Do you want to work from home selling coffee? If YES, here are 20 powerful tips on how to sell coffee from home plus the 10 best places to sell coffee online.
Running any business (online or offline) is no walk in the park. When you want to run a business of selling coffee online, you will experience certain challenges and it can take some time to gain traction and start making a profit. However, if you hang in there and stick with it, and stay persistent throughout the process, your success rate will be much higher.
Starting your coffee business online can offer you a good opportunity to enter into the coffee retail industry while spending only a fraction of what you would have spent if you had gone the brick-and-mortar route.
Starting your online coffee business offers you the ability to “test the waters” of becoming an actual coffee shop or coffee stand owner (if that is your ultimate goal). Like other online businesses, you can leverage worldwide access to customers who are looking for quality coffee.
A lot of online startups such as Bean Box, and Death Wish Coffee have been able to achieve success and popularity just by selling coffee. Like most online businesses, they started small and then grew from there. The major advantage that encourages people to start selling coffee online is the relatively low investment that is needed.
Another benefit of starting an online coffee business is that you can simply “pay as you go” for things that you need to invest in when starting a successful online coffee business. Here are some tips on how to sell coffee online successfully;
20 Powerful Tips for Selling Coffee Online
1. Have a rock-solid business plan
If you are serious about selling coffee online, the very first step for you to take would be to have a rock-solid business plan.
Ideally, this document spells out exactly what your business is, how it will be profitable, defines your customer base, explores competitors, plans for growth, and provides troubleshooting strategies should you need help achieving your goals.
Your business plan does not have to be the traditional long-form business plan (unless you are seeking funding from a bank).
However, you will need to have at least a one-page pitch. This will allow you to quickly validate your business idea as well as get a good sense of what your market is, how you’re going to reach them and how you’re going to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
2. Determine Who You Are Going to sell to
Irrespective of if you are starting an online or offline business, it is very important to have a target customer in mind. Will your customers buy your coffee from you primarily online? Will your customers be other coffee shops and small local markets? Determining who your customer is (or will be) is important as you begin to create content that appeals to those individuals.
3. Create a Website and decide on an E-commerce Platform
If you want your online coffee business to be successful, you will need a professional-looking website for your customers to place their orders. It is very important that your website be responsive and professional looking complete with shopping cart features.
In addition, you should be able to take and process your orders from your customers in a secure way. An ideal website for selling coffee online should;
- be responsive on all devices (computers, smartphones and tablets et al.)
- Have shopping cart features that allow you to display your products
- Be able to process orders safely and securely
These days, there are a lot of affordable options which you can make use to create high-quality, secure websites without needing to be a tech wizard.
4. Develop Your Logo, Branding, and Packaging
In order to succeed in business, people have to trust your brand. A business of selling coffee online also needs trust. You will need to choose a name and logo that people can easily remember, trust, and which embodies the purpose of your business.
You can easily out the creation of your logo on freelance websites such as Upwork, Fiverr, Fivesquid, 99Designs, et al. When you have been able to settle the procurement of your logo, you should then create an ink stamp of your logo to be used on your coffee bags.
Some people may prefer to go for stickers instead; however, ink might be the most effective and low-cost way to do this. You can start with getting simple packaging for your coffee:
- Brown Paper Packaging (Use your own Ink Stamp)
- Black Paper Packaging (You’ll need a logo sticker)
5. Get your coffee from the right place
Many people experience a lot of confusion determining where to get their coffee inventory from. Where you actually get your coffee from really depends on what type of online coffee business you plan to establish and which products you wish to sell.
For instance, if you want to roast your own coffee beans and sell them online, you will need green beans or coffee that hasn’t been roasted yet.
You will most likely go through a coffee broker. Roasting your coffee beans yourself can offer you some benefits in the long run, including reducing the cost of operation and thus allowing you more freedom to create your own coffee roasting profile.
If you are looking to sell roasted coffee beans but not start your own roasting company, consider approaching local roasters in your area. Often local roasters would be delighted to work with someone who is buying coffee from them – even at wholesale rates. Consider selling their brand or selling under your own label.
6. Take Pictures and Get Your Written Copy Together
When you sell anything online, people will definitely want to see pictures and coffee is no exception. In addition, they also want to read about you, your business, and of course, your coffee! They want to see what your coffee will look like. This is why the quality of your packaging, your logo, your text used to describe your products is very important.
7. SEO is very important
The internet contains millions and millions of websites and a lot of them may offer the same thing you offer, however, a lot of people do not get to see these web pages, mainly because they have poor search rankings.
Since your business is based online, having your potential coffee customers find you online is essential to your success. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a general term for constructing your website and its content in a manner that it turns up easily search engines.
For instance, search engines prefer to boost website rankings to those websites that have fresh and relevant content for potential readers. Additionally, search engines love when a website is user-friendly, responsive to any device.
Website development with WordPress, Shopify, and Selz are all great for this. But you still have to do the work in creating content that Google believes is relevant. This is why creating and maintaining a blog, and offering detailed product description is important.
