Low Coffee Sales? Here Are 6 Ways To Hustle For Your Business

by | Oct 8, 2020 | 🚀 Coffee Ecommerce, 🤝 Coffee Shop Marketing

Selling coffee online or in-store is never a matter of make it and they will come. You have to hustle to get customers - here are six ideas that work.
Coffee business customer research

I participate in a handful of coffee business groups across Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms. At least twice per week there’s a post by someone who’s starting to feel nervous about low sales volume.

Here’s one I saw recently.

I know it takes time to build up a customer base. I’ve had a lot of regulars and it’s only our second month, but sales still aren’t quite where I want them. I’m also impatient ? does anyone have any tips?

Replies typically revolve around a few key ideas.

  • “You gotta get out there!”
  • “Have you tried Facebook?”
  • “More traffic will come, don’t worry.”

Many replies are transparent and helpful. Other times people suggest the person. I’ve even seen the recommendation to “just open a drive-thru” (no biggie, right?).

Having worked with a variety of both coffee shops and ecommerce stores, I’ve seen first-hand a number of ways that any business owner can hustle to drum up interest, traffic, and sales.

I’d love to share a few ideas I’ve seen work extra-well.

Also Read: 7 Coffee Ecommerce Marketing Strategies That Are 100% Free

1. Go Fixer Upper On Your “Google My Business” And Social Media Profiles

For: 🤝 Coffee Shops || 🚀 Ecommerce Stores

If you’ve seen how Chip and Joanna renovate houses on HGTV, you know that even small special touches can go a long way in making a space feel like home. For your customers, the same is true for your online presence.

When potential customers see an Instagram, Yelp, or Google page that looks unkept, they’ll move on to another business that seems more active.

Here are a few ways you can tidy up your profiles in under an hour.

  • Update your Google My Business page with donation and gift card links and information about curbside pickup
  • Grab your business’s best photograph and make it your featured image on Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc so you can make a great first digital impression
  • Copy this free linktree alternative template I made using Notion and create a more user-friendly experience for social media browsers
  • Update your hours everywhere
  • If you sell coffee online, sign up for Google Shopping, which is finally free for businesses around the globe

Search engines reward profiles that are complete — which means greater visibility and traffic — so if there’s an opportunity to add more information about your business, take it.

2. Reach Out To Local Newspapers, Influencers, And Other Media

For: 🤝 Coffee Shops || 🚀 Ecommerce Stores

Take it from someone who creates content for a living: we love it when people bring us ideas to write about.

Your local news station is always looking for the next story to run. Local influencers always need more fresh content for people who follow them. YouTubers, authors, local celebrities… these folks are in constant need of new ideas for things to promote or create.

So go find them and say hello.

I strongly suggest pairing some kind of promotion or discount with press coverage to make the most of the exposure.

Offer a new business discount, student ID deals, a birthday giveaway. Anything to inspire people who learn about you to take action.

This is easier for coffee shops and cafes, because they’re already community hubs, but even ecommerce stores can take advantage of this as well – especially if you roast locally and have local customers.

Read: 3 Lessons From Membership Marketing Coffee Shops Can Apply To Boost Customer Retention

3. Give Out “Free Drink” Vouchers In Local Community Spaces

For: 🤝 Coffee Shops

If you’re really low on sales, you’ve just gotta get people in the door. And there’s no better way to do that than offer free stuff (who doesn’t love free coffee!?).

Visiting local community spaces (restaurants, farmers markets, networking events, etc) makes it feel like you’re integrated in the local community. People love that. And everyone wants to support a new local business.

When the coffee shop I previously managed first opened, the owner put a “FREE COFFEE WEDNESDAY” sign out every Wednesday from 6 AM to Noon to capture the attention of local drivers-by. And it worked.

Within a couple of months, many of those customers had become regulars because the habit and relationship had been established.

4. Find Allies By Engaging With Other Local Businesses On Social Media

For: 🤝 Coffee Shops || 🚀 Ecommerce Stores

When people ask you for recommendations on where to get a nice dinner or find a fun gift, I’m willing to bet you tend to think of the same 3-4 suggestions every time.

That’s true in business settings as well.

Business owners and employees love making local recommendations to their customers, and if you can develop relationships with those people, they’re likely to become allies and send customers your way.

(Holy cow, if I got a dime commission for every customer I sent to El Ranchito Burrito when I worked in the cafe, I’d be drinking Gesha every morning.)

I suggest you check out Erica Escalante’s advice for doing this on Instagram

5. Start Incentivizing Customers To Leave Reviews Yesterday

For: 🤝 Coffee Shops || 🚀 Ecommerce Stores

Positive reviews are the lifeblood of any local coffee shop, but even online coffee businesses need them to stand out on marketplaces and platforms.

The thing is, a customer is 21% more likely to leave a bad review after a negative experience than they are to leave a good review after a positive one. 

In other words, you have to make it worthwhile for customers to leave positive reviews of your business. Here are a few ways you can do that.

If you’re a coffee shop:

  • Post a little sign with a QR code that kindly requests a positive review
  • Give customers 10% off every order for the next week after they leave a review (they have to show the review date to validate)

If you’re a coffee ecommerce store:

  • Create an automated email that asks customers for a review 5-7 days after they’ve purchased your coffee (here’s a quick guide)
  • Send reviewers a one-time 15% off coupon as a thank you

Google, Yelp, Facebook… the placement of the review is less important than the review itself. Customers will naturally post to their platform of choice.

Read: ⚡ Powerful moments = coffee marketing magic

6. Donate Coffee To Local Non-Profits, Schools, And Organizations

For: 🤝 Coffee Shops

Another strategy we had great results with is building up community goodwill and exposure through donations.

Donated coffee is ripe for social media sharing. Think exhausted teachers who are grateful for a mid-day cup of coffee, or non-profit volunteers who are working out in the cold and need something warm to drink. Grateful recipients of donations always post!

We donated to a variety of organizations:

  • School PTA groups
  • Business meetups (think BNI or 1 Million Cups)
  • Non-profit volunteer days and fundraisers
  • Arts festivals

At the end of the day, your business’s health and direction are 100% up to you. Hopefully these ideas help make it a little easier to see ways you can make the magic happen through a little hustling.

Keep up the good work!

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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