What makes a great coffee shop website? For that matter, what makes any eCommerce website great?
Companies and great e-commerce merchants like Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and Alibaba set the standard for great online sales effectiveness, and there's much you can learn from them.
There's all kinds of examples of brands that have harnessed Web development, User experience (UX or UE), Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and Web Design to drive online sales.
Their success can be replicated across many types of online businesses including those cafe owners who want to setup websites for coffee shops and sell their coffee online.
Web designers and web developers might have their own criteria for what makes a great website, but a successful coffee shop website is one that achieves the objectives it was built for.
Typically, the foremost objective is to sell coffee. In our view, those who do that specifically well are great sources of inspiration.
This page (recently updated for 2021) will review and showcase coffee shop websites that, for different reasons, do a great job of selling coffee online. We'll take you through each example while highlighting what can be learned from each.
Before jumping into the examples, we'll first outline what you need to know about the context of online coffee shopping and behavior.
Also, we took some time define some of the concepts and terms outlined in our review of the coffee websites. If you want to learn more about what we mean by "conversion optimization", for instance, jump to Explaining the Terms.
THE BEST COFFEE SHOP WEBSITES (2021)
First the Context: Coffee & Online Shopping
Customers willingness to purchase online has quite literally never been higher and is still projected to grow. Online coffee sales are trending in the same direction.
Online payment processing continues to grow safer and easier. There's less friction as payment processors like Stripe, Google Pay, and others become more ubiquitious.
Trust is still one of the biggest factors working for or against e-Commerce websits.
Online reviews from customers can and almost always impact conversions and sales.
Other factors impacting sales and success include social media "signals" (comments, likes, and general sentiment around the business and website) and competition.
Finally, customer service is essential to building and maintaining a growing business, and that's especially true of e-Commerce.
So when we review the "best websites' we don't look at them purely from a web design, development, or "aesthetic" perspective (although we do that as well). It's critical to take the larger context into account when looking at coffee websites that do their job well enough to serve as useful inspiration.
INSPIRATIONAL COFFEE WEBSITES
Indy Coffee Box & Conversion Rate Optimization
Indy Coffee Box has a few obvious things going for it.
First, their top left call out saying "Never Have a Bad Coffee Again" quickly and concisely articulates their value proposition to the visitor.
They operate a monthly subscription model primarily, so this callout speaks effectively to what you get out of a subscription: no risk of having to drink bad coffee. Reliability and consistency is their bread and butter, and the solution they offer to customers.
They are also using "Hotjar" which is a website analytics tool used to create heatmaps and user behavior insights that can be used by marketers and UX Designers. It's likely their simplified layout and checkout process is a direct result of the behavior insights they were able to surface and apply to their user experience and website design best practices.
See more examples of coffee subscription websites.
Blue Coffee Box & Web Design
Blue Coffee box prides itself on its ethical and sustainable business model, and they do a great job calling attention to that fact directly on the home page. This is a pretty good example of where you can use web design to better reflect your brand and values.
They go out of their way to mention that not only is their coffee ethically sourced, but their packaging is 100% plastic free compostable. All this is immediately communicated on the home page in short and easy to digest bullet points.
Their website, an extension of their marketing strategy, is a great demonstration of how internal business decisions can and should be highlighted where they speak to the things your customers care about.
Drink Trade & User Experience
Drink Trade has clearly mastered the art of the coffee product page.
They include simple visuals to interact with in choosing your quantity and grind style when selecting a product.
They also include details about the roasting schedule (for each product) as well as a quick and easy to understand illustration of the taste and roast level of each.
The impact of the roast schedule can't be overstated, this is an elegant and effective way of communicating to customers that their coffee will be fresh while also setting expectations about the logistics and time they can expect to receive the coffee.
This doesn't happen by accident. This is almost definitely the result of a robust and well executed User Experience (U/X) process.
Yes Plz Coffee & Web Development
Ok, now Yes Plz Coffee is clearly about making a statement.
Even their domain name, yesplz.coffee (instead of .com) is clearly exploring off the beaten path.
With coffee blend names like "vibe check" and a website where every page is prettier than the last, Yes Plz Coffee obviously isn't afraid to take bold risks in the name of creating a unique and authentic experience.
The most useful thing you can learn from this website, is that when all the different elements work together, a bigger and more impactful impression is made. In this case, the website name, the domain, the language they use, the imagery, animation, fonts, and colors are all marching forward in the same coherent and consistent direction.
You know what else is impressive about https://www.yesplz.coffee/ ? Their home page also has a GTMetrix grade of "B" which means the website is developed well enough to load very fast.
Chamberlain Coffee & The importance of a good "About Us" page
Chamberlain Coffee deserves a nod here specifically because of their / her compelling "about us" page.
The page reads "No boojie bullshit. No wasteful packaging. Just straight up coffee that tastes good and travels well."
If anyone visits your about page, it's because they want to learn something about the people behind the product.
