What’s a coffee shop website actually for?

November 7, 2011

If you are a frequent visitor to our website, I am sure you noticed we have updated our online presence.

There was a lot of thought and planning that went into how the website would look, what features (like this blog!) to offer, and how to maximize the customer’s experience when surfing around the virtual A&E store. Most importantly, as a small business owner, I am forced to take a hard look at what the overall purpose of the site is to the customer.

The obvious answer is to create a virtual storefront. Almost every business in this day and age is selling their wares online, so yes, I do see the website as convenience and courtesy to my clients and another way to sell our products.

Maybe more important than a tool for coffee and tea sales, I see the website as a unique way to educate customers and allow them to get to know us better. Different varieties of coffee, like wines, are unique in texture, and flavor, aroma. Each coffee is as unique as each customer and I am finding my website can be a fun way to match customers up with their preferences. The website also helps me connect with customers by sharing my passion for coffee.

Last month I read a survey published in Coffeetalk, an industry publication, which focused on roaster’s experiences in the online world. When roasters were asked what value they place on online sales, the response was mixed. Many responders were lukewarm with their responses; less than half seem to think the web was a big benefit to their sales. Asked about the value of the web to customer service, the responses were a little more positive. When posed with the question of “Would you do all over again?”  an overwhelming majority replied yes. The reason, many roasters agree, that their sites add value was the ability to connect with a larger audience, especially through education. I guess I’m not alone!

What do you think of our site? Do you visit it? Have you ever bought anything from us online? I’d love to know how you use it.

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