“I want to open a coffee shop” is a statement I hear very often from people who want to try something new with their life. Well, that’s not surprising considering this aromatic beverage has such a big influence in our lives. Fortunately with the internet, it’s now possible to have one even without a huge investment.
In this article, I am going to show how to start an online coffee business with a few simple steps and what you can do to monetize from it.
What You Will Need
What you basically need is 1) a domain name and 2) a website platform. Now, I know that there are many website builders that come with free domains and ‘easy-to-use’ platform. But I wouldn’t recommend them for business purposes because their services are often limited and/or requiring add-on fees for features that you could get elsewhere for free.
An online business is something that will grow and change over a long period of time. Hence, you should use a platform that’s more flexible, like the self-hosted WordPress. It might not be apparent now, but you’ll definitely find their features helpful when the time comes to expand your website.
There are several ways to come up with a domain name and I’ve given a few pointers for you to read on this page. I personally prefer the .com extension because I feel that they are easier to remember, plus it’s more professional looking.
SiteRubix is a domain and hosting platform that I like to use for this process. The affordable domain registration fee comes with privacy protection and email support which I think are two vital elements of an online business.
Right after purchasing the domain, it only takes four simple steps to connect to the WordPress platform and your website would be live within minutes. That’s how easy it is.
Monetization Technique #1 – Affiliate Programs
This method is best suited for bloggers or people who are passionate about everything coffee, but don’t want to manage stocks or handle the logistics. This keeps your investment to the minimum as you are basically paying for hosting, domain and other applicable web services.
You would market mainly through product reviews and since WordPress is an excellent blogging platform, you can use content such as articles, videos, images and even podcasts to generate traffic to your site.
The important thing here is to know what type of keywords to use for the content. Keywords are phrases/terms that people type in the search engines when they want to look for something online. When your content contains the targeted keywords, it’s easier to attract visitors to your blog and get them to read your product recommendation.
So, how do you earn money from blogging? Well, the company that you are affiliated with pays a percentage of sales commission when you refer a buying customer to their eCommerce sites.
While affiliate programs are free to join, approval isn’t always automatic as the company reserves the right to reject an applicant if the website is not appropriate by their terms and conditions. Basically, what they are looking for is relevant/informative content and sometimes, a certain level of traffic so that they know your blog is active.
The good news is, there are a lot of affiliate program opportunities out there from well-known brand/sites. Check out the list below and see if you are familiar with any of them.
- Amazon Marketplace – from 4% in sales commission (direct application)
- Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf – 4% (via PepperJam Network)
- Keurig (Canada) – 5% (via Conversant)
- Starbucks – 3 to 7% (Rakuten Linkshare)
- Illy – 6% (via Conversant)
- 1st In Coffee – 7% (via ShareASale)
- Coffee Wholesale USA – 9% (via Conversant)
- Cafe Britt – 8% (via Rakuten Linkshare or Conversant)
- Cross country cafe – 10% (via ShareASale)
- Volcanica Coffee – 10 to 20% (via ShareASale)
- Bean Box – 10% (via ShareASale)
- Gourmesso – 20% (via Conversant)
- Koa Coffee – 20% (via ShareASale)
What happens is that these companies will provide affiliate links for you to use within your web content. Whenever an interested reader clicks on these links, they will be lead to the merchant site to make a product purchase which will result in you earning a sales commission.
Monetization Technique #2 – Create an Online Store / Presence
Now, I know there are also a lot of mom and pop coffee shops and food truck owners who are wondering how to get more customers. Well, having a website can certainly create an online presence and you’d be surprised by the things that can be done using WordPress.
- Set up an online store to sell your coffee products or store merchandise (T-shirts, mugs, gift boxes and etc). You could consider using WooCommerce which is a neat eCommerce solution that integrates nicely with PayPal for processing payment. Besides that, you should also consider having a secure checkout page to assure that your customer’s personal information will not be violated in any way.
- Create an online menu so that customers can order food and beverages directly from your site instead of going through 3rd party ordering portals.
- Offer monthly coffee subscription services to keep your new/loyal customers coming back. It also helps to spread your brand through the word of mouth within the community.
- Provide wholesale services (if you have them) to help other shops grow their small businesses.
- Write a blog about your business – it’s great for social engagement and by using the targeted keywords technique mentioned earlier, your website has higher chances of getting ranked on the local search engines.
Do you know that you can also list your coffee business on Google for free?
Yup, if you operate from a physical address, Google will be able to advertise the store on their map every time someone does a local search. If it’s already listed like the example below, you just need to claim and verify the business location.
Last, but not least, what do you think about renting your business space to host for events such as gigs, birthdays or social events? Wouldn’t it be nice for people to have a good cup of coffee for these types of occasions?
That is something interesting to think about.
Turn Your Love for Coffee Into Profit
The internet is a wonderful platform for businesses to reach out to new customers and likewise, for people to explore coffee from various parts of the world. By creating a website, you not only learn how to start an online business, but also become a resource center for people who are interested in this niche.
Hopefully, this article has inspired some exciting ideas in you. It sure did for me so if you like to know more, please check out the step-by-step training at Wealthy Affiliate.
You may also be interested to read;