Kenny Soto Logo 2020
My Thoughts on Successfully Selling Coffee Online in 2021

Starbucks may be an outlier when it comes to selling coffee

2020 was a crazy year for many industries, especially the coffee industry. Companies like Starbucks have had to shift to prioritizing mobile and digital optimization last year, with 1/4 of all sales coming from mobile alone with the help of their app. However, not all companies have the resources that Starbucks have. Several Mom-and-Pop cafes have gone out of business because of the pandemic and others are struggling to survive. So today I’ve decided to discuss the best content marketing tactics a business could use, with little to no resources, to start selling their coffee online.

Let’s start with…content

Assuming that you’ve laid out all of your delivery options out and you have a plan to either use a third-party application/partner like UberEats or DoorDash to handle your delivery services—there still comes the challenge of generating a profit margin.

Whenever a restaurant uses a third-party app to handle its services, there is a large cost involved with that relationship. It often costs more money to make the food (in this case the coffee) and use a delivery service, than what is made from selling it. Some businesses will come at a loss when looking at the books at the end of the day.

With that being said, the best way to increase your chances of making a profit is to be the only option that a coffee lover would consider when craving something other than the “homemade brew.” Companies that are delivery-only have no overhead and definitely have a competitive advantage yet, the biggest competitive advantage lies in who does their marketing the best.

Putting aside whether or not you’re selling premium coffee blends in a monthly subscription service model, selling coffee mugs, or just selling an iced caramel latte to the customer two streets from your location—you have to be the first choice. This means being present in every acquisition channel available. It may seem daunting at first, but the best place to start is by making sure you have a professional website that captures the heart and story of your business and you choose one platform to share your content. 

If I were selling coffee today I would either start promoting content on Instagram or Youtube (or both if you can manage that from day one). Why? Well Instagram for one is versatile, I can begin with taking photos and capturing the process of how my team makes our coffee with video. I’d create several videos capturing the history of the business: why I started the “cafe,” why I love coffee, and how we are unique. And you don’t need fancy equipment.

Good lighting, your smartphone, and decent video editing software and help you create a “Coffee Lovers” show, as an example. This show would consist of how-to videos so that your customer learn how to make their favorite beverages at home, an interview series where you would research, contact, and interview coffee-masters from all around the world, and you could even go as far as doing reviews of coffee-themed music videos—just to see if the experiment works. 

The point here would be to just start. Start creating as much video content as possible, it doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to capture your business’s unique voice. From there, the next “hard part” would be making good coffee and over time, finding ways to reward current customers for referring their friends and family to your business. 

Obviously, there are other things to consider, but then again—these are just some random thoughts I came up with while sipping on my morning cappuccino. There won’t be one magic article that will give you all of the secrets, sit down and jot some ideas in a book. Then you hit record. It will be scary at first but, just think about the smile your customer will have when sipping your coffee.

If you liked this blog post, check out my thoughts on selling socks.


Image Credit: Unsplash 

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