Elements of Good SEO for your Coffee Website:
- Clean Code Relevant Text
- Pictures (Size and titles of pictures are important)
- Detailed product descriptions
- Links (to and from your website)
Your website should also be optimized for local search. Google receives over two billion searches each month with local intent – and that’s just from desktop computers in the united states. Over half of all mobile searches use location-related keywords.
These metrics make a lot of sense when you consider that the internet is a perfect resource for busy people who are looking for things to do with little advance notice.
Make sure these people can find you by publishing content about your locale (mentioning your city, region neighborhood, and zip code), related businesses in your area, and relevant events taking place around you. If organic local search results are too competitive in your area, pay-per-click ad networks from Google and Facebook can give you a boost with geo-targeted campaign settings.
8. Have a social media account
Social media is a very powerful tool that can help to drive customers to your business. In addition, it also helps build brand awareness and offers something called “social proof” – that is, a certain type of legitimacy from the fact that other people are following you.
When it comes to your social media, there are so many options out there, so, where should you begin? You should have at least a Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts.
Opening so many accounts on various social networks can be overwhelming, so you will have to decide which is best for you and your clients. Using social media is free and you can even sell directly on your social media account as well. You can start with one or two social networking websites and then expand from there.
9. Build Networks To Help Your Business
The key to marketing your business is to build networks online and offline. Selling coffee online doesn’t just mean sitting on your couch and waiting for your neighbors to come. You will have to get out there are and introduce yourself and your business.
Approach coffee shops, cafes, and people at farmer’s markets. Selling coffee online from home can be fun, interesting, and profitable. The best way to do this is it stay active – proactive – and follow through on your plans.
Selling coffee online from home can start with sending out an email to coffee bloggers or other business organizations that might be interested in your coffee. Building networks can only help strengthen your brand and lead to sales. Selling high quality is not where everything ends, you need to network to maintain a connection to the area and to attract more customers.
10. Have excellent customer service
When selling your coffee online you will have repeat customers. In fact, repeat customers are the lifeline of your business. Once someone buys from you, there is a higher chance that they will buy from you again if you play your cards right.
Additionally, customers also share their thoughts with their friends and family. They also share the coffee too! Therefore, your customers can potentially be your biggest marketers. So, treat your customers like gold and you will be halfway to success!
When a customer has a question, answer it quickly. When a customer orders from you, send out the coffee as soon as you possibly can. Consider any loyalty rewards or strategies to keep your customer coming back. Stay in contact with them.
And most importantly thank them. Treat your customers as you would want to be treated. Always have it at the back of your mind that even though a customer who is happy with your store may not tell others about it, a customer who is unhappy with the services he got from you will definitely tell others about their experience.
11. Ride the Coffee Trend by Connecting to “A Cause”
Another possible way to approach your online coffee business is to discover a niche customer or coffee consumer. Selling coffee online from home can also be a great way to contribute to your local community or favorite organization. Many customers will buy your coffee if they feel that it supports a cause.
For instance, the cause you support can be for children with disabilities, veterans, schools, churches, homelessness, women rights et al
Pick a cause to help sell your coffee! People like the idea of helping others with the local coffee that they buy. By supporting a cause, you will create a win for you (a sale), a win for your customer (they get great tasting coffee and feel good about supporting you), and a win for the organization you are helping (an organization you love gets a small donation)
Consider what the organization that you want to help can do for your business. Can they help spread the word about your business, follow/share your social networks, or even buy coffee from you instead of buying from the corporate big-box store?
Connecting to a cause can inspire your customers to buy from you and can possibly provide you with an immediate supportive customer base.
12. Market your business effectively
Online marketing is one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal so you have to use it effectively. The important thing to remember is that your online store will take time to build traction – so start your website business with this understanding.
Anticipate that you will launch your store and it might take a while for you to get online visitor traffic. If you start marketing the day you open, you’re already behind. On opening day, you want people excited to come in. You’ll actually need to start marketing several months before you open.
Branding will also play an important role in developing your online business. Here are a few ways to promote your online coffee store:
- Engage in social media (open up new social media accounts in your business’ name)
- Write a blog post on your website regularly
- Develop your email list and send regular emails
- Meet new people in person and promote face-to-face
- Create business cards and hand them out
- Paid internet ads via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
- Reach out to coffee bloggers
Promoting your online store needs to be given your highest priority. Take some time to develop your plan in each of the above points.
13. Your Website Content is Hugely Important
When your website visitors arrive at your website, you will need to provide them with content. Your content can include your welcome message, your product descriptions, your pictures, your videos, et al. Before you launch, you should start developing your web content.
Determine what the front page of your website will look like. What will you say to new or returning visitors? If you are just starting out and you don’t have your coffee yet, you can start by getting your own packaging and labeling together and start taking pictures of bags.
The way you present your business matters a lot. Ask yourself, would you buy from you? And if not, why? Make your website and packaging as professional and clean as possible. You will find out that it can be quite easy and cheap to look as professional as more established companies who offer the same services.
