10 Easy Steps to Selling Coffee Online From Home
You gotta start somewhere. Thousands of would-be coffee shop owners have opted to start online than with a traditional “brick and mortar” coffee business.
We’ve helped hundreds of small business owners start their coffee shop, coffee stand, kiosk, or bakery. But many more aspiring coffee shop owners want to enter the retail coffee industry and struggle to find the money to do so. Many more are very sensitive to the risk of losing money. This is certainly understandable.
Still, others want to simply see if “selling coffee” is the right fit for them and want an avenue to “dip their toes in the retail coffee industry. Selling coffee online is a great way to do this. If this describes you, then perhaps the first step to starting a coffee shop (or any business) might be selling coffee from home. I
In the following article, we’ll explore just how to do that. Please note that Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which I get compensated at no additional cost.
How to Sell Coffee Online From Home
Meet “BioWilly”, owner and roaster of BioWilly’s Beans.
I had a chance to interview William a few years back just as he was starting his own business: roasting and selling his coffee right out of his own home in Seattle. William is a former middle-school teacher and an eco-friendly guy who loves coffee.
He wanted to sell his own coffee from home. In his basement more specifically.
So, as it would turn out, he decided to start roasting his own beans and selling them from home.
As a former science teacher, he roasts his beans a little differently – using solar power. Just to give you an idea of who Willy is, he also retrofitted his car to run on restaurant grease too. So it was natural that he called his coffee roasting company, BioWilly's Beans.
Today, he sells his coffee online and to coffee retail businesses… right from his own home!
While he roasts from his basement with his small Deidrich roaster that has a flue that carries the smoke outside, many people can sell coffee from home without having it to roast the coffee beans themselves. In other words, you don't necessarily need to roast your own beans to sell them at home.
If you want to sell coffee too there are plenty of options to do so. And in this article, we will review your various options.
Please Note: Our aim is to provide you with options to start your own business. Some of the links are affiliate links and I may be compensated if you decide to purchase anything at no additional cost to you.
The Benefits of Selling Coffee Online From Your Home?
People love coffee. Most of the time, people who love coffee, simply buy the same store-bought brands without thinking about it…. But what if you can change that within your family and friends?
What if you can offer people coffee that you love? What if you can share the story behind the coffee that you are offering (Whether it’s the unique flavors that come from origin country or the roasting techniques?
You would be providing a convenient and interesting coffee tasting opportunity for people. This is all possible with selling coffee online from home – and you can do it at a considerably lower cost then starting a coffee shop.
There are quite a few benefits to selling coffee from home. Let’s offer a few of the benefits now:
- Overall lower costs
- Allows you a flexible schedule
- Makes a great part-time (or full-time) business
- Allows you to “try out” the retail coffee business
- Helps you to develop your coffee brand and messaging
- Helps you to develop a dedicated following (customer base) of your coffee
- You can work on a “pay-as-you-go” inventory setup
Selling Coffee Online From Home Can Be Profitable…
Selling coffee online can be profitable, but it can also be hard. It takes diligent and consistent work to make money online. Success comes to those who work hard, dedicate themselves to learning, adapting, and sticking with it.
Success comes easier, however, to those who plan out their business. Additionally, success comes to those who take them time to think about their plan and executes it well.
Selling online can deliver all the benefits listed above, including delivering you a personal profit and an excellent start to opening your coffee shop.
Determine Who You Are Going To Sell To
When you start any business (including an online business) you want to know who you are generally going to sell to. In other words, who will your customers be?
Will your customers buy your coffee from you primarily online? Will your customers be other coffee shops and small local markets? Do you remember BioWilly's Beans from above? He sells his coffee both online to individuals and to local food/coffee establishments.
Determining who your customer is (or will be) is important as you begin to create content that appeals to those individuals.
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.
There is simply no way around it, you need a responsive and professional website to sell your coffee from home.
Your website should be professional looking, have shopping cart features, and be able to take and process your orders from your customers in a secure way. There are plenty of rules that you need to follow to process your orders, so my recommendation is that you get a third-party e-commerce platform, such as Shopify or Selz, to process and store your customer's credit card information. In addition to processing your customer transactions safely, you want your website to look good, clean, and professional.
Your website needs:
- To be responsive (look good with any device)
- Have shopping cart features that allows you to display your products
- Be able to process orders safely and securely
We’ve received positive responses from previous write-ups done about setting up your e-commerce website before, you can read them here.
What we have found is that today you have affordable options to create high-quality, secure websites – without knowing or understanding any computer techie stuff!
Let’s just review the website store options we have previously recommended:
Shopify and Selz offer two excellent platforms 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. Selling coffee online from home will be done a lot more effectively with a dependable e-commerce platform.
Step # 3
Develop Your Logo, Branding and Packaging
Much of your success will be based on people trusting your brand. So choose a name and logo that people can easily remember, trust, and which embodies the purpose of your business.
