How To Start An Online Coffee Business? 7 Helpful Steps

Wondering how to start an online coffee business step by step? This comprehensive business guide shows you how.

How to learn about the coffee business?
People are always looking for an easy and reliable way to purchase coffee online

A report carried out by the National Coffee Association (NCA) in 2020 shows that 62% of Americans drink coffee every day. The coffee industry is vast and ever-changing. Even though it’s competitive, getting your hands on this profitable market is still a promising move, especially if you’re considering an online coffee business.

People are always looking for an easy and reliable way to purchase coffee online. From beans to ground, Arabica to Robusta, you have a massive opportunity to develop the best products your customers love, so they don’t waste time waiting in Starbucks before work anymore.

But what is the best way to start an online coffee business to tap into this industry? I’ll walk you through every single step so you can kick start your dream with confidence.

1. Write A Business Plan

You’re likely to mess up your vision without a business plan. You don’t need a massive plan chock full of digits. However, it breaks down the journey and paves the way so you can accomplish your goals in no time.

You want a business plan that gives you the initial investment costs, ongoing expenses, and projected sales. You can come up with the right selling price, mark-up, profits, break-even, and more.

Another thing to jot down in your business plan is inventory, to help you keep track of the best sellers and those who are not selling, stay in line with your supplies and reduce product waste.

Check out our explainers on is selling coffee online profitable and how to market your coffee business online.

2. Identify The Cost Of Starting An Online Coffee Business

There’s no exact answer to this question as the costs fluctuate by country, region, market sizes, and supplies. It costs money to set up a website, create a landing page, and maintain it, not to mention marketing costs. 

Will you hire someone else to help you tackle the logistic procedure, or will you outsource a shipping company? Have you considered dropshipping? How much do you pay for your coffee suppliers given a monthly purchase? You might also find our guide on how to start a coffee business with no money helpful.

3. Build Your Niche Market

Are you looking at individual buyers, local coffee shops, or selling in bulk for some other companies? Setting your group of target customers will help you come up with the right persona analytics before determining what type of coffee your brand will sell.

For example, local cafes need coffee beans in bulk by the beginning of every week or month. However, individual customers need small batches of coffee, such as a few packages a month or single-serve coffee beans they can brew at home. Other than that, each customer has a different preference for roast levels and flavors.

4. Develop Your Product Ranges And Market Them

Learn how to categorize your products with the best pricing strategy. Offer big discounts for bulk buyers or provide memberships. What type of add-ons are you willing to offer, or what kind of gifts can you add on top of the initial purchase?

Don’t forget to look at your competitors. Map out their weaknesses and strengths as well as yours and tap into that gap to gain more loyal customers. Remember that your products need to “heal” their pain points.

You might find out guide on the best coffee shop pricing strategy useful. 

5. Build A User-Friendly E-Commerce Site

How To Start An Online Coffee Business: Build a user-friendly e-commerce site
Always keep the user-friendly design in mind and optimize the purchase funnel to the fullest

Building a new website from scratch costs a painful amount of money compared to a pre-built site such as Shopify, Bigcommerce, or Amazon.

With Shopify, they can provide you with the domain you want and let you play around with the best web designs possible. You can also set up a shopping cart and checkout method. Always keep the user-friendly design in mind and optimize the purchase funnel to the fullest.

With Amazon, as long as you can optimize your listing copy, images, pricing strategy, and reviews, you’re halfway done. Benefit from the Amazon FBA so you can take advantage of Amazon’s storage and shipping systems to reduce input costs.

6. Stay In Line With Your Brand Image

Brand image is extremely powerful in gaining trust and loyalty from your customers. When you first take a dip in the pool of the coffee industry dominated by giants, having a unique selling proposition and staying true to your value is the right way to go.

Each step counts. Start with something small such as a brand name, slogan, logo, tagline, and slogan. Create story-telling copywriting and post it on your social media channels and incorporate it into your email marketing strategy.

Our guide on the best digital marketing strategies for a coffee shop might come in handy. 

7. Team Up With The Right Coffee Supplier

If you grow your own coffee, then that’s another story. If not, teaming up with the right coffee suppliers who are trustworthy and sympathetic is essential. You want to find someone who can deliver high-quality products on time at the best price, especially during the early stages of your business when your customer base is relatively small.

You’ll go even further if the supplier can provide private-label and unique coffee products that you believe your customers will love and crave. Don’t even bother with highly-competitive coffee products. Their market size may be huge, but it will backfire if you don’t know how to sell it the right way.


  • Oanh Nguyen

    Born and raised by a traditional mama-barista, Oanh is a typical Viet coffee aficionado who would spend her entire precious Sunday showing you how to categorize coffee beans just by the looks and smells. She enjoys writing about everything drinks-related while sipping her favorite rosebud tea. Find Oanh on LinkedIn.