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Should Cafes Get Into Products? We Think So.

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

Imagine: your cafe is buzzing with so much rhythm and potential.

Your coffee and food are gaining a loyal following with good reviews that your customers simply come back for more. Your baristas are performing well thanks to your efficient training program. The overall ambience of your cafe is so inviting that new customers are coming. You have a good marketing plan at hand and you have a growing online community.

What’s next for you? Are you taking advantage of every opportunity to diversify your sales income and retain customer loyalty?

Retail sections in most cafes have the tendency to remain underutilized. Yes, you are brewing good coffee and your staff are well-trained to upsell your offerings since you placed eye-catching snacks next to your counter. But if you don’t have an engaging retail selection, you might be losing out on potential profits.

To thrive amidst the challenges in the cafe industry, now can be a good time for your cafe to capitalize on additional revenue sources. Selling products in retail either in your physical store or via an online shop can help fill the gap that you need to create that revenue stream.

It’s time for you to dust off the shelves. Coffee shops have a dynamic audience demographic that waits for their lattes. When you take into account the average time baristas spend in making one coffee, you would want them scrolling through your cafe merchandise instead. And if you don’t have one, it’s a case of a lost business opportunity.

Now you may have the right idea but the execution is yet to be completed. When done right, you will be surprised to see how merchandise can serve your cafe a boost apart from elevating your brand identity by providing you a steady stream of revenue.

Here in Bean and Barley, we give you some key insights on how to make your merchandise work for you.

Make Money with Your Merchandise

You have an idea on which type of merch you want to sell. Now, let’s set the money-generating plan into play.

Merchandise can be split into two categories: the products with your brand and those without, but in a way are still representative of your brand. The second category is just as important as the first.

1. Display the smaller and inexpensive merchandise closer to your POS or register. These items, because they are affordable in nature, stimulates your customers to buy them out of impulse or on-the-spot purchasing decisions. Experiment with placing some small coffee bags next to your counter that are less expensive compared to the other merchandise in your store. They tend to draw in more impulsive buys from your coffee shop customers.

2. Where do the more expensive or exclusive merchandise go? Right on the counter where your customers wait to pick up their coffee. If they’re not scrolling through their social media feed, this will give them more time to look at your products while waiting. That sweet spot is the perfect occasion for them to look at your branded coffee mugs, tumblers and even coffee-makers that may reflect your brand’s identity.

Tip: Products that carry your logo should also add value to your customer experience, as well as reinforce your company DNA.

3. Observe the seasonal trends. Depending on the season, bring out a different selection that your budget affords you. You have the freedom to switch up the merchandise that has your logo and offer limited supplies. Avoid the mistake of changing your best-selling item. Instead, offer varieties of the same product. Is there a bag of coffee beans or a tumbler that sells like hotcakes in your shop? Retain that and explore releasing it in different iterations. Your product merchandising strategies will benefit from keeping things fresh by tweaking the design with hints of the original versions to keep your customers’ interest peaked.

4. Since you are just starting with carrying your brand into your products, do not buy too much volume just yet. The goal with product merchandising is not to sell the same merchandise year-round but to draw interest, visibility and an additional stream of income. You wouldn’t want your products, no matter how aesthetically pleasing they may seem, to take up an inventory space. The way to maintain a sizable profit that is high enough to maintain ideal supply levels is to use an inventory tracker.

5. Are there items collecting dust on your shelves? Remove them. Not only do they shoo the coffee lovers or casual customers from buying them but they make your cafe look unkempt. This can turn even your most loyal customers away. What you can do is pull them off and try again in another season. If the item still does not sell, you would be wise to cut your losses and replace it with merchandise that will.

6. Try not to have frequent or long-lasting sale periods. Remember: your merchandise has value that equates to your brand. Extended sales might give your customers the wrong impression. Focus your sales and marketing efforts around the holidays or even in events that your coffee shop is highly passionate about.

7. As with any form of retailing some items are likely to sell more at certain periods of the year than others. Check your sales reports for the patterns. Make sure that your displays are strategically placed and are aesthetically pleasing to get customers who visit your shop to look at your merchandise.

The key to branching into merchandise for your cafe is to perform a market research of local coffee shops to understand what type of products will actually sell well and produce an ideal return on investment.

These quick tips will help you merchandise your coffee shop the right way by boosting your sales and brand identity.

Do you need help to get started? Talk to us.


Alois, E. 8 Tips for Selling Merchandise at Your Coffee Shop. iPad Point of Sale System for Restaurants, Bars & More. Retrieved 6 July 2021, from

Burgess-Yeo, S. (2019). Boosting Coffee Shop Profits Through Engaging Retail Offerings. Perfect Daily Grind. Retrieved 6 July 2021, from


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