For food and beverage brands today, a reliance on one-time transactions is a model of the past. Coffee is no exception.
Chris Goerge, Co-founder and Chairman of SUBTA said “If you are a brand, you need to build a subscription model or membership into your revenue stream. Brands that have this model show higher valuations, more predictable income, and most importantly, more consumer loyalty.”
This advice couldn't be more true for brands trying to differentiate themselves in the saturated food and beverage ecommerce vertical. Have a subscription-based business strategy that's been percolating for some time? You'll want to check out these 8 coffee subscription brands that are giving the industry a wake-up call.
1. Atlas Coffee Club
These worldly brewers give coffee lovers a chance to try amazing coffee from around the globe. Their brand offers coffee drinkers an international experience in their morning cup of joe, as well as those who want to sample and explore new tastes.
Onboarding is a big part of selling a successful subscription product, and Atlas do a great job walking customers through each step of the process without being overwhelming.
Once shoppers select their bag size and duration, they can pick their roast preference. In the spirit of trying new varieties, customers can pick "all roast types" for an element of surprise in their coffee subscription. Once they select "whole bean" or "ground" they are ready to check out and start receiving delicious coffee from around the world, delivered right to their doorstep.
Key Takeaway: Atlas combines strong brand messaging and an easy-to-navigate onboarding experience with a value proposition as bold as their coffee.
2. Industry Beans
Anyone who works in an office or grinds out a freelance living from home knows the importance of a strong cup of joe. Australian roasters Industry Beans have branded themselves as high-quality coffee makers who pour professionalism into every cup.
Their top-rated subscription offering is as simple as picking your grind, size, and delivery duration. It's perfect for the busy person who doesn't have time to sift through too many options or scroll through an in-depth onboarding process.
With sleek, modern packaging and attractive minimalist design, Industry Beans are the best coffee subscription for any startup, home office, or growing company. They have taken the idea of a coffee subscription to a whole new level, with their Industry Beans Espresso Club.
That's right, they hook customers up with a fancy espresso machine. Talk about a high-end coffee subscription service. Just $25 per week over 24 months puts the user in the shoes of the barista. This particular offering truly sets Industry Beans apart by encouraging their customers to skip the coffee shop and take matters into their own hands.
On the importance of memberships: “There’s a lot you can do to increase revenue per customer over time, but really it comes down to having an add-on strategy, whether that’s an additional product that you can sell on a monthly basis, or even a one-time basis, or it’s a higher volume of the existing product they are getting. One kind of sneaky way that I think is going to get a lot more popular over time is having some sort of membership when it comes to your product.” - Patrick Cambell, Founder & CEO, ProfitWell
Key Takeaway: Don't be afraid to embrace a membership mindset when planning your winning subscription offering. Just look how it's paying off for Industry Beans.
3. Little Wolf Coffee
This Ipswich, MA, coffee company started with a passion for coffee and the local community. Today Little Wolf Coffee sell their home-roasted beans across the country. And talk about a smooth onboarding experience. Their website is designed to make the process of signing up for a subscription feel more like a conversation. Before you get down to the beans, you are asked what kind of subscription type you are looking for:
Rather than having to sort through recurring options when you are just looking for a gift or prepaid purchase, this step determines what you see next so you aren't overwhelmed with questions that don't apply to your order. Next you pick your frequency:
The logical flow of their onboarding experience gives customers an experience more akin to walking into a small shop. You wouldn't walk into your neighborhood roaster and be asked if you'd like a 2 lb. or a 5 lb. bag before they even knew what you were looking for. Everything is cool, calm, and conversational, supported by delightful and minimalist layout and design.
Key Takeaway: Little Wolf’s onboarding experience is smooth and seamless, creating a sense of trust and brand loyalty from the first touchpoint. It takes into consideration the customer relationship before, during, and after the subscription experience.
Check out even more great examples of subscriptions onboarding
4. Perky Blenders
Who doesn't love a great coffee pun? UK coffee aficionados Perky Blenders have invested in strong and distinctive branding, and it pays off.
Customers pick from options like coffee blend, grind, and duration in an easy to navigate no-fuss user interface. Small perks like letter-box friendly and biodegradable packaging sweeten the deal, as customers are prompted to a single upfront payment so they won't have to worry about it down the road.
Free shipping is a great value proposition for any subscription product, as customers want to feel like they're saving or getting a deal by agreeing to subscribe rather than buy one at time. Customers will be much more likely to subscribe long-term if they feel there is some added value in doing so.
Key Takeaway: You don't need to reinvent the wheel to have successful subscription product. Perky Blenders get the job done with sharp branding and a product that walks the talk.
