rewards-based crowdfunding project.


The story of the Coolest Cooler is a great case study for rewards campaigns – there is plenty to learn. Coolest did many things correctly but mistakes and unexpected problems undermined production and delivery. Manufacturing in China at scale is hard. While Kickstarter clearly states it is not a store, the fact is that many people treat it like a discount mall. Pay now and save later.  Unfortunately, in the case of Coolest Cooler, it probably made more sense to wait and purchase it on Amazon dodging the agony of the unknown and saving a bit of money.


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