Nobody says that the initiation of a coffee shop has to be physical. As things go, the Internet is a safer and lower-cost operation place for new startups, so don’t set sights on a brick-and-mortar store yet. Your requirements for the job on this platform hardly go further than honed roasting skills (or good supply sources) and a comprehensive guide on “how to sell coffee online?”
The extensive steps you find below cover the nitty-gritty of operating as a web-online coffee supplier, from branding the place to expanding your customer network beyond the country. We have also put together fresh ideas for a more successful launch in a straightforward, easy-to-follow style.
Why Should You Sell Coffee Online?
Whether you start it as the main income source or a side gig to draw in extra pennies, an online coffee business has a boon package awaiting. We believe once your long-term efforts pay off in the end, you’ll no longer want to jump back to running a real shop!
Put Aside Financial Risks
You can’t possibly expect exponential growth when all you have for the new shop are a shingle to hang by the door and a stool or two sitting here and there.
Even non-demanding purchasers looking to grab a drink and be on their way won’t bat an eye when industrial equipment isn’t lining the wall, proving challenges for your tight startup budget.
That is nothing more than a warm-up in a physical location. Have you paid any mind to the series of furnishings that need to be done – the standard of businesses where people can lounge around? And the staff payroll on top of commercial leases? There are tons of things about physical stores that sap whatever amount of money you save up dried.
The management of an online operation doesn’t tie you down with all those fees. Apart from high-quality beans and a credible worshipping service, we can’t think of anything deemed as a major concern, even when you plan to do it big and aim for the overseas market. The lesser the incurred costs, the more chances you have to grow.
The Utmost Level Of Convenience
An all-inclusive business in a fixed location doesn’t afford its owner any freedom, but you can make a difference when selling coffee online.
Through the use of WiFi, mobile devices, perhaps some communication apps or tools, tracking your orders and finding are no longer cumbersome, but small feats in every way. As long as your drinks are welcome across the board, you can work as little as two or three hours a day yet still achieve operational efficiency.
Since time is a factor you totally control, making the shop a 9-to-5 job is never mandatory. This increases the odds of running the coffee business as a side hustle without any change of careers. You know full well that life is always easier after doubling the income!
Access To A Broader, More Lucrative Market
The beautiful thing about our coffee industry is that newcomers always find themselves enough opportunities to build their solid foundation. The world raves about this dark-colored beverage, so literally, anyone is a potential buyer.
Their preference and taste will vary, with which comes a lift of boundaries for what can be displayed in your shop. Don’t feel threatened by the long-standing brands surrounding you, people care for the specialty and the nuances in the bean quality more. As long as you have good coffee roasts and a silver tongue to talk people into trying them out, the industry won’t fail you.
Don’t forget, when choosing to run a web-based store, you are deleting the geography distance outside the window as well. It all boils down to how thought-out your plan might be. But if you see promising domestic gains, there’s no stopping you from attracting buyers across the world and strengthening your customer base.
3 Steps To Sell Coffee Online Right From Your Home
You might now have a concrete intention to put into practice the coffee store layout in your head. But, supposing this is the first time you have carried out such a large-scale project, how are you certain that the direction you choose won’t lead you off the track?
We understand the risks the situation might present, that’s why we’ll now provide some steps to keep tabs on that can speed up the turnaround. Refer to them to inspire your inner business mindset, and your goal will soon be within reach!
Step 1: Define Your Future Customers
Wholesaling or Retailing?
The final purpose of buying coffee doesn’t go further than pulverizing those dark beans and adding hot water to produce an aromatic beverage. Yet, whether regular coffee drinkers or shops and restaurants need your service introduces a huge difference to the matter.
- For individual buyers: We consider this an easy-to-win tactic since the profits roll in almost instantly despite starting small. Sure, there are only small changes to wrangle up at first, given that few individual buyers pay for more than 12 ounces to 3 pounds each time.
Focus on the bright side, though: It isn’t always necessary to have barrels of beans at the ready. Processing the raw coffee would thereby take less time, less effort, and, more importantly, smaller bills. The holes that investment punches through your budget would soon be filled after a few days in business.
This direct-to-consumer model is perfect to test the waters after mounting yourself to a specialty coffee niche.
- For local baristas or specialty shops: The advantage of making yourself the supplier is a more consistent cash flow per month, the same as the orders you generate.
That’s said, they all come at the cost of higher inventory costs and fewer chances to pocket large profits at once. There’s nothing strange with supplying 200 pounds for one place in the length of one week. The real question is whether you can afford to roast and package that amount.
Then there comes the management to address. Wholesale customers don’t stop by on a daily basis. You might receive an order at the beginning of the month, and nothing else for the remaining 30 days. It’s completely up to you to store the unsold beans in a non-perishable environment for the next transaction. And that’s easier said than done for such quantities.
