Question :
Hi there, I have a small start up in the coffee industry that is doing home delivery of coffee beans from the top roasters around New Zealand. We offer a tour of New Zealand’s coffee with a different coffee bean delivered each week. (Www.beanmerchant.co.nz) I have been looking at our target audience, and trying to target them through Facebook ads. We have had mild success with clicks through to our website, and more with likes to our Facebook page, but none of these are resulting in sales. We are wondering how we can streamline our website to make things clearer and easier for people, and also access the clientele that have the expendable income to pay for freshly roasted coffee. We are looking at expanding into machines in the near future and working with more and more roasters, but need the customer base subscribed going forward to be able to work with them. Any support would be appreciated.

Question submitted 26/07/20 @ 07:40am
Industry: Digital and Technology
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    Had a look at the site on mobile and I love the proposition, taste profile and journey offer.

    I love my coffee and have a good quality coffee machine and grinder and make coffee daily. So I did your taste profile and to be honest while I enjoyed it I did find it a bit abstract in that I wasn’t entirely clear how best to align myself and select the various flavour cues. I may be a little unrefined but it did make me think, ‘If I’m into my coffee and I’m finding this tricky what might others feel.”

    In contrast, and this might be an option for you, a few years ago I signed up to WineFriend. I worked through a very simple taste profile test and was actually called by one of their staff to chat through my profile in more detail. It was a great way to unpack the complexities of choosing wines slightly outside of my usual ‘go to’s’ but it’s what the WineFriend team were able to do for me and off we went. I now relish the subscription box that arrives each month and also have the option to rate the wine I receive. This helps WineFriend to refine my subscription wines and when I’ve noted a wine as not to my liking they call me to chat through the why.

    This blend of digital and human connection is a significant customer benefit and has ensured their offer remains relevant and that I feel looked after.

    Bean Merchant could definitely lift and shift a number of the tactics above as well as some of WineFriends awareness drivers. They regularly run member get member offers and discounts to encourage their loyal followers to get their buddies onboard.

    A while back they actually gifted me a bottle of my favourite Pinot Noir completely free in return for simply asking me to send a sign up gift offer to a friend. Their thinking was that they could spend on advertising and that might work or they could use the same money and drive acquisition via their loyal customer base. Nice.

    I also heard of an interesting innovation out of Scotland recently. Obviously the whisky distillers are seeing no tourist visits at the moment and so Glenlivit decided to offer customers the ability to buy a tasting pack. The pack of 3 miniatures was sent out to customers and they were also invited to a live tasting event where the master distiller provided tasting notes. There was also traditional music and a q&a session. Kinda cool in this new normal. Is there something in this for Bean Merchant? Could you offer new customers a curated tasting experience with mini packs so they could do the ole Pepsi Challenge at home with their coffee, rate them and maybe discuss things with a professional roaster.

    A final note – I think your pricing is bang on as it’s a curated service offering a tailored and premium coffee experience but is on par with the supermarket pricing for mainstream beans.

    So all the best of luck to you. There’s heaps more ideas that could be applied but I do think the ‘member get member’ approach coupled with your team reaching out and calling new customers to give them personal support and guidance would be a good start. Customer advocacy is a proven strategy and one WineFriend, MyFoodBag and other subscription based services have used to their benefit. The branded experience is also another tactic these guys use doubling down on the ‘unpacking movement’ with free samples, recipes, promotions etc.

    I’ve just ordered a 1kg bag of Mahia, aligned to my taste profile, so let’s see how we go!



    Good morning,

    Being a coffee lover myself I love the concept but I think that you have some work to do on nailing the customer journey and defining what your proposition is. A few things to look into:

    a) Like Russ, I found the quiz confusing and not accessible. I love coffee but to be honest I had no idea how to answer those questions. Maybe look at dumbing it down a bit. Have you checked in Analytics what your drop off at this point is?
    b) The concept of tailoring your coffee style preference to your order is great but having to remember what styles the quiz recommended to then filter in the collection page is a barrier; I think the coffee options that meet your preference should be able to be added directly to cart from the end of the quiz.
    c) It seems to me that “The Journey” should be your focus but it isn’t front and centre. Did my quiz answers have any effect on what I get in “the Journey”
    d) Your prices are exclusive of GST; for a consumer facing website this is illegal in NZ and will also be a big cause of cart abandonment. Consumers do not like to be hit with additional charges at the checkout.
    e) A big part of your proposition is trying new/local/independent roasters. I think you should have more of a focus on telling their stories including plenty of imagery. Consumers love to see images and this will help them make a connection with the roaster.

    I love the idea and have signed up for a “Journey”; I am looking forward to receiving my first delivery 🙂

    Best of luck!



    Although unqualified to provide advice, I do feel that branded coffee packs for customers to send to their clients every month might be an opportunity. As a recruiter, I purchase magazine subscriptions for clients and it gives me an excuse to call around regularly, start a conversation and generally stay in touch. For larger recruitment companies (whose clients are companies), having their own label on coffee may be a useful way to sell reasonable volumes and also gain more clients over time.


    Oh, and now I have seen that I have been charged a credit card surcharge 🙁

    You should have this included in the price; I presume this is a margin issue. If so you should put your price up instead of adding on charges. I imagine your target customer is not very price sensitive (as long as reasonable) but will not be happy with the hidden charges.


    Guys, thank you very much, incredible advice here. Am rethinking plenty of things that I am doing.

    I have never been sure about the coffee profile, but creating the website myself through wordpress I think is a huge barrier for that. I haven’t been able to find a “quiz” that allows me to do what I want to do properly. I’d love to do something like what winedab have, a simple yet effective quiz.

    Yes russ, I hear your customer service action from winefriend and appreciate how attractive that is.

    I wonder if anyone knows about the legalities of food handling. At the moment I pass orders on to roasters and they ship direct to customers. If I was to do a tasting, which has always been a goal – I would need to order coffee to our premesis, re-bag it and send it out. It becomes unmanageable in terms of food handling and double shipping. I did try to get the roasters to prepare their own kits to send out, but they found it too fiddly and there weren’t enough orders of them to be worth it.

    Damien, I totally hear your hidden charge and agree with it. Do you think it matters that I won’t be comparable to the roaster itself if I raise prices even more? Will customers mind that could buy it from the roaster at $10 when they are buying it from me at say $15?

    I guess it doesn’t matter if they abandon at cart level anyway…

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