Australia’s love affair with coffee has been steadily brewing since the post-war immigration boom in the 50s and 60s, when Italian migrants transformed the country’s coffee scene with the espresso machine.
Today, the country enjoys a full-bodied coffee culture, with per capita consumption sitting at around two kilograms of coffee per person each year.1
Whilst the café industry continues to thrive, at-home coffee consumption is also growing in Australia, with online retail becoming more popular as a distribution channel.
Accounting for over 80% of the country’s hot drinks ecommerce market, coffee ecommerce has a market volume of nearly US$445 million in 2023. The predicted compound annual growth rate for the next four years is 11.5%, meaning a forecasted market volume of US$682.7 million by 2027.2
For brands selling coffee online, Shopify has become a go-to ecommerce platform. Fast, reliable and customisable, it enables retailers to serve up online retail experiences that are just as smooth as the blends they sell.
In this article, we explore a selection of Australian coffee brands using Shopify and its integrations to delight coffee drinkers and drive business growth.
Top Shopify coffee stores in Australia
1. Three Thousand Thieves
Where better place to start than a subscription brand based in the coffee capital of Australia, Melbourne. Three Thousand Thieves (TTT) introduces its subscribers to a new artisan coffee with each monthly delivery. Boxes come complete with delicious Australian roasted coffee, postcards and tasting notes.
Thematic discovery subscriptions like this are popular with retailers and consumers alike – and something we’re no stranger to here at Swanky. We built a custom subscription solution to handle such a model for Sydney-based DTC brand LiquorLoot (previously known as WhiskyLoot). The bespoke subscription app ensures that customers receive their boxes in the prescribed order, enjoying the curated tasting journey exactly as it has been designed. The app also updates customers’ unique dashboards with tasting videos for the whiskies they have been sent that month.
We featured TTT in a round up of Australian Shopify stores leveraging subscriptions to drive acquisition, conversion and retention at scale. A user-friendly subscription sign-up flow (powered by Recharge) walks users through the “path to the perfect cup”, allowing them to record their coffee preferences and requirements. Once subscribed, customers can pause, edit or cancel at any time – satisfying shoppers’ need for flexibility.
A chat widget presents an accessible way for customers to seek support from the TTT team, either through sending them a message or searching for an instant answer.
Accessible customer support like this is key for food and drink brands selling online, particularly subscription retailers whose business model relies on recurring orders from satisfied customers.
Finally, it’s worth checking out TTT’s blog for a great example of content marketing in action. From city café guides to product spotlights, gift listicles to roaster profiles, ‘The Slow Drip’ blog has been carefully curated to educate, engage and inspire customers. We discuss the advantages that this can have for ecommerce retailers in our article about the benefits of content marketing.
Next, we head to Queensland, home to leading independently owned and operated coffee roaster, Merlo. Providing coffee-lovers with fresh, café-quality coffee at home, Merlo delivers beans to every corner of the country and beyond. The brand also sells brewing equipment, gifts and Merlo merch directly to consumers, as well as supplying coffee on a wholesale basis to cafés, restaurants and workplaces.
Merlo’s coffee is available as a one time purchase, or on a subscription basis. An intuitive subscription flow allows users to choose their blend, grind, quantity and delivery frequency in a simple four-click process.
Customers can sign up to Merlo’s loyalty program, which rewards regular customers with exclusive benefits such as birthday treats, event invitations and giveaways. This is a popular strategy used amongst online food and drink brands for encouraging repeat purchases and building long-term relationships with customers – ultimately improving customer retention.
We particularly like the animated video on Merlo’s loyalty program landing page which highlights the perks for members (you can see a snippet of this below). Using video is a great way to increase website visitors’ time on page, as well as better immersing them into your brand and its offering.
3. Montville Coffee
Another Queensland brand selling coffee online with Shopify is Montville Coffee (a proud member of the Food & Agribusiness Network like Swanky).
This is a brand clearly passionate about empowering its customers to enjoy an inspired and informed coffee experience. This is seen with the FAQs that are displayed prominently throughout the site, helping shoppers decipher coffee jargon and understand the differences between products.
The site’s unique collection page design also speaks to Montville’s commitment to user experience, with tiles that leverage colours and iconography to help customers easily differentiate between blends.
And finally, the brand’s focus on customer education is demonstrated by the dedicated ‘Learn’ item in the main navigation bar, which links users to an extensive collection of brewing guides, recipes and journal articles. Not only does this position Montville as an authoritative figure in the coffee industry, it will also be playing a crucial role in the brand’s SEO strategy, helping to boost visibility and acquire traffic.
4. Single O
Founded in 2003, Sydney-based brand Single O has been sourcing, roasting and selling coffee in Surry Hills and beyond for two decades. Committed to using socially and environmentally responsible beans, as well as reusing and repurposing at every opportunity, the brand is big on sustainability.
Single O offers its coffee directly to individual coffee-lovers as a one time purchase, or on a flexible subscription via Recharge. Alongside beans, it sells coffee-making equipment and, like many of the other brands in this list, merch. Single O also has a wholesale arm, selling to hospitality businesses across Australia.
This Shopify coffee store is full to the brim with vibrant, high-quality product and lifestyle photography – a vital ingredient of a successful food and drink website. Using professional-grade imagery instantly communicates credibility to potential customers, increasing their perceived value of your brand and products. What’s more, excellent ecommerce photography will capture attention and compel action – vital in a crowded market like the online coffee space.