In this business model, large payments within a brief period come quicker than retailing. However, as the risks involved also intensify, we don’t think it’s a clever choice for novice sellers with no stable income from their stores yet.
Create A Personal Niche Market
Whether to sell your coffee in modest amounts or in bulk is far from a problematic question to ask, but it won’t be the same for the next part. This is where you ask the inner entrepreneur to come out and play, for determining the ones that see values in your commodity requires all the brain cells you can summon.
The rule of thumb is to never start big and pitch yourself against the top brands. Instead, round up your own customer base from the ones whose demands are overlooked by the mainstream supplier, then arrange your services to reconcile with those.
We live in a digitalized world, so there should be enough tools available to get the task done in the least time. The old but reliable Google tops the list. Once you manage to find a low-competition keyword that shows a surprisingly high traffic index, and upon closer inspection from Google AdWords Keyword Planner or Google Trends reveal that it is a profitable niche, you can proceed with building your store.
Rummaging relevant Facebook groups or the Quora community for clues is another idea to experiment with. You may leave your questions there, or read about what other people find unlikeable about the local coffee supplier and muse on what to do to get over these pain points. Or, you can turn to professional survey tools to receive thoughtful, serious insights, then use them to test the final work in the end!
Step 2: Define the Coffee Your Store Specializes In
It’s a grave mistake to think that dosing out one coffee variety does a fine job scaling your new business. Remember what we mentioned earlier about ‘different individuals, different palates to serve’? Garnering as much information about the most enjoyable roasts is one way to make your service more unique in the eyes of people.
Begin with those close to you (family, friends) and ask for recommendations of coffee flavors that win them over. Next, bring into the search coffee trends that people around you keep talking about. The products growing your rivals’ reputation are worth looking into as well.
We won’t go too deep into the available coffee types, as that’s something you have to answer yourself after researching your audience’s demand. The best we can advise you with, however, is that there should always be a balance of regular beans and high-quality specialty stocked in your store.
In the same fashion, make sure you offer the buyers plenty of quintessential variations – organic, fairtrade, or shade-grown – from all major coffee growing regions you can think of. More choices mean more taste preference to charm, which definitely acts as a magnet for coffee drinkers and builds your stable income fast.
Tips: Don’t try to be a Jack Of All Trades and pack all coffee options in the world into your inventory. A steep cost to handle aside, there’s no way for you to tell if all of them appeal to your niche.
From what you have after the research, narrow the gigantic number down to 5 or 6, and center your marketing plan around them to gain exposure.
Step 3: Put Your Shop On The Map
Unlike with a store where buyers can directly enter, increasing online visibility is a lot more work. People don’t see your business on their daily walk, so stirring the curiosity using decor is next to feasible.
And we don’t think there is any need to remind you that a big loss of money from impulse buys is on the horizon. If it isn’t easy to spot with plain eyes, you basically lose the chance to welcome random by walker-turn customers bringing home your goods just because they feel like doing so.
This is why we see marketing as a preliminary and much-needed process that either makes or breaks the profitability of your startup. You have to proceed with care and patience and comply with all the steps to give it a shot at coming out on top.
Branding Comes First
Through your brand, you are communicating the values at the core of your business to the customer, building their interest and goodwill in return. It solidifies the voice you create for any underway shop-founding mini-projects – posting on the media, email sequences, and more – helps to identify a consistent image you want to appear as, and informs your audience of all the service’s individual qualities.
The one method that works without fail, at least in our experience, is to write down the characteristics that best describe your brand, and start combining them together to create a personality for it. The key point is brief yet specific – what you have will represent your store and products from now on, after all.
After settling down with what tone to communicate your message in, what is left to do is to figure out what name, logo, and slogan accompanying the brand. They are going to be there during the length of its existence, impacting everything from your marketing direction and the perception of your buyers. Don’t be generic, but don’t overcomplicate them either.
A piece of advice. It’ll be daunting to try and put together something identifiable, scalable, unique, and memorable at the same time. We are talking about the face of your new startups here, so unless you have experience in doing something of the sort, consider enlisting help from the professionals. While you are at that, don’t forget to ask for opinions about the main color scheme and fonts that match your brand image.
Set Up Your eCommerce Store
Don’t confuse running an online service with a free-of-cost experience. While the risk of bleeding out your budget is relatively low compared to having land-based locations, you can’t run anything without digital tools for organization and maintenance.
If you don’t think your financial resources are enough to cover the hosting of a complete website, existing platforms such as Shopify or Wix make some ideal operation bases. Competing for visibility as a new seller might give you a headache as you are entering a one-against-million fight there, so it makes sense to learn a thing or two about them before taking your first steps.
