The key to tailormade coffee boxes for success in online sales

Nuvin Sithanen
June 13, 2024
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Online sales have significantly impacted the specialty coffee industry. eCommerce allows coffee brands to reach wider customer bases and provides consumers with convenient access to a variety of products. Beyond this, subscriptions for tailormade coffee boxes have grown in popularity, with a 200% increase in sales in the past five years.

When competing for digital shelf space, brands must ensure that coffee packaging attracts consumer attention and conveys essential information at a glance. Bespoke coffee boxes allow for a more personalised customer experience, encouraging consumers to connect and interact with a brand. Notably, research shows consumers tend to trust a brand more when the product arrives in premium packaging. 

Furthermore, coffee boxes provide additional protection to the products inside, which can vary from coffee bags and capsules to drip coffee bags and single sachets of concentrate. Tailormade coffee boxes allow brands to package, store, and ship products easily, all while boosting brand awareness without additional costs.

This can be particularly beneficial when it comes to online sales, where aesthetics and efficiency are key. 

To learn more, I spoke to Stephany Marmolejo and Darius Karremans from Kolibri Coffee Roasters, and Inna Zamikhovska of Black Hat Coffee, about how custom coffee boxes can help boost online sales. 

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Understanding how tailormade coffee boxes help digital shelf space

Brands looking to boost business recognition and sales should consider venturing into e-commerce. A strong online presence coupled with the latest e-commerce platforms can broaden a brand’s offerings, increase its reach, and allow it to remain open 24 hours a day. 

Research shows that fewer people are shopping in physical stores each year. Notably, 20.1% of retail purchases are expected to take place online in 2024, and that number is expected to reach 37% by 2027. Statistics clearly show that online shopping is more than a simple trend–it’s here to stay. By creating coffee packaging that stands out online, brands can ensure their business remains relevant and accessible to customers. 

Essentially, a ‘digital shelf’ refers to the online counterpart to a brick-and-mortar shelf. It allows brands to showcase several products on a single screen. However, it’s important to remember that selling products online means they’re unable to appeal to consumers through tactile sensations or strategic placement. Therefore, brands must rely on the look of tailored coffee packaging to appeal directly to consumers. 

Stephany and Darius are the founders of Kolibri Coffee Roasters in The Netherlands> The pair recall being one of the first brands to introduce coffee boxes to the region in 2021. 

“At the beginning, we wanted to bring something different to the market. Now, everyone has a box,” the duo laughs. 

Custom printed coffee boxes provide a unique way for customers to identify a brand. In addition to including the brand’s logo, custom coffee boxes can be tailored to the individual customer’s preferences and needs. This can help to create a strong sense of brand loyalty and promote repeat sales. 

It is the “first impression a customer has about your product,” Stephany explains. “If they see your product in a positive way, they will have a good impression of what they are buying. It represents the brand as well as the quality of the product. The box itself is a big representation of what we want to show as a brand.”

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Creating tailored coffee boxes that appeal to consumers

Black Hat Coffee is based in Germany and exclusively offers carefully selected coffee beans with a minimum of 85 SCA points. Owner Inna explains that the brand’s decision to switch to custom coffee boxes was born out of strategic branding and a desire to tell consumers a story. 

“One motivation was the intention to differentiate ourselves from other specialty coffee companies,” Inna explains. “Another was that we wanted packaging that has a certain surprise effect,” she says, adding that coffee packaging is not usually vertical. Inna believes that vertical boxes are more common for luxurious items, such as perfumes, candles, and tech items. By packaging its product in vertical coffee boxes and subconsciously linking the packaging to items of luxury, Black Hat can position itself as a premium brand.

“We believe that coffee is as individual as a tailor-made suit,” she explains. “That is why our [custom coffee boxes] feature different suit patterns, which we have linked to specific coffee flavours.” Inna adds that this makes it easier for their customers to have the same coffee experience each time, as “they only need to choose the same suit pattern.” 

Investing in tailored coffee boxes comes with a fair share of benefits that often extend beyond branding and customisation. For Black Hat Coffee, the decision to use customised coffee boxes stems from a desire to convey its brand philosophy effectively. The brand aims to make it easy for customers to enjoy the same positive taste experience. 

Therefore, Inna explains they’ve “clustered the different coffee flavours and linked them to the individual suit patterns on the box. The coffee beans [themselves] are packaged in biodegradable coffee bags with an exhaust filter, which continues the idea of bespoke packaging.”

The decision to cluster coffee flavours with individual patterns ensures consistency in taste while offering their customers a visually captivating and recognisable experience. This approach simplifies the coffee selection process and fosters a sense of connection between the brand and the consumer. 

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Final considerations: Sustainability still matters

When customising coffee boxes, there are a few factors to consider, starting with material. It is important to invest in packaging materials that align with the brand’s values and the quality of the coffee. Recyclable or compostable options will be a big hit with environmentally conscious consumers and can show that your business is doing its part to protect the environment. 

Kraft paper coffee boxes are, by far, the most environmentally friendly packaging materials. The main reason for this is due to the material being entirely composed of organic and natural materials. What’s more, kraft paper can also be made using recycled content, as fibres can be reused to produce more kraft paper.

Stephany and Darius tell us that the first thing they had thought about when customising their boxes was “creating something compostable or recyclable.” The pair also believe that the brand message is key in customisation. 

For example, the coffee packaging for Kolibri Coffee features a Colibri bird, which lives in the same surrounding climate as the coffee. “It has a connotation that we support a lot of sustainable and organic coffee plantations which take care of nature around them.” The pair add that custom coffee boxes can also feature information “about the company, how they can interact with you, and details about social media accounts.” 

At MTPak Coffee, we understand the importance of a memorable customer experience when it comes to specialty coffee. We offer corrugated coffee subscription boxes made from 100% recycled cardboard. With their high level of strength, durability, and weather resistance, coupled with our wide range of size options, these boxes are the perfect solution to support your subscription service.

For more information on tailored coffee boxes, contact our team

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Nuvin Sithanen
Nuvin Sithanen

Nuvin is a specialty coffee professional with experience in a variety of sectors in the industry, including green coffee sourcing and coffee equipment distribution. He is actively involved in the South African coffee industry, providing coffee beans and equipment to both home baristas and businesses.

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