Since launching, Single O has expanded cross-border, tapping into Japan’s coffee scene with a separate Shopify store. At Swanky, we’re no strangers to working with ambitious brands wanting to branch out into the Asian market. In 2021, we worked on an exciting proof of concept project for global unicorn HelloFresh, helping them launch a Japanese MVP (minimum viable product) on Shopify Plus. Find out more about how we helped this leading meal kit company start selling online in Japan.
Next we turn our attention to a slightly alternative Australian coffee brand selling via Shopify: Beforeyouspeak. Its coffee products are infused with superfoods to naturally support drinkers’ health goals, and are available as one time purchases or on subscription.
This is a website featuring many of the key ingredients for a successful drinks ecommerce store. Let’s start with the product quiz, which promises to match users with the perfect coffee blend for their health goals in 60 seconds or less.
After asking for your name, the quiz moves on to capture information on your goals, as well as how you’d like your coffee to taste. With these details collected, it recommends relevant products based on your needs and preferences.
Using a quiz like this to deliver needs-based personalisation can greatly improve a shopper’s experience of your online store. It connects them with suitable products quickly and easily, whilst providing reassurance that you have their unique needs in mind.
Product quizzes also serve up benefits for retailers too, including the collection of zero-party data, which can be used to personalise the customer journey at various touch points.
Beforeyouspeak is making fantastic use of social proof across its site. This includes third-party logo endorsements from relevant organisations such as Women’s Health and news.com.au, star ratings on collection page tiles, and layered reviews (powered by Okendo) that rate the taste, energy and experience of products. Social proof is particularly important for validating the integrity of brands selling health products, as we explore in our guide to health and wellness websites.
The brand also makes use of a product bundling strategy on its Shopify coffee store, offering deals on curated packages like the ‘Ultimate High Performer Bundle’ and ‘Pre-Workout + Hydration Bundle’. This is a great way to boost average order value (AOV), increase revenue and drive awareness of products.
6. Alternative Brewing
Alternative Brewing (AB) is the largest online coffee brewing equipment and accessory retailer in Australia.
Previously using WooCommerce, the brand was struggling with the constant development and maintenance required on the platform. After replatforming from WooCommerce to Shopify Plus, AB could enjoy a faster and more reliable website, with improved audience segmentation. The brand also experienced a 15% increase in AOV.
With an expansive catalogue of products available on its Shopify Plus site, connecting shoppers with products as seamlessly as possible is key for AB. One way the brand is doing this is with an intuitive on-site search function that suggests collections and products as a user starts typing. A predictive tool like this will make a customer’s path to purchase quick and easy – facilitating a smooth journey to the checkout. For guidance around how you can turn searches into sales on your ecommerce store, check out our guide to site search best practices.
AB leverages a rewards program where shoppers can earn ‘Brew Points’ for engaging and shopping with the brand. Members are rewarded every time they like or share AB on social media, place an order, write a review and upload a photo. Points can be converted into cash discounts. Loyalty programs are used frequently by ecommerce retailers to elevate the overall brand experience and establish emotional connections with customers. Both of these things can then translate into an uplift in repeat purchases and retention.
The brand also makes use of a referral program – a common strategy for driving brand awareness, aiding acquisition and improving retention. Existing customers can claim a tempting $5 coupon for referring a friend, whilst referred customers will receive a $10 coupon. Tapping into your loyal customers’ personal networks like this and incentivising them to spread the word about your products can be an effective way to reduce acquisition costs.
7. Blackstone Road
A round up of Australian brands using Shopify to sell coffee online wouldn’t be complete without a nod to our Brisbane-based client, Blackstone Road.
In 2022, we worked with owner Sean Fisher to get his new subscription coffee brand off the ground with a Shopify MVP. This enabled Sean to start learning about his audience at pace, as well as make data-driven decisions about new features.
Amongst the ecommerce tech stack that we helped to implement is Octane AI. This powers an on-site quiz, with answers being used to recommend relevant products to users. Helping shoppers to find the perfect roast for them provides a great experience for first-time visitors, improving the chances of conversion.
Social proof can be particularly impactful for new businesses, especially those offering a subscription model. As such, Blackstone Road leverages popular solution Okendo to collect and showcase customer reviews with visual elements. These help to boost shoppers’ confidence and nudge users through the purchase funnel.
Finally, Blackstone Road uses affiliate marketing to increase its exposure as a new brand. This performance-based strategy involves affiliates promoting a brand and its products in return for benefits. Perks for affiliates include discount codes, free gifts, commission and sneak peeks at new products. Benefits for Sean and his business include the creation of a loyal brand community, third-party brand validation, and increased sales. Affiliate marketing is a proven way of reducing acquisition costs, too.
You can read more about our work with Blackstone Road in this case study about launching a new coffee ecommerce business on Shopify.
Need support selling coffee online?
If you’re looking for a trusted and experienced Shopify Agency in Australia to either kickstart your new coffee ecommerce business, or optimise your existing Shopify coffee store, then look no further than Swanky.
We have particular expertise in the food and drink ecommerce industry, having worked with the likes of Blackstone Road and LiquorLoot in Australia, as well as brands such as HelloFresh, Huel and Union Roasted Coffee further afield.
Our team in Queensland provides end-to-end ecommerce support for retailers, designing and building beautiful online stores on the Shopify platform. We can also consult on and implement strategies around digital marketing, conversion rate optimisation, internationalisation and subscription.
Contact our team today to find out how we can help you unlock your ecommerce potential.