Custom coffee bags and merchandise: A brand-boosting combo

Tori Taylor
June 26, 2024
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Establishing and maintaining brand awareness is critical to standing out from the crowd. Therefore, to maximise the benefits for their businesses, speciality coffee roasters should consider expanding their offerings to include coffee merchandise, both online and in-store. 

Alongside custom coffee bags, branded coffee merchandise can boost brand recognition, enhance a coffee roaster’s or cafe’s bottom line, and help foster customer loyalty.

To learn more about the benefits of offering branded merchandise alongside your custom coffee bags, Natalie Webb, the founder of Cafecita Coffee, and Pedro Eschavarria, the manager at Pergamino Café in Colombia. 

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Marketing power: Custom coffee bags and branded merchandise

Coffee merchandise can be a potent form of advertising, carrying a brand wherever its customers go. Branded items become free, portable billboards that promote your business to a broader audience. When thoughtfully designed and tailored to your audience’s preferences, coffee merchandise can tell a brand story and reinforce your presence in a fiercely competitive market. Beyond this, it can help foster customer loyalty, transforming one-time customers into devoted patrons. 

Carrying a branded item can instil consumers with a sense of belonging. For instance, exclusive items such as reusable coffee cups or limited-edition items help customers feel valued and appreciated. This emotional connection transcends buying coffee: it’s about being part of a brand they love and support wholeheartedly.

Natalie launched Cafecita Coffee in the midst of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. The brand is a women-owned and operated specialty coffee roaster based in Los Angeles. What started as a dream to open a café quickly pivoted to launching an online coffee company. Ironically, this was thanks to the social restrictions that came with the pandemic. 

“Launching at that time has actually been great, as we were able to dive straight into the ecommerce world without the high overheads,” she explains. However, travel restrictions during the pandemic made it difficult for the team to visit origin farms, which made sourcing high-quality single origin coffees a challenge. 

“We had to work very closely with our importers to make sure they were aligned with our mission,” Natalie says. “They have to be extremely conscious of who they are working with.” 

Cafecita Coffee has an instantly recognisable look, with custom-printed coffee bags that feature its iconic tiger face logo. Additionally, the black and white coffee bags have colour coded labels and bold illustrations. 

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Coffee merchandise that appeals to consumers

An online platform also allowed Cafecita to enter the corporate gifting market. Corporate gifting became a priority during the pandemic, as companies could not take clients, customers, and employees to lunch events. Notably, the corporate gifting market is predicted to increase by $64 billion over the next three years to reach $306 billion by 2024. 

As worker’s rights are one of Cafecita’s core values, Natalie feels the corporate gifting part of the company is a significant chunk of the business. Cafecita offers gift sets and boxes that consist of a variety of coffees as well as a branded reusable cup. More so, they have branded merchandise, such as sweatshirts and shopping totes.

Natalie explains the expansion into merchandise was prompted by their customers. “We had so many customers asking for it, which was amazing. Cafecita has an incredibly loyal customer base because it isn’t just about amazing single origin coffee. It has a strong social impact side, and people get excited about it. Our customers want to represent Cafecita Coffee.”

For Pedro, coffee merchandise has been crucial in creating brand awareness and customer loyalty. That said, he acknowledges that the impact of these items on brand awareness can take a lot of work to quantify directly. 

However, Pedro is quick to point out that branded items have contributed significantly to sales at Pergamino Café. He explains how offering certain items has helped create long-lasting relationships with customers – particularly tourists and digital nomads.

“I think merchandise has started to become more of a ‘thing’ for consumers,” Pedro says. “As a brand, we’ve dedicated a lot of time to the design of the clothes we offer. Our merchandise goes beyond featuring a simple logo or our brand colours: we come up with incredibly intricate designs for our clothing and it’s been working well.”

Beyond t-shirts, the brand also offers a variety of caps, custom-printed tin coffee cups, and enamel pins. Each features a unique design while showcasing the personality of the brand. 

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Combining custom coffee bags and merchandise: Final considerations

It is important to note that merchandise is not the core of a coffee business, and the financial benefits may vary. However, it can contribute to practical marketing and advertising efforts, which, in turn, will generate more revenue.   

The world of coffee merchandise has evolved significantly over the years. It once included simple items such as branded thermos and mugs but has since expanded to encompass more luxurious offerings, such as clothing and bags. This evolution mirrors the changing preferences of coffee enthusiasts.

Standard coffee merchandise often includes branded travel cups, t-shirts, and caps. These items not only serve as practical accessories but also allow customers to showcase their love for your brand. Notably, these traditional items continue to be significant sellers. 

However, when determining the types of items to offer, brands must consider two crucial factors. First, they must determine which items their customers will find helpful. For example, practical items, such as travel cups align with the daily rituals of coffee lovers, making them more likely to purchase and use these items regularly.

Second, businesses must ensure their brand and personality are accurately replicated across coffee packaging and their merchandise. The design style and messages merchandise conveys should be consistent with the brand’s identity to ensure that consumers represent the brand authentically.

At MTPak Coffee, we understand that your merchandise should be a consistent replication of your custom coffee packaging. Our team of expert designers have decades of experience creating custom-printed coffee bags that reflect brand identity and stand out on the shelf.

For more information on custom coffee bags, contact our team

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Tori Taylor
Tori Taylor

Victoria is a highly experienced content creator, writer, and editor based out of South Africa. With the experience gained by working in newsrooms and writing for lifestyle magazines, she is now focussed on creating insightful and relatable content for the specialty coffee community.

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