How to ensure your coffee subscription boxes stay consistent

Tori Taylor
May 15, 2024
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Consistent products are the essence of a positive shopping experience. Beyond this, they’re the backbone that ensures a steady income stream and customer loyalty. Failing to provide consistent, high-quality products that customers want can cause you to lose business and send customers to your competitors. 

It does not matter whether consumers are buying directly in-store or signing up for your coffee subscriptions: consistency is key. Therefore, each of your coffee subscription boxes should be identical in both looks and content. That said, brands must avoid using excess packaging in the boxes or overloading consumers with information while ensuring the packaging is eco-friendly. 

Clearly, modern coffee subscription boxes have plenty of expectations. So, how can brands ensure they’re providing a consistent, high-quality service that will keep customers coming back? 

I spoke to  Dario Scilipoti, the founder of Bluebird Coffee Roasters in South Africa, and Rohan Cooke from Australia’s Golden Brown Coffee, to find out.

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The key to packaging coffee subscription boxes

Coffee subscriptions continue to grow in popularity as consumers repeatedly seek out convenience and instant gratification. Everything is happening faster than ever, and it requires less effort than ever before—and consumers cannot get enough of it. Research shows that 41% of global consumers now expect online orders to be delivered within 24 hours. 

Modern retailers, including coffee roasters, must be able to deliver speed and convenience across every touchpoint of the consumer experience. Several coffee brands now offer coffee subscription boxes tailored to consumer tastes and brewing preferences. Successful subscriptions result in brand loyalty and help to cement repeat purchases. 

Beyond this, they promote growth in the specialty coffee community as customers expand their knowledge and palates. However, research shows that 77% of UK consumers believe brands should use as little packaging as possible. Excess packaging often refers to an unnecessary or disproportionate amount of packaging materials. It involves using additional materials for product protection, preservation, or presentation.

Excess packaging in coffee subscription boxes can look like packing peanuts, shredded cardboard, bubble wrap, and honeycomb packaging paper. Subscription boxes can also contain tissue paper, natural wood excelsior or ‘wood wool’, and shrinkwrap. The further a coffee roaster will likely have to ship a subscription, the more packaging materials it will need. This, in turn, can increase shipping costs. 

Bluebird Coffee Roasters, which is located in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands in South Africa, has had to adapt its packaging for international subscribers. 

“We ship our subscriptions in a cardboard box as two of our coffee bags fit perfectly inside ,” explains the brand’s co-founder, Dario. “The idea was to make the subscription feel special and custom coffee boxes help us do that for our customers.” He adds all the brand’s subscriptions are shipped in the same boxes, which contain no additional materials, such as bubble wrap.  Dario explains “The cardboard boxes house all our subscription bags safely.”

Darios adds that it all comes down to efficiency. “Smaller, lighter weight packaging is easier to handle, easier to ship, creates less waste, and is easier to store in the roastery.”

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Why are consistent coffee boxes essential? 

Personalisation matters more to consumers than ever before. Recent research shows that companies that excel at demonstrating customer intimacy generate faster rates of revenue growth. According to McKinsey & Company, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalised interaction, while 76% get frustrated when companies fail to do so. 

To curate a personalised experience for customers, there are various elements that coffee roasters can look into. 

First, the design of the coffee box can help elevate the entire consumer experience. Brands should reflect on the consumer journey, from receiving the box to brewing, to understand exactly what they want to deliver to the customer. For instance, coffee roasters can leverage unique designs to guide consumers through the unboxing experience. 

A thoughtfully designed package adds a personal touch and can enhance the perceived value of the product and brand. Additional items such as tasting cards or QR codes that display information on the origin, producer, or brewing instructions, can be included on the mailer box to educate consumers. This may help replicate the same experience one can get from interacting with a barista directly.

It’s essential that each coffee subscription box displays the same branding, otherwise consumers may mistake it as a counterfeit. This can build negative consumer perceptions of the product. With the number of counterfeit items on the rise, it is essential that a product’s packaging colours, branding, and dimensions are accurate and consistent. 

Inconsistent packaging can come across as careless and messy – traits that coffee roasters want to avoid being associated with their coffee beans. When customers buy coffee, they expect every cup to be consistent and tasty. By achieving packaging consistency and a strong brand identity, coffee roasters can meet these high standards.

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Ensuring consistent coffee subscription boxes

So, how can you ensure your coffee subscription boxes are consistent and a good representation of your brand? First, it’s important to note that the type of subscription service offered plays a crucial role in determining the appropriate coffee boxes. Subscriptions that focus solely on coffee may use smaller boxes than those including additional items such as brewing equipment or branded merchandise.

At Golden Brown Coffee, Rohan explains, they have set coffee bag sizes, “so it’s easy to design boxes that fit them perfectly for different subscriptions. We’ve also designed our bags to have matching width and length so that they were interchangeable across box sizes.

Rohan says this method not only uses less packaging, but also allows for a more satisfying unboxing experience, as the bags fit perfectly within the box. “This also leads to less damage as the bags don’t bounce around inside the box during transit. We like to use a fully recyclable cardboard box, as it’s easy for consumers to dispose of correctly, but it also protects the bags from being crushed and damaged.”

It’s also important that the subscription box be a comfortable fit in mailboxes. In the UK, for instance, mailboxes typically measure 41 cm in height, 31cm in width, and 16 cm in depth. In the US, residential mailboxes are approximately 18 cm in height and 15 cm in width and have a depth ranging between 40cm and 50cm.

Canadian mailboxes, without a specified standard, generally have dimensions of 41 cm in height, 31cm in width, and 16 cm in depth. For the EU, mailboxes usually reach up to 45 cm in height, 35cm in width, and 20 cm in depth.

Last but not least, the visual appeal of the boxes should be ‘insta-worthy’ to encourage customers to share their unboxing experiences on social media. This helps generate more organic marketing for the brand. Custom coffee subscription boxes can internalise branding recognition by incorporating personalised messages or handwritten notes to enhance the unboxing experience.

At MTPak Coffee, we offer custom coffee subscription boxes in various sizes that are crafted from 100% recycled cardboard for strength, durability, and weather resistance. Additionally, we provide recyclable coffee packaging options with customisation features such as debossing, embossing, holographic effects, and UV spot finishes. 

Images courtesy of Bluebird Coffee Roasters and Golden Brown Coffee

Reach out to our team and create your bespoke coffee subscription boxes today! 

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