The rise in working from home has turned selling coffee online into a major business. Customers that could no longer frequent their favorite coffee shop during the pandemic turned to getting brews delivered straight to their doorsteps, a habit that seems to have stuck: annual revenue from the coffee segment globally has reached $433 billion and is set to grow again in 2023.
With such huge demand, there’s never been a better time to start selling coffee online–and dropshipping coffee is a quick and straightforward way of making this happen.
What is coffee dropshipping?
Coffee dropshipping is a subset of the coffee business in which a coffee retailer orders existing coffee blends from a roaster, which ships them directly to the customer. In other words, the coffee dropshipping supplier sources the beans from wholesale coffee suppliers, crafts coffee roasts, and ships orders to customers. The retailer, meanwhile, creates a brand image and in some cases packaging, attracts customers, and fosters relationships—without having to store the product.
Dropshipping coffee can take three forms:
- White-label coffee dropshipping. White-label dropship coffee suppliers are effectively wholesale coffee dropshippers. White labeling means the supplier produces a tried-and-tested coffee roast and lets you, the retailer, sell it under your brand name. To set your coffee brand apart, you package the product with custom labels, coffee bag sizes, and pricing. The coffee supplier takes care of order fulfillment and shipping.
- Private-label coffee dropshipping. Private-label coffee dropshippers let you create coffee blends to sell under a private-label brand. This sector of the coffee dropshipping business appeals to companies that want more control over their product. With a private-label dropshipper, you can create coffee products not available anywhere else—but unlike a traditional coffee shop, most of the work takes place at the supplier level.
- Dropshipping another brand’s label. You don’t need a custom brand to sell coffee online. Dropshipping coffee can also mean selling another company’s brand through your online store. While you don’t get to create a custom brand or roast, this option means you can still run an online coffee business without acquiring and storing coffee merchandise.
Coffee dropshipping: a step-by-step guide
1. Choose a coffee dropshipping supplier
Selecting the most suitable coffee dropshipping supplier is essential. Consider delivery times, the range of products on offer, and fulfillment fees and charges to identify the best fit. For example, a supplier might have higher charges but offer quick delivery, which can encourage more sales and boost your overall profits.
2. Find products to sell and choose your differentiator
What’s your unique selling proposition (USP)? What will make your coffee brand different to others? The competition is fierce in the coffee world, so stand out by choosing a memorable name and blend. Consider the origin of the coffee, how it’s roasted, and the coffee beans used to determine what sets you apart. Also decide whether you’ll sell other complementary products, like coffee cups, flasks, or milks.
Most coffee dropshippers allow you to create your own custom labels so you can customize your offering to match your USP.
3. Set up your Shopify store
Shopify’s extensive library of themes and powerful integrations make it the perfect ecommerce platform for your coffee brand. Create a storefront for your coffee business and customize it with your brand colors, images, and copy. Finally, populate it with your chosen dropshipping products to start selling. Review our ecommerce website launch checklist to make sure you're ready to start selling.
4. Launch your store and market it
Once your storefront is stocked and your branding is polished, it’s time to launch your coffee dropshipping service.
Dropshipping coffee FAQ
How does dropshipping actually work?
Dropshipping lets you sell coffee via a third-party supplier, without needing to store products. When coffee lovers purchase a product from your storefront, this triggers a notification to the third-party supplier, who then sends the product from its warehouse to your customer, usually for a small fee or a cut of the price.
Is coffee good for dropshipping?
In short: yes. Dropshipping is a low-risk option, since you don’t have to store inventory. The home coffee industry is on the rise, which means there’s a high volume of customers. Plus, the best coffee products often have strong brand loyalty and the need for replenishment generates repeat customers. Things to be aware of: The competition is fierce in the coffee world and it can be difficult to differentiate your own brand from others.
Is dropshipping coffee worth it?
The home coffee industry is still growing, so now is a good time to get into dropshipping coffee. However, product prices are relatively low. There is often a minimum order and you’ll need to sell lots of units to generate a decent profit, but if you can establish a brand and loyal customer base, it can be a lucrative business.