Coffee is an essential part of many people’s morning routine. We brew more coffee at home when we can’t make it to the local cafe.
You might be wondering what to do if you are thinking of opening your own coffee shop.
Is it profitable to sell coffee online?
With the right marketing strategy and a strong brand, selling coffee can be extremely profitable. Although coffee is a popular product, there are many other products in the market. Don’t let this discourage you from entering the market.
Take into account the benefits of high-commodity products like coffee.
- High volume customers.
- Smaller brands have an advantage. Customers associate bigger brands with better quality and more service. However, commodity products such as coffee are very different. Smaller brands have an advantage because customers are more sensitive to branding cues.
- There are many niching opportunities. Coffee relies heavily on branding cues. This allows for a lot more creativity in regards to niching. Selling to a small, but specific group of people is called Niching.
There are many benefits to selling a product that is widely available. A widely available product is more easy to sell. Customers already want your product. You just need to get it from them.
Start an online coffee shop in 6 steps
Step six is for cafe owners who want to take their retail business online. Your journey to the coffee shop begins with the beans.
- Choose whether you want to dropship or roast
- Find your supplier
- Find your niche
- Choose the products that you want to sell
- Create your brand
- Create your online store
1. Decide whether you want to dropship, roast or both
This step is easy for cafe owners who have established supply lines. It’s crucial to understand the role of your business in this transaction if you are just starting out in the coffee business.
You’ll have an idea of dropshipping coffee beans if you’ve already read our dropshipping guides. Dropshipping is where a business contracts with a third party manufacturer to ship and store its products.
- Advantages: Low-overhead costs. Delegated work is more common.
- Negatives: Less control over product availability and production.
- Dropshipping: If you are more interested in marketing and branding aspects than coffee, dropshipping allows you to concentrate more on that aspect of your business.
- When Not to Dropship: If you are an experienced roaster, owner of a cafe, or simply interested in business operations that involve more hands-on work.
If you are more interested in being involved with your product, roasting your coffee beans and selling them through your online store is a good option. Although it is more labor intensive, home-roasting can be extremely rewarding.
- Advantages: More direct control over your product.
- Drawbacks:Higher workload. It can take a lot of time.
- When to Home Roast: If you are more interested in the art of roasting, then you may have more time or staff to help with it.
- To home roast: If you are short on time, have limited resources or are more interested marketing aspects of your business.
No matter whether you choose to dropship or home roast, your marketing strategy for running your coffee business will be the same. After you have made your decision, it is time to find your supplier.
2. 2. Find your supplier
It’s easy to forget that the source of your product can be a small detail. Your supplier is not an independent business, but an extension of yours to your customers. Bad beans from your supplier are a sign that you have poor beans.
Although marketing is crucial to your coffee business, it cannot make up for poor quality products.
Even if you roast your beans yourself, you will still need to get raw materials from a supplier. It is important to be aware of what to look for.
Consider these things when selecting a supplier
- Product quality. Ask for samples from your supplier to make sure that your requirements are met. Experienced roasters will be able answer your questions about the unique qualities of their product.
- Customer service. Your supplier should be able walk you through the cultivation process and give you any additional information. Good customer service is essential for providing excellent customer service to customers.
- Price. You don’t want a supplier who is out of your price range. Remember that you will have to sell your products at a higher price than you are willing to pay.
You’ll develop a strong relationship with your supplier over the long-term, and your businesses will be dependent on one another.
You should treat potential suppliers as job applicants.
3. Find your niche
Coffee is a commodity product. This means that consumers rely heavily on branding to decide whether they will buy it. Your niche is essential to the development of your brand. You’ll need to begin searching for one.
What is a niche?
Niche Markets are smaller markets that have unique needs and preferences, but which often go unmet. A larger market can be broken down into smaller niche markets. This could be done by selling based on location, price range, demographics or values.
What are the advantages of a niche?
A niche market allows new businesses to gain a competitive advantage in their attempts to establish themselves and limit the competition.
It’s likely that large markets have been served and it is difficult to stand out against bigger brands. However, small brands can target a smaller market to gain traction. This allows them to reach customers who aren’t being serviced by larger brands.
How can you identify niche markets for coffee?
It can be difficult to find a niche market. However, it is worth asking questions about your potential customers as well as your strengths and interests.
- Who are your ideal customers?
