What if I told you there was a simple way to learn how to sell coffee online from home?
For context, I mean creating your own brand of coffee that you can sell on your own Shopify store to the masses. You get to decide what type of coffee, where the coffee beans come from, how your coffee is packaged, exactly how you want to market the brand, and more.
If you’re a coffee lover, it’s the ultimate passion business.
Let’s talk about the details…
Is Selling Coffee Online profitable?
Normally, passion businesses like coffee aren’t that profitable.
However, coffee is one of the few that are extremely profitable.
With most food & beverage products, the margins are average to slightly below average. The same goes for your everyday coffee. Yet, the right positioning can help improve your profit per unit. At the same time, it also has an extremely high repeat purchase rate. In fact, some DTC coffee brand owners actually see a 50% repeat purchase rate. That’s almost unheard of.
This makes it one of few food products that has the potential to do well online.
The trick is to understand how to sell coffee to achieve these numbers. The first is to have a coffee product that is differentiated and worth the premium price point.
How To Develop A Best Selling Coffee Product
The worst thing you can do is sell your own mini-Folgers or whatever cheap coffee brand that’s sold in your local area. Heck, you don’t even want to be a mini-Starbucks.
What you want is to develop your own high end, exclusive coffee.
This all starts from the origin of where your coffee beans come from.
For example, most Columbian coffee is typically the most popular coffee bean origin. Your job is to find coffee beans that are grown in another high quality location, but is not really known. This way, you’re the one who gets to sell the next “big” origin coffee lovers will love.
This is how some of the biggest luxury brands differentiate themselves.
The only downside to this method is that it’s a much harder route when it comes to ideation and sourcing. Yet, it’s absolutely critical. Otherwise, there’s no real point to starting a coffee brand because competing directly with the biggest coffee players is a losing game.
So with that in mind, you want to look for your origin.
This is going to come from first figuring out what the top 10 biggest DTC coffee brands are doing. What origins are they selling? How are they describing their coffee? What makes their coffee special and unique?
Now pair those answers with research from Google.
If you spend enough time on Google and cross-reference with what other brands are doing, you’ll eventually find an origin that you can use. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be a completely new origin. Just one not used by mainstream coffee brands. So if a competitor is already using a unique origin and they’re not an 8+ figure brand, then you can use the same one.
Once you figure out the origin, you can now look for coffee manufacturers.
Just type in your origin with phrases like “coffee private label” or “coffee manufacturer”. This will give you a ton of potential partners to work with. Although, you’ll more than likely have to double check with every sales rep and ask around to make sure they have your origin available.
Sell Coffee Online Business Plan: Build
If you really want to learn how to sell coffee online, then you need to build an audience.
The problem with most ecommerce marketing advice is that it relies on paid advertising to launch a business. However, the early stages of a coffee brand are also the most volatile. You just don’t have the volume or SKUs you need to really do paid ads correctly.
Instead, I suggest you spend 6+ months making coffee content.
This can be done on Youtube, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, or even a blog. For example, you could start a blog that reviewed the best coffee and coffee related materials out there. You can also do a TikTok where you use coffee as your “shtick” when it comes to jokes and dances.
Either way, you want to build this organically.
Then 2 months before you officially launch your coffee brand, you want to send people to an email opt-in form so they can sign up for your newsletter. This is the pre-launch newsletter that you’re going to use in the next step.
Sell Coffee Online Business Plan: Launch
It’s launch time.
Triple check you’ve got all the inventory you need, your Shopify store is officially up, you’ve got your shipping materials ready to go, and everything is working correctly. If so, you’re officially ready to start making some sales.
This is where all of your hard work comes to fruition.
To launch your coffee brand, you just need to let your audience know about it. This primarily means sending 3-5 emails to your pre-launch email list. In addition to this, you should also promote it in whatever organic marketing channel you chose such as Youtube or a blog. And finally, let all of your friends and family know too.
If you have a big enough audience, you should be able to sell all of your units.
Before you buy your next batch of coffee though, I would go with the mindset of having 2-3 mini-launches. This way, you can slowly and calmly make sure the economics behind your coffee is still profitable and that people are enjoying your coffee.
The 3rd mini-launch should be the official and permanent launch.
Sell Coffee Online Business Plan: Scale
Assuming everything goes well, the rest is just scaling.
First, keep doing what’s already working. So keep producing content to build up your audience and your email newsletter. Even during the scaling phase, it’ll form the foundation of your brand.
From there, you have 3 other primary choices.
We’ll worry about Amazon a little later. But the you should immediately think about running ads to sell more coffee. The key here is to understand that you need to leverage your current customer list to make profitable LLAs on Facebook and to understand that your numbers need to work.
To make your numbers work, you want to sell bundles and subscriptions.
So don’t sell individual coffee bags with ads. Instead, always try to sell a package of 2-3 bags to immediately increase your AOV. Later, you want to use email marketing to then turn those customers into paying monthly subscribers.
If you can figure paid ads out, then you’ll have plenty of data for retail.
With retail, you need to prove that you have a good selling product before they’ll let you put in on their shelves. So leverage all of the customer data you’re getting from Facebook ads and your audience building efforts to get wholesale deals.
Considering wholesale is where most food & beverage brands scale, this will be key for you.
Is It Profitable To Sell Coffee On Amazon?
Amazon FBA is a slightly different beast than selling on your own Shopify store.
If you can tap into Amazons SEO ecosystem, you will open a floodgate of sales. At the same time, you’ll need Amazon PPC to help get you there. Plus, Amazon will take a good portion of your revenue per sale. So you’ll definitely make less money per sale on Amazon.
Yet, Amazon is one of the most profitable places to sell coffee, period.
Think of Amazon like the digital version of wholesale. You trade dollars per sale in exchange for huge amounts of volume. This means as long as you have a healthy profit margin to begin with, which you should if you’ve followed all the steps above, then this is a profitable trade.
How To Sell Coffee On Amazon
Amazon is interesting because it’s actually really hard to do well in.
Amazon SEO is amazing, but because Amazon’s algorithm is based on total sales, then you need to jumpstart it with outside traffic. Luckily, if you’ve done everything else, you already have an audience ready to buy more coffee from you.
As you can tell, the secret to learning how to sell coffee online is to leverage your assets.
The same goes for Amazon.
You can then pair your outside traffic with some Amazon PPC. As long as you have a strong, SEO-optimized listing, then it’s only a matter of time before your coffee starts ranking. And when that happens, then get ready to deliver on a ton of sales.