14. Choosing your eCommerce Platforms and Payment Processors
Before you can launch your online shop, you need to decide on the technology you’ll use for selling and taking payments online. There are many user-friendly eCommerce platforms to choose from, all with their own pros and cons, so be sure to do your research beforehand.
Shopify, Big Commerce, and WooCommerce are just a few of the big names. Choosing a payment processor can also be difficult. As the number of your customer’s increases, the relatively small percentage processors charge can turn into a large sum of money.
Major companies such as Stripe and PayPal take a small fee plus a percentage from each purchase, while other processors might have a monthly payment option available. It’s up to you to crunch the numbers and decide which will be best for your business – as well as if you need to increase prices to cover this.
15. Be effective and diligent when Shipping your coffee
Don’t leave shipping till the last minute: you need a realistic idea of how much it will cost to send out your orders before you can begin pricing products. You can consider offering your customers free shipping as this will encourage them to patronize you more.
Ask yourself this: if your customers are already all in your city, and can pay the exact price for your coffee in a store but without the shipping fee, why would they prefer to purchase it online?
Since free shipping will still cost you money, this means that you will have to incorporate the cost into the price of your product. You’ll likely want to work through a shipping partner – and possibly a separate shipping program – for both domestic and international shipping.
They’ll help you print out your shipping labels and purchase postage. For international shipping, they’ll also help you select features such as tracking and insurance, as well as support you in other international shipping hurdles.
What’s more, in some countries – including the US – they’ll often give you better deals than the national postal service or other major carriers. For instance, APC Postal Logistics ships through USPS, but offers a hugely discounted rate as well as customized delivery options.
16. product pricing
It goes without saying that when selling your goods online, there will be some costs that you will incur which a brick and mortar business will not have (the reverse is also the case).
In addition to your payment processor, you’ll also need to take into account shipping, packaging, shipping labels, and anything else that goes out with your online orders. Do your research on how much you’ll be spending on marketing and execution before you price your product.
However, if you’re moving your storefront online, remember that you’re also increasing your competition. When you are online, you won’t just be competing with stores that are in your town but from the whole country and even the whole world.
As much as you would like to make your prices competitive, you don’t want people to purchase your products because of the price. Instead, you need to highlight your company’s other great qualities.
17. Get Active in Niche Food Photo Communities
When it comes to small food brand exposure via photo-sharing communities, Pinterest is just the beginning. Opportunities await on super-targeted communities that you might or might not have heard of, including Foodily, Instagram, Purpple, Kitchen Artistry, dishPal, and food-oriented groups on Flickr. Some of these platforms might have the relatively small reach, but the people there are already self-selected to be interested in what you’re offering.
18. Have an awesome “About Us” page
If a visitor goes to your “About Us” page, that means they are already interested in you and are giving you a chance to prove to him or her that your product is the best. In your about us page, you should clearly spell out what you are, what you do, and, most importantly, what you offer to clients. You can also add testimonials, achievements, and any kind of social proof here.
Make sure you don’t waste this opportunity as it may lead to gaining a customer. Your contact information should be clear and easy to find on your about page and throughout your website as well. Be sure to mention your phone number, email, address, and Social media channels.
Ideally, your ‘about us’ should not be jam-packed with information because this may overwhelm your visitors. “Contact Us” information is usually placed at the bottom of a website, and users are used to finding it there.
19. Offer Excellent Online Support
Your consumers need to know they will have support after they make a purchase if needed. Guaranteeing troubleshooting after the purchase and consulting before the purchase can convert potential buyers into loyal, returning customers.
The most comprehensive, helpful type of support is a live-chat feature that works 24/7. This tool can increase your site-wide conversion by 10% or more. If you don’t have the resources to offer round-the-clock support, you should still provide some type of service to help people during working hours.
Offer support at all stages of the shopping experience to encourage new buyers to make their first purchase and returning customers to continue making purchases. Make your customer support features, whether that’s a phone line or a chatbox, visible from the homepage so that buyers are aware of those services.
20. Value your loyal customers
Show your loyal customers you value their patronage by providing incentives that bring them back. Consider creating a loyalty program or producing a monthly newsletter that offers special deals and discounts to customers who subscribe.
Use your knowledge of your customers to craft specials they are sure to love. Even a simple “thank you” will show your customers you are grateful for their purchase and support. Building a loyal customer base will allow your coffee business to continue to grow.
In addition to selling coffee on your website, Shopify and Selz offer two excellent marketplaces for you to quickly and easily set up your own online business. You can get your domain name and hosting and shopping cart directly through each of them.
Both Shopify, Selz, and Weebly provide an excellent and secure shopping cart system where your customers can buy with confidence. Also, you can also sell your coffee online through Amazon.
In order to succeed at selling coffee online, you will have to use your passion, coffee expertise, marketing, or niche ideas along the way to generate additional value for your customers. In addition, you have to keep in mind that at first, you should consider having minimal inventory.
It doesn’t make sense to buy a ton of coffee to just sit there while you figure out your new online business. Start your business small and then grow from there.