- What are their needs and pain points?
- Which problems can your products solve?
Although it is not always possible to find a niche immediately, it can be helpful to try to narrow down your audience into segments and consider their specific needs.
Here are some great exercises to get your creative juices flowing.
- Google search suggestions and searches. Try trial and error to find different angles, trends and pain points among competitors. Google’s suggestions can give clues as to where they are.
- Mind maps. Mind maps are diagrams that organize words, ideas, or other concepts around a central concept.
- Keyword research. Keyword research can help you find niches that are related to a search term. It also helps you to assess the potential demand for these niches.
- Online communities. People congregate online around common interests, so it is worth looking at industry message boards, subreddits and social media accounts to help you find your niche.
This is the first step in a brainstorming process. You can generate ideas, good and bad, and then refine or combine them.
It is better to have a few ideas in mind and choose the best than waiting for the perfect one. While it’s great to have a good idea in the beginning, how you implement your idea is much more important.
How can I tell if my niche is a good one?
There are many ways to validate your product ideas . But ultimately, a niche with an audience is one that’s good. Here are some ways to ensure your idea is heard.
- Create your own audience and get them to join you.
- Test your audience by launching a soft launch. Collect feedback and then scale up your campaign to reach a wider audience.
- Do more keyword research. Assess the volume of keywords searched for in your niche to determine if there is a high chance for sales.
4. 4. Decide which products you want to sell
You’ll likely have some ideas for how to build your brand once you’ve identified your niche. Don’t let your imagination get in the way of branding. Before you begin to develop your brand, you need to know what products you intend to sell.
While selling roasted coffee beans is an obvious thing, diversifying your product offerings will help your business be more sustainable over the long-term.
There are many food business concepts, but there are some common products that a coffee shop may choose to sell.
- You can ship baked goods like cookies and bite-sized cakes.
- Candles and air fresheners scented with coffee are examples of products that contain coffee.
- Coffee-flavored foods like chocolate and ice cream.
- Accessories such as coffee machines, kettles and pots.
- Hot chocolates and teas are all good options.
- You can brand your coffee mugs, as well as other print on-demand products. But keep your branding focus. It’s not a good idea to become a t-shirt shop that dropsships coffee.
Your branding is key to the products you sell. However, if your brand is a coffee brand, you should stick with coffee-related products.
A dissimilar collection of products can make your brand identity less clear and will make it more difficult to be noticed.
5. Your brand should be developed
Once you have a niche, a supplier, and decided on the products you will be selling it to, you can start building your brand. A strong brand will allow you to be consistent and authentic in all aspects of your marketing.
Coffee companies need to be distinctive, especially given the number of coffee brands. How well your branding connects with your niche will determine your success.
1. Understand your target audience
The personality of your customer is what will make your brand unique. Your brand’s personality is determined by understanding your target audience and how they talk, what’s important to their lives, and what resonates for them.
2. 2. Create a personality and voice that resonates with the audience
You can begin to create your brand’s personality once you have a good understanding of your audience. Consider the words that customers associate with your brand and what makes it different. Also, create a value proposition.
3. Select a name to represent your business
The first major commitment you will need to make is your storename. The name you choose for your brand will impact everything: your logo, domain, marketing, as well as many other factors. A business name generator is an option. Focus groups can be used to get feedback.
4. Choose the colors and fonts that best represent your brand.
Marketing is all about color psychology. Customers can perceive your company based on the brand colors you choose. Different shades of the same colour can have a profound impact on perceptions. A neon-colored green may be perceived as playful, while a forest green, which is muted, could be perceived as more serious.
Create a memorable slogan that defines your brand and your customers. Avoid common mistakes in copywriting. To spark ideas and understand your competition better, you might use a slogan generation or conduct your own ecommerce copywriting research.
Your logo will be displayed on all of your branding materials, including social media profiles, packaging and storefronts. It is an important part of your branding. A good logo is essential when marketing coffee.
7. As your business grows, you can apply, expand, and develop your branding.
Strong brands are consistent in all interactions with customers. Your brand should influence everything, from the product packaging to the theme you choose. While your brand can change, consistent branding will help you to be remembered.
An online store is essential for any business, no matter if you are looking to sell your brick-and mortar store or start your own.
Once you have a solid concept for your brand, along with colors, fonts and a logo, you’ll be able to start designing.