By Damon Shrauner
Coffee is the nation’s most popular beverage, with over two-thirds of the population drinking coffee every day. The market for the beverage is huge, and there will always be a consistent demand for good coffee. Nobody can ignore a good cup of Joe early in the morning. However, recent times have necessitated social distancing measures & lockdowns that have changed the way businesses operate and people’s expectations from businesses. Not only is this the right time to get started on your online coffee store concept, but is also a safe and lucrative option to help you enter the foray by risking the bare minimum. We discuss how you can start selling coffee online, the benefits associated with it, and its profitability in the sections that follow.
Eight Steps to Begin Selling Coffee Online From Your Home
1. Determine Your Niche
Since the coffee market is huge, it encompasses a variety of large brands. Competing with the big names can be difficult for small businesses. However, targeting a subset of the large market can be an area where small businesses can make their mark. Before you begin selling coffee online, make sure you choose whether you want to sell coffee pods, syrups, dark roasts, light roasts, or third-wave coffee. Determining your niche opens up untapped customer pools, and allows you to establish yourself as a trusted business within the niche.
2. Define Your Ideal Customer
As an online coffee seller, you will serve a variety of customers that include both other businesses and individual coffee drinkers. These consumers are bound to have different needs. Cafes tend to buy their coffee in bulk and often choose whole bean roasts, on the other hand, busy restaurants and delis prefer ground coffee since it’s easier to brew. Individual consumers will prefer small bags of ground or whole beans to satisfy their caffeine pangs.
3. Craft a Business Plan
While your business plan doesn’t have to be too detailed, you still need material to make accurate projections. Estimate the volume of coffee you intend to sell, purchase costs, and the funds needed for coffee shop equipment before you set up shop. Once you begin operating, track your running costs, and study your inventory to identify the popular offerings and also those that aren’t as popular.
4. Get a License to Sell Coffee Online
Before you begin serving your customers with their favorite coffee products, don’t forget to get in touch with the authorities to get your business registered. Also, get permits from the health department and the food authorities to ensure your business follows all the codes set by the government for the food & beverages industry.
5. Create an Attractive Website & Choose an eCommerce Platform
Since you do not have a physical store, having an attractive website is imperative to your business’ success. Design an easy-to-use, crisp, and professional website to keep your customers engaged. Optimize the site for various devices, add a shopping cart feature, and contact experts to create an eCommerce feature on your website. Keep your site secure and provide the best security features to secure both your business and your customers’ identities & finances.
6. Look for A Reliable Supplier
You require a trustworthy and reliable supplier to ensure your products and services reach your customers on time. The quality of beans is directly linked to your supplier’s offerings. This has a great impact on how your coffee is perceived by your customers. Choose a supplier that offers the best deals on high-quality coffee, has quick turnaround times, provides prompt delivery, and is customer-friendly.
7. Create Online Content
Your website requires quality content to keep pushing the boundaries of engagement. Upload high-resolution photos of your products, give your customers detailed & attractive descriptions of products to help them understand your products better. Keep your website up-to-date with the latest information, pricing, and also publish blog posts and engaging written content to drive organic marketing.
8. Offer Top-notch Customer Service
Creating a successful online coffee business involves keeping your customers satisfied so they return to your business, and also spread the word about your products. Provide customers with the best products and be sensitive to their requirements. Happy customers are the first sign of a successful business. Make sure you respond to customer grievances and offer appropriate solutions promptly.
The Benefits of Selling Coffee From Home
Whether you’re a professional barista or someone looking for a side business, operating a home-based coffee business involves several advantages, some of which are:
Since you operate out of your house, you don’t have to travel between your residence and your place of business. It’s possible to sell coffee online on a part-time basis, and the core requirement is centered around shipping your coffee products on time.
2. Flexible Schedule
You can always get to your regular day job or other responsibilities while operating your online coffee business. The schedule can be flexible and all you would have to do is supplement the hours lost either before or after your engagements.
3. Low-cost Business
The investment required for an online coffee business is quite low. The business model also comes with a lower risk quotient when compared to setting up a cafe that requires retail space, large machinery, and maintenance.
An online coffee shop can help prepare you for entering the larger coffee market by establishing your name. You can learn several intricacies of the coffee industry, and also branch out into the expansive beverage scene eventually.
Is Selling Coffee Online Profitable?
Since coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, the market is always going to exist. The key to making your online coffee business profitable is to make customers want the coffee you make. Focus on creating a brand for yourself, tap into a niche market, and take the advantage of the benefits small businesses attract. Setting up a crisp online platform and centering your business around customer satisfaction is sure to pay off in the long run.
Whether you’re an existing business owner looking to expand into the online coffee market or a novice, starting your own online coffee business can offer an insightful experience. While nothing of value comes easily, following the steps mentioned above will certainly help you carve out a niche for yourself and establish your brand in the market.
About the Author
Damon Shrauner, Senior Sales Consultant and VP on B2B Sales at ChefBuyer, working in the foodservice equipment sector since 1994. With his expertise in market analysis, product placement, sales, and project management, he will always tell you what to do for the best of your business.