5. Rave Coffee
Good coffee and good copy make a great match. These UK-based bean roasters claim to "actually like their stuff," a refreshingly honest take. Pay a visit to Rave Coffee for loads of witty banter and quirky colloquialisms: "At this point we could rave about company pedigree and vision for the future (blah blah yawn) but that's simply not our way. Much better that you get to know us - we'd love for you to come in and let us show you how committed we are to a better coffee experience."
Never underestimate the power of strong, relatable, honest branding. There are many great coffee subscriptions to choose from, and sometimes it's that extra splash of personality that can set you apart.
Customers choose from Traditional and Discovery styles of coffee. One nice detail that stands out is how they differentiate the two with "drink black or with milk," and "best drank black." For your average coffee drinker who doesn't get much out of the usual jargon, but knows what they like once they taste it, this is a relatable, practical detail that makes their choice easy.
The onboarding flow make great use of graphics. Customers are prompted to click on large clear icons rather than having to squint to read everything on a drop down menu. Again, rather than confusing the customer with complex jargon they ask you straight up how you like your coffee, making it easy to get to the checkout page.
Key Takeaway: Your subscription company might be serious business, but that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun. Your customers will be happy to go along for the ride.
6. Fire Department Coffee
"Help, our beans are on fire." That's something you'll never hear coming from the kitchen of Fire Department Coffee. That's because these beans are made by a team of firefighters, both retired and active. And if there's one thing people who work long and hard shifts know, it's the importance of good quality coffee.
With attractive design and packaging and a fun and inspirational brand story, FDC's coffee of the month club is a hot sell. Pick between whole and ground, the size of the bag, and your delivery duration. Offering 5% off and free shipping adds extra incentive to get people to join the club rather than buying just one bag. And if that's not a "strong" enough offer, they also sell spirit-infused coffee.
Nothing takes the edge off a hard day's work like a splash of something stiff in your coffee. FDC gets the job done for you with their spirit-infused coffee, available in Bourbon, Irish Whiskey, Cinnamon Whiskey and a variety of other deliciously-hard flavours.
Key Takeaway: The best brand stories don't come from marketers' imaginations, they're real. What true elements of your own world can you incorporate into your subscription business?
7. Olympia Coffee
Everyone loves free stuff — especially when it's delicious coffee!
The folks at Olympia Coffee know they aren't the only fish in the coffee subscriptions sea. That's why they begin their onboarding process with an offer that's tough to refuse:
Rather than just assuming shoppers are going to subscribe to their product, they use a convertible subscription with a free introductory offer.
These Olympia, WA, coffee-roasters have enough confidence in their well-crafted product to know one cup will leave coffee lovers wanting more.
So how do they get the customer to subscribe once they fall in love with the first couple sips? It's easy. Because they've already signed up to get their free sample, all they have to do is not cancel and their beans will arrive in the mail as planned.
Key Takeaway: Incentivizing customers to sign-up for a free trial before they agree to a subscription is a great way to get a customer's foot in the door. Especially if your coffee is one of the best around. Let your customers taste buds earn your trust.
8. Tandem Coffee
With a café and roaster all under one roof, customers who pop into the Portland Oregon headquarters for an espresso or fresh-baked treat can see the whole show. Their sense of culture and community shines through to the online side of their business, with their Coffee Subscribers Alliance.
With Tandem Coffee Roasters' fun options like The Good Thing Vinyl + Coffee club, coffee lovers can tandem their bean order with a vinyl record curated by the folks who roast the coffee they love. After all, good taste is good taste. The also offer a Double Exposure Film + Coffee Club, which packages a roll of 35mm film and a photo zine with your coffee, a great gift for photography buffs who like great tasting java.
Subscribers who are just looking for a bag of freshly roasted beans can pick their weight, decide if they would like to pickup or get free shipping, then choose the duration of their delivery. They offer some gift options as well — what a great present to give your coffee-loving friend or family member who lives in another city.
Key Takeaway: The fact that these guys include vinyl records and photography collectables in their coffee subscription shows they have a strong grasp of their target demographic. It never hurts to put a little extra effort into really getting to know your customer.
Isn't it inspiring look at all the ways these different coffee businesses serve their customers? You might have noticed they all have one thing in common: they all use subscriptions to add additional revenue streams. Most of these brands even use are very own Bold Subscriptions to power their recurring revenue strategy.
Looking for even more insights? We surveyed over 800 subscription brands to capture trends and data that are drivers of success. Access key findings, powerful statistics, and real industry use cases in our white paper: Drivers of Success: 2021 subscription trends.
New: 2021 food and beverage subscriptions guide
Ecommerce subscriptions are fast becoming a primary business model and growth driver for leaders in the food and beverage sector. And the strongest subscription models are built to engage customers across their entire journey with a brand, from the discovery stage to relationship-building to retention. Learn proven strategies to:
- Increase conversion with multiple types of subscription offerings.
- Reduce friction and minimize churn by giving your buyer control over their experience with your brand.
- Deepen brand loyalty across the entire customer journey.
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