Promising "Good Vibes. Great Coffee." Chamberlain coffee presents a combination of copy, imagery and above all tone that communicates a lot about the company and even more about what they imagine their target customer to be like.
Life Boost Coffee
Life Boost doesn't represent the typical example, but we wanted to include them here for the sake of variety.
The image and link aren't to their homepage, but are actually pointing to a specific landing page they developed to support their marketing campaigns and drive traffic to.
As you'll see, the page demonstrates there's more than one way to sell coffee online, with this page following a completely different kind of template than what you would expect.
Crema.co believes "you know what you like best".
Their website supports that belief in providing visitors with a visually compelling and pretty thorough "quiz" that let's you specify the exact kind of coffee you'd like to get from them.
Crema.co is a perfect example of building a website with a customer first mindset, where the functionality and the design is intended to target and guide different types of customers (likely developed through research and segmentation) down the funnel.
Press House Coffee
Press House Coffee has managed to make most other coffee websites, even the great ones, look dull and and boring in comparison.
They serve as an extraordinary example of how great a coffee website can look, while still being built around an acquisiton focused user experience.
It might not be the most obviously dazzling website, but aside from having a great name Necessary Coffee also offers a deceptviely simple and stunning online experience.
What's most useful to understand about their website, is that despite the fact they actually have a lot of features and functionality (some breathtaking imagery, a blog, a lively and integrated instagram account, and a chat function) they are careful to tuck all that stuff out of sight so as not to distract the customer.
Basically, the website and user experience are designed in such a way as to allow customer to convert without friction or distraction, while also offering potential customer additional context, information, or support if they need it.
Got Your Six Coffee
Like many veteran owned coffee businesses, Got Your Six Coffee makes no apologies for their lack of subtely and focuses on differentiation.
Their website puts their target audience of first responders and military personel front and center.
The website imagery, including many photos of first responders, does a great job of signaling the purpose behind the business and the coffee.
Cielito Querido Cafe
The imagery on the Cielito Querido Cafe website is just stunning.
This website is not made with the typical template or style, but the use of imagery and mosaic styling is instructive. It's consistent, it's cleary deliberate and thought through, and it shows how a website can be a powerful resource for communicating something about the brand.
Equator Coffees is legitamtely breathtaking in its imagery.
But it's most useful to understand the website in the context of presenting a premium coffee brand.
The website specifically calls out "Great Chefs", "Great Coffee", "Great Cause" and is always careful to write about the *craft* that is so intrinsic to their product and positioning.
They've positioned themselves as expert craftsmen in the coffee vertical, and goes as far as to tell website visitors that they are commited to excellence.
If that's the way you present your coffee, than it follows every single brand or product image on the website will be carefully orchestrated and (probably) expensively executed.
EXPLAINING THE TERMS
Explaining the Terms: Conversion Rate Optimization
Remember, the "conversion rate" is calculated as the total number of conversions (however you define them), divided by the total number people who visited the website.
So here it would make sense to look at it as the total # of website visitors who bought coffee or signed up to a coffee subscription.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) has been marketing discipline since eCommerce website operators became more aware of user behavior insights that website analytics tools can provide.
Digital marketers realized that if on site behavior can be measured, it can be used to improve a website's user experience towards generating more sales.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) looks to improve the percentage of visitors that interact with a website in a desired way. This can mean sales but it can also means lead form submissions or email subscriptions, for instance.
CRO is also a process. It's put in place to test website changes and larger marketing efforts to better measure and improve the performance of the website.
Simply put, the idea is to get more sales for every visitor your website receives. So in theory you can increase sales without needing to increase traffic.
Explaining the Terms: Web Design
Web design consists of the different skills, people, and technology involved in the building of websites.
Areas of web design include everything from graphic design, User Experience design (UX), User Interface design (UI design) and most anything that impacts the overall "look and feel" of the website.
Content Management Systems like Shopify take a lot of the technical overhead out of the process of design, but even those CMS platforms often have templates or themes that are customized, and so need some level of web design proficiency to build.
For instance, "Home Page Design" is almost a discipline onto itself, with a number of articles and books having been written about the importance of design related decisions that impact your homepage and how that can effect your online business.
For more details, you can review our guide on web design.
Explaining the Terms: Web Development
Web development refers to the underlying back-end code that is required to build a website.
Web development really sits at a cross section of many more technical website considerations. It's usually equally informed by concepts like information architecture and needs to incorporate some understanding of design, web hosting, and more.
Web development is basically the foundation / frame that holds up all the features and design aspects of a website.
Explaining the Terms: User Experience
User experience (UX) refers to the science and discipline of "optimizing" a website for desirable user behavior.
The central goal of UX is to ensure the front facing design of a website works for its targeted audience.
In the context of coffee shop websites, this means a UX designer would concern themselves with things like if the most popular (or profitable) coffee can be easily purchased and found on the website, for instance.