Selling coffee online? Here's how to not get lost in the crowd


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Oct 26, 2020
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When coffee lovers have 1,000+ coffee companies to buy beans from, why should they buy from you? Give them a reason they can’t refuse.


I can’t count the number of times I’ve read these cliches on coffee ecommerce stores.

“We travel the world to find the BEST coffee beans…”

“Roasted to perfection…”

“Premium, small-batch, fresh roasted beans…”

You can start to feel your eyes glazing over, can’t you?

Coffee lovers have literally thousands of companies to buy coffee beans from. If your boldest claims on your website feel overused, disingenuous, or simply boring, customers will move on.

Amidst COVID-19, everyone is trying to sell coffee online. It’s more important than ever before to tell a unique brand message that connects with people emotionally.

9/10 companies don’t do that. Not an exaggeration.

If you can stick out with a compelling brand message — not just good visual branding — customers will flock to you.

✨ And all your other marketing strategies will become so much more effective because customers have a strong reason to pick you.

Here’s a quick guide to crafting a captivating brand message.

How To Find Your Brand Message
All coffee companies sell the same core product: coffee. Duh.

Even still, there are dozens of ways you can differentiate yourself from everyone else. Here are a few of them…

  • Tell a personal story. People engage with stories, and in a world that’s increasingly digital, people crave authenticity. Maybe a near-death experience taught you to appreciate the small things in life, like coffee. Perhaps a trip to Guatemala inspired you to create ethical supply chains for vulnerable people.
  • Aspire to something exceptional. People love bold missions and the people that aim for them fearlessly. Maybe that’s paying a minimum of $4.00 per pound of coffee. Or maybe paying all of your staff an unusually high salary. Aim high.
  • Support an honorable cause. Stand for something big? Donate frequently to a charity? Lean into the altruism so people know, without a doubt, that when they buy your coffee, they join your mission.
  • Target a precise audience. People love supporting the communities they’re part of. Maybe that’s brand messaging centered all around a group of people, like firefighters or veterans. Or maybe you’re ultra-passionate about your geographical location.
  • Do things differently. This one’s hard in coffee, since we all sell the same product. But is there something different about the way your source coffee? Do you have a special roasting technique? Maybe you ship beans differently, use special packaging, or hire economically disadvantaged people.

There are endless possibilities.

Whichever way you go, avoid clichés at all costs.
I know what works for me. The story. Coffee companies all are selling the same thing. What makes me take notice is a compelling story. Not necessarily the story of your own journey into roasting, or coffee, but a good story about the coffee, it's place in history, or just a story about waking up to the coffee.

There was an ad I saw years ago where the bleary eyed husband comes downstairs in the early morning and makes a pot of coffee. As he is pouring it, the music starts. Bamboleo from the Gypsy Kings, (Google it, wow, just wow it is morning coffee music).

Of course I switched to that brand of coffee!!! Was it better? Was it more honorable or eco-friendly, I had no clue. But that brief story of waking up in the morning really got to me. I could relate. The music did what maybe the coffee would. (Oh and I bought the greatest hits of the Gypsy Kings too.)