Email Marketing

Australia's Online Coffee Retailers: Three Surprising Statistics

Key Takeaway

Australians want to buy coffee online. To the coffee retailers who are prepared, a massive opportunity awaits. What are your next steps?

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    More Australians than ever before are looking to purchase coffee online. According to Google Trends, searches in Australia for 'coffee', 'coffee beans' and 'best coffee beans' are at record levels.

    I have been a regular participant in these searches, partly out of personal curiosity - I wanted to purchase beans for myself. I have also motivated by professional curiosity - given the boom in demand, I was interested to see how many of these retailers were positioned to ride this wave.

    Last month I did an A-Z tour of online coffee retailers - from Acoffee in Melbourne to Zimmah Coffee in and everything in between. My tour spanned the high profile national brands (e.g. Campos and Toby's Estate), the smaller but well-loved boutique roasters (e.g. Mecca, Proud Mary and Single O), as well as the emerging independent roasters (e.g. Micrology and Redbrick). I also discovered some names I'd never heard of that have inspiring stories to tell (e.g. Aussie Veterans Coffee and Kingdom Coffee).

    Of particular interest was their use of email marketing. I wanted to know how they are using email to engage with current and potential customers because:

    1. Most people have an email address,
    2. 99% of people check their email every day, and
    3. Unlike social media you don't need to bid and pay to get your email in a potential customer's inbox.

    Even with the rise of social media, there are few channels more effective than email and according to Mailerlite, average weekly signups for email newsletters increased in 2020. Email marketing is alive and well! 

    So after visiting the websites of 215 coffee retailers I was surprised to discover that:

    1. More than one third don't have an email newsletter (or any obvious way of subscribing to it),
    2. Of those that do have a newsletter, many don't send emails.
    3. Even fewer make use of seasonal opportunities (e.g. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas).

    38% of coffee retailers don't have an email newsletter

    The first thing I discovered was that more than one third of retailers don't have an email newsletter. It is possible that they have a newsletter that people gain access to after making their first purchase, but if you're only sending news and special offers to existing customers you're unnecessarily excluding a lot of people.

    A customer who sees a call to action like this, on the other hand, is much more likely to provide their contact details and become a valuable lead. They have nothing to lose, and have the potential to save 20% if they do decide to purchase in the future:


    66% of retailers didn't send an email in the first 2 weeks

    This was perhaps the biggest surprise. After subscribing to their email newsletters via their websites, two thirds of coffee retailers didn't send a single email. Not a confirmation. Not a "thank you for subscribing". Not a request to purchase something, anything! Nothing.

    Those that did send an email were generally excellent and usually included a friendly welcome and a special discount code. For example:

    Stash Artisan Roasters
    Change Coffee

    When someone subscribes to your email newsletter they are explicitly communicating their desire to hear from you. It is strange that sending an email to people who opted-in to receive emails was actually the exception and not the norm.

    Only 16% of retailers that have an email newsletter sent a Black Friday or Cyber Monday offer

    Our inboxes were bombarded with emails during the recent Black Friday sales and for good reason - people are eager to see good deals and purchase online. I purchased a great four-pack from Paradox Roasters with a 30% discount code I received. During this period, some retailers sent me multiple emails, some sent a single email but only 16% of those with an email newsletter sent any email at all during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales! 

    The few who emailed a special offer did it very well:

    Undercover Roasters
    Fat Poppy
    Killer Coffee Company

    Some have also begun sending Christmas deals:



    Australians want to buy coffee online. To the coffee retailers who are prepared, a massive opportunity awaits.

    What are your next steps?

    1. Create an email newsletter. You can do this yourself using a free tool such as Mailerlite, or ask me to help you.
    2. Send emails. You can do this yourself, or ask me to help you.


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