💡 Open Idea: Build A Moat With Online Coffee Community Groups

by | Oct 22, 2020 | 🚀 Coffee Ecommerce, 🤝 Coffee Shop Marketing

Idea exploration: create a online community or group for your coffee business so you can engage with customers directly.
Coffee business customer research

Let’s explore an idea: online coffee community groups as impenetrable moats.

In the business strategy world, we talk a lot about building “moats” around businesses. A moat is some sort of feature or mechanism that makes it extremely hard for other companies to replicate what you do.

So despite growing competition, if you have a strong moat, you can keep easily keep copycats out — and loyal customers in.

(We’ve already talked a lot about how brand messaging and personality is an essential moat every coffee business needs to build.)

Examples of moats are…

  • Amazon Prime – This is a well-known example. Prime is attractive offer that enables free 2-day shipping, something most stores can’t replicate.
  • Gesha Village – This Ethiopian-based Gesha coffee estate is, as far as I know, the only exporter of Ethiopian Gesha beans. If you want that coffee, you can’t get it anywhere else.
  • La Marzocco – Brand recognition and prestige is a powerful moat, and unlike “features”, it’s extremely hard to replicate.

So let’s get into the idea.

Creating Online Coffee Community Groups For Your Coffee Business

Businesses everywhere are creating groups to build engaged communities that feed each other. They can engage with customers, ask questions, listen and learn, and create bonds between customers.

In a group filled with your customers, you can do things like… 

  • Ask customers what new drinks / products they want to see
  • Get direct feedback on the experiences you create
  • Market new products and initiatives
  • Generate real community by allowing customers to interact with each other
  • Use the insights to improve your business

Posting on Instagram, while essential, is primarily a one-way communication channel. With an online community, you can bring the two-way relationships you enjoy in-person to your digital presence.

Some coffee-related groups I really like are:

  • Perfect Daily Grind – PDG writers use this group to post new articles, as well as get direct feedback from readers and business owners. They then take those direct quotes and put them back into their articles to make them more compelling. Genius!
  • Coffee Business Owners Group – This is a thriving group, hosted by EspressoOutlet.com, that gives the owners an incredible source of insight into the daily struggles of owning a coffee business. They occasionally advertise product promotions in the group.

Online communities are powerful moats, because once people start engaging with each other, it’s difficult to find that organic, relational connection somewhere else.

The Upside: Boost Loyalty And Revenue

Customers who join communities know your brand better, join an emotionally-captivating “tribe”, and become more loyal customers.

Consider these statistics… 

  • Emotionally-connected customers will spend an annual sum of about $699 with a company, versus regular, satisfied customers who will spend an annual sum of only about $275. (Motista)
  • 80% of customers gradually gained loyalty for a brand over time, due to experiences with excellent products, service, reviews, advice, etc. (InMoment)
  • A modest 5% increase in customer retention leads to an increase in annual profits of 25% or more. (Bain & Company)

Simply put: creating an online community for your customer base may create real value for your business long-term.

How To Test The Idea In One Month

You announce you’re launching a limited-time group on Facebook for one month. A few hundred people join.

You post things about your coffees, send encouraging messages, share news about your local communiry, and use it as a way to build relationships with people who align with your values.

Use prompts to inspire conversation among the community so you’re not the only one responding day after day.

At the end of a few weeks, you can just call it quits if it didn’t yield any results, and say the group existed to remind us that we’re surrounded by community in this hard time.

If it yields good results or potential, you can keep it going.

Want To Try It?

I’d love to see a pioneering coffee company give this idea a try.

Is it you?

Hey 👋 I'm Garrett Oden

Hey 👋 I'm Garrett Oden

Freelance Coffee Marketer

I'm a coffee industry native who works with coffee brands around the world to create and execute captivating marketing strategies.

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