How to Sell Coffee Before Opening Your Storefront

Running your own coffee company, especially one with a storefront, can come with an extensive list of costs. Retail operation accounts for a large chunk of your monthly expenses, often forcing business owners to invest more in their location than in their product. 

The good news is, today’s cafe owners don’t have to rely on a storefront to sell their coffee products. Alternative retail avenues, online marketing, and the delivery options made popular during the pandemic make the “shop” in “coffee shop” impertinent. Whether you want to stick to the mobile sales method or start to earn before your storefront opens, there are a number of ways for you to make your brew bring in the bucks without the shop.

Pop-Up Shops

Sell your brew from coast to coast by setting up your “storefront” wherever you go. Pop-up shops afford you the opportunity to create a retail presence without the skyrocketing rent. Temporary, traveling storefronts have been a popular tactic for small brands to market themselves and get the eyes of the right shoppers. Seek out local events, fairs, and tournaments to sell your delicious brews to coffee lovers everywhere.

Social Media

Web traffic is the new foot traffic. In today’s day and age, your impact on social media can serve you much further in growing your coffee business than a storefront ever could. Sink your teeth into creating a unique and personalized online presence on Instagram, TikTok, and other popular channels to market your brand and alert customers where they can buy your frothy goodies.

Farmers Markets

Farmers markets already draw a score of customers with a taste for the finer things, so they’re a natural fit for any coffee curator. Farmers markets give you the benefit of a storefront without the commitment of a lease. Get your permits and approvals taken care of and you can generate a dedicated customer base that buys your beans every week. In fact, you can make the farmers market circuit your primary business. Build your business around the seasons and your customer base can be far beyond your local community!

Online Store

In-person sales have their place in business, but can we deny the joy of “add to cart”? Online storefronts are a great resource for coffee purveyors, even if it means you can’t deliver the hot beverage yourself. But just because you’re not face-to-face with customers doesn’t mean there’s no customer service to be conducted online. Not only can customers scroll through your treasure trove of products, but they can engage with your content, share your recipes, and stay up-to-date on your latest activities.

Local Delivery

As people hunkered down at home during the pandemic, java lovers missed their usual coffee shop runs. But it did prompt those coffee lovers to experiment with their at-home brews. Even as restaurants and cafes reopen, customers are still enjoying their new homemaker hobbies, from banana bread to cold brew. Set up delivery of your best beans to the local community and watch the orders pour in.


The coffee competition is as strong as a dark roast. You can better your position in the market by offering more than just the delicious drink, but all its accouterments too. Sweeteners, mugs, branded shirts, reusable sleeves - your online shop can overflow with one-of-a-kind merchandise that will help drive online sales.


If direct-to-consumer sales are slowing you down, the wholesale route can boost your brand awareness and reach. Sell your toasty concoctions through local restaurants, shops, grocery stores, bakeries, and more. Once they find you through their regular retailer, customers will seek you out directly!

Subscription Service

Curating your own box of coffee goodies and setting up a subscription box is sure to draw in caffeine-craved customers. Sippers love the variety and guaranteed delivery. Spice up your box with seasonal themes, astrology signs, and other ideas to keep customers placing orders each month.

Tastings and Events

Get in front of the people - on their terms. You don’t need a storefront to make a stellar impression on customers. Private tastings at company events, brunch parties, and other gatherings offer the kind of exclusivity and upscale taste that people love from their local coffee roasters. 

There’s more than one way to make your small coffee business thrive. At SumUp, we have a variety of solutions to help you get paid your way. Find out how, here

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Claire Grady