Those of you who have already paid a visit to one of our Coffeedesk coffee shops know that our business is not only about selling brewed coffee. The shelves on our premises are full of coffee bags, coffee making equipment, travel mugs, porcelain cups, grinders and books. Why? Keep on reading.
You might think that a coffee shop should make profits mainly from brewing coffee and serving snacks. And yet, we suggest offering a wider range of possibilities to your Clients. With quality products on the shelves of your coffee shop smiling at your customers, your profits can rise significantly. However, to make this enterprise the most profitable you need to know what products to sell and how to do it. We can’t wait to share this knowledge with you!
Anticipate your Clients’ needs. Act before they ask you what coffee they had and buy it from another trader (simply because they can’t do it at your place). By selling coffee, tea and brewing equipment, you make your Guests develop a passion for quality brews, and, also, you earn on it.
Agnieszka Bukowska, manager of a Coffeedesk coffee shop and co-author of the book ,,Coffee Spots Poland”, claims that educating clients is key to making a success out of a speciality coffee shop.
Speciality coffee still makes up only a small percentage of the total coffee consumption in our country. The more people we will convince to brew high quality coffee at home, the higher standards they will expect when visiting their favourite coffee shops. By selling coffee retail, a coffee shop can not only increase its profits, but it can also position itself as an expert, build customer loyalty and make clients come back for a delicious cup of coffee to a given coffee shop where they also have a possibility of taking the aroma home rather than to large coffee chains.
A similar opinion is expressed by Paulina Napora, manager of the Coffeedesk coffee shop in Kołobrzeg:
Products sold retail help us educate guests coming to our premises. They widen their horizons and allow them to experiment with new coffee or tea flavours. Apart from that, our guests can purchase the same equipment we use to brew coffee. By making a drip or brewing with an AeroPress we show how easy it really is to make coffee. And when the product is there on the shelf, we can simply show it to our guests and convince them to purchase it on the spot.
If you are worried that a Client who has purchased coffee at your coffee shop won’t drink it there, you are mistaken! 70% of those who come to buy coffee, stay on the premises anyway. Guests who purchase coffee to take it home are usually regulars and value your coffee shop mainly for the atmosphere you have created there. Łukasz Wichłacz, Coffeedesk CEO, says:
A need to drink quality coffee at home is something quite different from going out with friends for coffee – those needs don’t cannibalise each other.
Let’s move on to finances: how much can you earn?
At times, you can actually earn more on selling products retail than on brewing coffee itself. At Coffeedesk coffee shops, coffee brewing equipment and dry coffee sales make up over a half of the coffee shop earnings. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
In Agnieszka Bukowska’s view, retail coffee sales have great potential:
In 2018, 53,49% of our revenues came from retail sales. This means that we have earned more on coffee and accessories which Guests take home than on brewed coffee, cakes, sandwiches and drinks.
Admittedly, we don’t know if your coffee shop is big or small or whether it is located in a big city or in a small town. However, we are sure that by offering coffee, tea and brewing equipment to your Clients you could even double your revenue.
How to sell coffee from the shelf?
Your Clients tend to like the products which they know. For that reason, at Coffeedesk coffee shops we have set up a shelf entitled Coffeedesk’s favourites presenting the coffee types that can be tried on our premises. When Guests enjoy drinking a given coffee, they can take identical beans home.
If you represent a speciality café , you will often find yourself in a situation where you have to tell your Clients that they need specific tools for brewing coffee similar to that offered on your premises. At this point, it is useful to ask yourself a question whether you invest sufficiently in the education of your baristas. It is them who meet Clients every day and it is their job to make Guests feel pampered, both at the bar and at the shelf.
According to Paulina Napora, emphatic baristas are a key element in selling coffee from the shelf:
In what ways can baristas influence retail sales? First, they should be extremely emphatic and open to new people, and encourage more timid regulars to ask questions. What also matters is storytelling; that is, telling stories about… everything we sell! It is essential to know our products inside out, including details like, for example: Hario in Japanese means ”the king of glass”, Teapigs tea bags are made from maize starch, which makes them biodegradable and the AeroPress was invented by a man who manufactured frisbees. Right at the beginning we also train our baristas in the fundamentals of sales, that is, upselling and cross-selling, which can be summed up as conscious observation and analysis of our guests’ needs.
There are a few tricks that can help you from the shelf; apart from barista’s personal charm, you can also use cross-selling techniques that Paulina has mentioned. What do we mean by that? Whenever a Guest buys a coffee making device, you can offer them a suitable coffee type as well. If, on the other hand, they buy a Drip Coffee Maker, Chemex, AeroPress or Moccamaster, offer them filters – possibilities abound.
Paulina Napora shares her another secret to increasing sales:
I have found out from my own observations that people are often ashamed or not brave enough to ask about something. One thing that we keep repeating to our staff who work the shift is that they should speak loudly. When we are at the shelf, describing our products or coffees to our guests, we do it in a way to make people sitting at the nearest table hear a part of the story. This intrigues them and incites them to come to the shelf or bar and ask a question.
What are the top-selling products of the Coffeedesk coffee shop in Warsaw?
Number One – Coffee
In 2018, coffee beans made up almost 55% of retail sales at Coffeedesk coffee shops. How can you make coffee purchase easier to your Clients? Split the beans into those for espresso and moka pot, and those for alternative brewing methods. It is worth also forming two groups based on the flavour: bolder coffee with chocolate or nutty notes and lighter coffee with floral or fruity notes. Everybody’s life will be made easier: Guests will quickly know where to look for what they need, and so will baristas who during peak times don’t know whether they are coming or going.
In 2018, the top-selling product of Coffeedesk coffee shops was Audun Coffee: Brazil Fazenda Rainha Miaki. 3 coffee types from a Swedish roastery Johan&Nyström, namely Ethiopia Guji, Brazil Fortaleza and Ethiopia Welena, also made it to the retail sales top 10. Third place was taken by a cofeee from Kofi Brand roastery: Brazil Guaxupe.
Number Two – Alternative coffee brewing equipment
(slightly less than 15%)
When at a coffee shop you see a drip coffee maker, Chemex and AeroPress, you can feel the need to have such marvels at home. No wonder that one of the retail top-selling products is precisely the AeroPress. How can you encourage your guests to browse the shelf dedicated to alternative brewing ? Place the brew bar nearby and give the barista some space to tell their stories about brewed coffee.
Number 3 – Grinders
(slightly under 10%)
If you enquire any coffee specialist about the most important coffee brewing accessory, they will almost certainly answer: grinder. Why? Because evenly ground coffee beans are key to wellbrewed coffee. Next time a Guest asks you to grind coffee for them at a setting, tell them how freshly ground coffee beans enhance the coffee flavour and direct them to the grinders on the shelf.
We have several other product categories with a similar sales volume which didn’t make it onto the podium
Reusable and thermal mugs
The zero-waste trend is spreading across the country and the initiatives such as ”bring your own mug” are increasingly popular. A growing number of coffee shops reduces the number of disposable mugs and lowers the prices for coffee poured directly into your mug. Taking part in such initiatives can be worthwhile. You can also take this opportunity to persuade your Guests into purchasing a stylish travel mug.
You can also run your own promotional campaign. If you want to keep your Clients coming back, offer them a discount when they visit you with a mug purchased on the premises!
According to American scientists (and, as you know, they always know best) the coffee industry is currently stepping into the fourth wave, which means that we know much and need to know even more about coffee. No one is a better storyteller than Jim Seven or Scott Rao and their books can do a good job for you.
They say that a speciality coffee lover is also a craft beer, natural wine and high-quality tea enthusiast. So why not offer speciality tea to your Guests? First, they will certainly enjoy it themselves, second, marvels such as Teministeriet or Paper&tea will surely make the hearts of their colleagues, mums, aunts and mothers-in-law melt.
Are you in doubt about what is best for your coffee shop?
Certainly, not every coffee shop should have an identical shelf. Ever since the creation of the Coffeedesk coffee shop, we have focused on quality and matching our products to the needs of our Clients.
Agnieszka Bukowska on the retail sales strategy at the Coffeedesk coffee shops:
At the Coffeedesk coffee shops and in our online shop we focus on providing excellent service, which is all about listening to our Guests and meeting their expectations. We consider all needs and we put product diversity and a wide choice range at the centre. When our Clients keep asking about a sweeter coffee type with chocolate and nutty notes for moka pot, we try to provide several choices, we don’t push Kenya coffees which are so beloved by baristas. We also bring our online new products onto our shelves with the aim to satisfy the curiosity of our Guests and to let them see and touch the product before they make a purchase.
Łukasz Wichłacz says:
Retail sales are one of the essential elements of strategy at our coffee shops. In this way we can combine online and offline, with guests coming to the coffee shop to see and try products which they can then order online. What’s more, they can always ask for advice.
Maybe your coffee shop is not quite as spacious as Coffeedesk coffee shops; then you have to limit the number of products sold retail, but it is important to still keep to the rule of being attentive to guests’ needs and always willing to meet them. As Paulina Napora puts it:
We offer a good range of choices to our guests, but we also focus on quality. A shelf has to please the eye: it is colourful, transparent and, most importantly, we restock systematically. When choosing the products, we take into consideration the preferences of our guests. For instance, as you can see, in Kołobrzeg we sell more coffee for espresso than in Wilcza (Warsaw) where pour-over coffees are in more demand.
As Łukasz Wichłacz says, starting with retail sales entails no high risk:
Most importantly, starting with retail sales poses no serious risks. Accessories don’t spoil, they can stay longer on a shelf and wait for the customer who would be interested in purchase. If you are a coffee shop owner, you have some free space anyway, you only need to manage it. The shelf is going to work like a classic upselling technique for your business. On the same premises, you are going to generate additional revenue by expanding your retail product range.
You don’t need to make heavy investments to start selling retail. For a small coffee shop which doesn’t have much free space, a sum of about 2,000 euro should suffice. What should you invest that money in? First, coffees you sell your guests: buy a few coffee bags of each type, put them on a shelf and see how quickly they will disappear. Place there a few eye-catching tea packs too, for example Teapigs teas. They are perfect gift ideas and will decorate the shelf nicely. You are going to need some accessories too. With that sum, you can afford for example grinders, scales and kettles from Hario. Don’t forget about travel mugs: KeepCups will draw the attention of your customers and won’t scare them off with their price.
If you can invest as much as 5,000 euro, you can opt for more accessories within a higher price range on the shelf. You can go for Acaia scales, Comandante grinders or coffee makers and automatic grinders. You can try first to grab the attention of your customers with a Moccamaster; this stylish pour-over coffee maker is bound to conquer your guests’ hearts with its beautiful colours.
If you decide to offer a really vast range of products and are ready to spend over five thousand euro on various products, you can offer to your guests many different tea and coffee types, as well as accessories from different brands. Apart from the products mentioned above, you can put on display stylish Loveramics ceramics, books about coffee, coffee servers and jugs. But then you will need more space too.
If you still can’t make up your mind about what products would be suitable for your shelf, contact our B2B sales specialists’ team. Our traders are most often baristas themselves and they know exactly what your Clients crave for. You may decide to sell only those kinds of coffee which you brew on your premises, but if your coffee shop is spacious and located downtown, it will be a perfect place to sell some bigger equipment, like coffee makers or grinders.
If the perspective of higher earnings and the image of a coffee specialist appeal to you, focus on selling retail. But always remember that your success depends on the amount of work you and your baristas put into the enterprise… and obviously on your love of coffee!