If you need help creating a logo consider visiting 99Designs or Fiverr.
Once you get your logo, create an ink stamp of your logo to be used on your coffee bags. You may also decide to create stickers instead, but ink might be the most effective and low-cost way to do this. You 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)
Determine Where You’re Going to Get Your Coffee From
Where will you get your coffee inventory? This is is always a big question for people who want to sell coffee online from home. Where do you get your coffee to actually sell to your customers?
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 example, if you want to roast your own coffee beans and sell online, you will need green beans or coffee that hasn’t been roasted yet. You will most likely go through a coffee broker.
Starting your own coffee roasting operation can be beneficial in the long run, driving down costs, and allowing you the 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 (just like Bean Box) or selling under your own label.
Start Taking Pictures & Getting Your Written Copy Together
When you sell your coffee from home or online through your website, people will want to see pictures. They also want to read about you, your business, and of course, your coffee! They want to see what your coffee will look like. The quality of your packaging, your logo, your text used to describe your products are all important.
Here's a quick story: I get many emails from people asking me why they have no sales from selling coffee online. Recently, I got an email from a woman who had put a lot of work into her website and asked me why she didn't have any sales yet. When I took a look at her website, she didn't have any pictures of her products, nor any descriptions of her coffee! Once she did that she began to see her sales jump!
Determine what the front page of your website will look like. What will you say to new or returning visitors?
If you don’t have your coffee yet, consider getting your own packaging and labeling together and start taking pictures of bags. It's no secret that your presentation is important. Ask yourself, would you buy from you? And if not, why? Make your website and packaging as professional and clean as possible. Today, it's easier and cheaper to look just as “professional” as more established companies.
Keep SEO in Mind From the Very Beginning
There are millions of web pages available. Most of them are never found by most people because they have poor search rankings.
Having your potential coffee customers find you online is essential to your success. “Search Engine Optimization” is a general term for constructing your website and its content in a manner that search engines like – or that is optimized to be found online.
For example, Google loves to boost website rankings to those websites who have fresh and relevant content for potential readers. Additionally, Google loves 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, offering detailed product descriptions, and other text is important.
Google loves when you start blogging and offering your customers a depth-of information. This is also a win-win situation for you too, because the longer your customer stays on your website the higher the likelihood that they will buy from you.
Elements of “Good SEO” for your Coffee Website:
- Clean Code
- Relevant Text
- Pictures (Size and titles of pics are important)
- Detailed product descriptions
- Links (to and from your website)
Start Opening Your Social Media Accounts
Social media is important because it could really help drive customers to your website. 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, where should you begin? I recommend opening your social media business accounts using Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. It can be overwhelming to open up so many accounts, so decide on which is best for you and your customer.
The great thing about social media accounts is that they are free! Many people can also sell directly on their social media accounts as well. Choose one or two to get started and start adding content (pictures, videos, and simply introduce yourself!)
Build Networks To Help Your Business
The key to marketing your business is to build networks online and offline. Selling coffee online from home doesn’t just mean sitting on your couch and waiting for your neighbors to come knocking (though they might!). 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 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.
Deliver Excellent Customer Service Every time
Selling coffee online from home most likely will entail having repeat customers. Repeat customers are the key to your business success. In fact, once someone buys from you, the higher the chance that they will buy from you again.
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 half way to success!
So what does it mean to offer “excellent customer” service?
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.
Buck 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 want to buy coffee if it supports a cause, a group, an organization. We’ve discovered one company who sells coffee to help veterans.
Other online coffee stores want to help children with disabilities, schools, churches, or fight homelessness in your city.
Pick a cause to help sell your coffee! People like the idea of helping others with the local coffee that they buy. Start looking at different ways to create a win-win-win situation with the coffee that you area selling.
Specifically, this is what I mean when you choose to go this route:
- A win for you (a sale)
- A win for your customer (they get great tasting coffee and feel good about supporting you)
- 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.
Selling Coffee From Home Can Only Be Profitable
But You Have To Do One Thing… You Gotta Start
Selling coffee online from home, either online or offline, can generate a great opportunity for you in the retail coffee business. It can help familiarize yourself with the local retail industry, build your brand, develop your customer base for a coffee shop opening in the future, and help bring in extra money.
Simply, start where you are.
Take one thing at a time. And perhaps more importantly, you need to do something today to get your online coffee business going. Whether is getting your website store and domain name (using Shopify, Selz, or Weebly), or whether you want to get a logo design made, you have to start somewhere but you have to just start.
We've laid out some pretty easy-to-follow steps for you to get started! If you are still unsure where to begin, send us an email or get our online guide to starting your own online coffee business by signing up for our free guide and newsletter.
Resources to Selling Coffee Online From Home: