We did all the right things, created a business plan, identified a target market, created a very good product according to all the test marketing (fresh roasted coffee - we roast to order).
Purchased good e-comm web site software, created a brand and trademarked it, accept payments with PayPal and ship UPS. We have 5 signature blends, + 2 classics (Mokha Java and a fantastic Italian Espresso). Checked our competition and our price points are both fair and competitive with the average. We sell wholesale and retail, though the web site handles the retail side of things.
We are advertising with Google AdWords and often place in the first 10 sponsored links on the first page of search results for "roasted coffee", "fresh roasted coffee", and "fresh roast coffee", right alongside Seattle`s Best, Green Mountain, Gevalia and others.
Lots of impressions, daily visitors to the site, but no sales. We sent out samples in December with 10% off first order, loyalty and referral incentives (11th pound free after 10 - for the lifetime of you being a customer), 5 referrals that convert to orders nets the referrer a free pound, and these two strategies should provide the opportunity for our market to gro organically.
We also donated our coffees to a local high school booster`s organization, both for their dinner coffee service, and for silent auction. Included new customer welcome packets outlining the incentive programs - no sales.
Perhaps launching a retail business in the middle of a recession (Michigan - not a great business climate at the moment), but we market to a national audience.
Kevin, Roastmaster/CEO, Isla Java Coffee Co., LLC
Excellence is the result of dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.