How to get started, you might ask. Where else but their own eCommerce store?
You can uncover more hints about their current performance there than you realize. From reviews, ratings, and the commodity that attracts the majority of their buyers, you have a chance to observe what’s going viral on the marketplace as well as what to steer clear of. Their ups and downs are the sources of ins and outs you need to sustain a business in your niche market.
These are what are labeled as utterly important about building an eCommerce website from scratch. However, you shouldn’t neglect the smaller factors as they work towards strengthening your customer base. A mobile-friendly, user-intuitive interface is what you must first have in the store’s system, and an appealing look relevant to your brand to generate enormous traffic volumes comes second.
Copywriting & SEO
Without a profitable content campaign, the new coffee shop you pour all your effort into will never make it past your local neighborhood, let alone the nation and the global marketplace. It’s the posts you make, the voice they embrace, the words they are getting across that push your business to Google’s first page – the receiving end of all the search traffic.
If you have quality content, getting ahead of the competition won’t take so long even when you are a relatively new face. Here are a few things to pay attention to:
- Your products’ basic information: What gives you the idea that your coffee is of the highest caliber? How come those beans guarantee flavor notes hard to find elsewhere? Do the purchases actually support the farms and families that grow your commodity?
Be concise, genuine, yet professional as you elaborate on each unique aspect of your inventory. Remember not to get all business, an easygoing tone in a compelling written piece is the key to engaging potential purchasers. It would be awesome if you can communicate your reasons for choosing the growing region and setting prices in that same manner.
- Blogs Or Personal Stories: Filling your website with backstories and other compelling promotional materials is the most convenient way to establish seller-buyer connections. Anything your creative juice inspires suffices as long as they are relevant to your brand and fueled by your personal voice.
While these are the backbones for getting responses from customers, you have to put on some ‘flesh’ to complete a personal ‘search engine front page’ model.
High-quality images for your posts should not be overlooked – Google has a thing for those. Other SEO-optimized strategies such as keyword targeting or a backlink would help you with the sales as well. If you don’t think you are up for the task, there is always the option of seeking professional service, or an affordable tool if your budget only allows you to go so far.
Concreting Your Social Media Presence
Cross-posting on social media develops your brand’s visibility faster, so don’t limit activities to only the website.
Whatever social networking site with billions of users you can think of – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – use them to showcase your products and content on a daily basis. You might gain plenty of followers along the way, and for a growing business, a strong following means a lot.
You should join private communities where most members belong to your targeted demographic. With the right approach, they might turn out to be the main force that drives your sales. That’s why you should spend time replying to their questions earnestly, taking note of what they want in your coffee, and cleverly promoting your business in the conversation.
Other Notices When Selling Coffee Online
Once you have set up your store, remember these to keep the operation hassle-free.
It doesn’t matter if you plan to roast the coffee on your own or join hands with another manufacturer. If the beans are from high-quality sources, operational efficiency is always within reach.
Unless you have a specific place to go in mind, select a place that the entire community deems trustworthy. They can charge more than you are willing to give, but that’s a reasonable investment for quick delivery and higher sales in the long term. You can ask to sample the coffee just to be sure, credible suppliers won’t turn down such a request.
Coffee is obviously your main concern, but your website shouldn’t entirely be about them all the time. Adding in other relevant products keeps your customers coming back more as they can find all they demand at your place. T-shirts, coffee boxes, themed souvenirs, cute figures, or some sort of snacks that go well with the drink – let your imagination run free!
Occasionally, if you manage to get your hand on a specialty coffee variation none of your competitors have in their store, you can use it as a limited offering for extra sales.
Value Each Customer
Treating your repeated buyers well is not simply about politely answering their concerns and never keeping them waiting for more than 5 minutes. Other businesses know these tricks anyway, so it’s time for a switch of tactics.
A simple gift for each purchase, incentives for repeated buyers, or discount couples leave a lasting impression and help to build goodwill. If it is possible, send out newsletters and limited deals for your subscribers every week or month. That’s all it takes to show customers your gratitude for their support.
How to sell coffee online? Hopefully, after the insightful guide we provided, you have found yourself a lucrative approach to this trendy business idea.
There’s something you should know before jumping on the board. You might not see profits rolling in overnight, or after the first week. You might only have three subscribers and one purchase at the end of the month. But don’t ever allow that to pull you down.
Running a business is a lot about trials and errors. It’s possible to wait for years until eventually have a stable income source at the ready. It’s the same for coffee. Just follow the right guide and earn your customers’ trust bit by bit, and your efforts will pay off in the end.
Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. Madelyn Doyle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California and finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).