How to Sell, Package, and Ship Local Coffee Overseas
Have you thought about selling local coffee online but hesitated because online sales can mean international shipping, and you’re just not sure how to deal with all the packaging and logistics?
Of course you have! With everyone stuck at home, stressed to the max, we’re all just begging for a good cup of coffee.
Don’t you worry. Here, we’ve compiled an essential guide on how to sell, package, and ship local coffee overseas so you can take the guesswork out of your business and get to the profit.
Your First Steps
The first few things you need to do can be done in whatever order works best for you.
1. Create a Brand Name and Logo
You’re nothing without your brand. Create a brand name and logo for your company that your customers can enjoy and associate with your high-quality product.
You can hire freelancers from freelance sites to create logos and help with branding.
2. Have an Awesome Website
An easy-to-navigate website is crucial. When you visit a site, you want to find what you’re looking for quickly and easily, and so do your customers. If someone visits your site and experiences difficulties or gets frustrated because the links don’t work, they are unlikely to come back.
Sites like Shopify and Selz have ecommerce shopping carts already set up. Setting up your own site through them is as easy as creating a new social media account.
When designing your site, keep it simple. You don’t want to overwhelm the customer. Take a look at a few other sites to get an example of how you want to balance your site out.
If you’re designing your own site, keep in mind not everyone uses a computer, and most people now use their cell phones for the internet. Your website needs to be compatible with both phone and PC web browsers.
3. Research Your Customer Base
Determine who your customers will be and research their preferences. If you are focusing on customers specifically in the UK, should you add tea to your product line? You must tailor the products you sell to your customer base.
4. Pick Your Product
Once you know all about the people you’re going to sell to, pick the perfect products for them (sometimes referred to as creating a coffee profile).
Will you put the focus on bags of roasted beans or one-serving cups? Both? Will you include tea? This is all determined by knowing what your customers want before you start selling.
5. Find the Perfect Supplier
If you aren’t roasting your own beans, you need to find a supplier that meets all your needs. Try out different local roasters and find the one that works best for you.
Your supplier IS your product. You aren’t going to get far without them. Don’t just go with any old supplier. It’s OK to be picky.
Quality products, exceptional customer service, and fair prices are my top three concerns.
6. Weigh Your Shipping and Packaging Options
You have a few different shipping options, but it’s best to use USPS in most cases. FedEx and UPS charge additional fees to ship internationally.
If you’re shipping under 4lbs, you can use a flat rate box and send the package USPS Priority International Mail. Just make sure the actual coffee is packaged in one or more resealable stand-up pouches, in order to keep it as fresh as possible once it’s received, opened, and stored by the end consumer.
7. Get Familiar with International Postal Forms
Since the USPS is usually the best way to go, you’re going to want to get used to filling out the forms involved in overseas shipping.
The customs form, PS Form 2976 (short form), must be filled out and attached directly to the package. The PS Form 2976-A (long form) needs to be filled out and put into the Customs Declaration Envelope (Form 2976-E), then attached to the package.
Shipping costs are an ongoing expense that eat into your profits. Consider every cent.
The Last Cup
Starting any business can seem scary, but now that you have these basic steps, you can jump in with a plan!
Remember, if you’re looking to sell local coffee online and package and ship it overseas, you need to first:
- Create your brand logo
- Have an excellent website
- Research your customer base
- Create your coffee profile
- Find the right supplier
- Weigh your shipping options
- Get used to international shipping forms
Once you complete these steps, you’ll be ready to tackle the coffee market. Now sit down, have a cup of Joe, and get to work!