Retail

Delivering Caffeinated Innovation Through eCommerce

coffee

To help power through the workday, many consumers need a morning cup of coffee—or two, or three. But they often don’t a moment to brew their own beverages at home, and instead divert their time grabbing a cup of java at a café on the way to work and making another at an office using a coffee pod machine. eCommerce innovators, however, are offering consumers the opportunity to get an energy boost from one instant cup of coffee without the need to find multiple cups of coffee outside of the house.

Take Waka Coffee, which offers a variety of instant coffee and tea to consumers through eCommerce. Founder David Kovalevski experienced the challenge of finding one coffee solution to power him through his day, as he was living in New York and juggling his education and a full-time job. Kovalevski is originally from Israel, where he says instant coffee is fairly popular. And he wanted to find a good cup of instant coffee in the United States.

When he looked for instant coffee options and tried different varieties, he told PYMNTS in an interview that he spotted a significant gap in the market “between what instant coffee can be and the offerings that were available at the time.” As a result, he started Waka Coffee that aims to provide quality instant coffee and tea to consumers. The company currently offers Colombian instant coffee and Indian instant coffee along with Kenyan instant tea.

The Colombian coffee, he says, is more of a medium roast with well-balanced flavors along with notes of citrus. The Indian instant coffee, on the other hand, is more of a light roast with some notes of hazelnut and chocolate. And the Kenyan instant tea, he says, makes an excellent fruity iced tea as well as hot tea in a matter of seconds. The company also offers an insulated tumbler, a bamboo coffee spoon, and on-the-go starter/gift sets.

To prepare the coffee, consumers pour a packet of it into a mug, travel cu, or bottle and add eight to 10 ounces of water and stir. All of the company’s instant coffees are made from 100 percent Arabica beans, which are the same beans that consumers can find at their local coffee shops or specialty cafés. (Traditional instant coffee brands, by contrast, use robusta beans.) The beans are freeze-dried to protect the original flavors and aromas. Coffee is brewed into a thick liquid, and then the water is evaporated from the coffee leaving only the granules.

The company’s target market, Kovalevski says, is divided into two segments. The main target market is consumers who already drink instant coffee. They already know the value and benefit of drinking that type of coffee. They are seeking a higher quality product that they can enjoy on the go. The second target market, by contrast, is consumers who are aiming to make their coffee experience easier. They might use pods or capsules or even go to the coffee shop and get frustrated because of the price or environmental impact.

The company also contributes to a social cause, donating 4 percent of its profits to charity: water to support initiatives for clean and safe drinking water around the world.

Coffee eCommerce Innovation

Waka Coffee is a direct-to-consumer brand and sells its instant coffee and tea through different channels. Walmart sells the company’s products on Walmart.com, and Waka Coffee sells its products on its own website, Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. The company accepts PayPal, Google Pay, and credit cards for one-time purchases made through its website. And the company also allows consumers to subscribe to deliveries of its coffee at a discount through its website. Alternatively, consumers can sign up for subscription deliveries at a discount through Amazon. The company also has a wholesale side of the business. It has hotels that use instant coffee in the single-serve form, and it also has hotels that aim to be more eco-friendly purchase its bigger bulk bags.

Kovalevski says that the company is aiming to be “wherever our customers need us to be.” He wants the company to make it as easy as possible to purchase the coffee, because the goal, he says, is to be an easy coffee solution, not just to make, but also to find.

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Exclusive PYMNTS Study: 

The Future Of Unattended Retail Report: Vending As The New Contextual Commerce, a PYMNTS and USA Technologies collaboration, details the findings from a survey of 2,325 U.S. consumers about their experiences with shopping via unattended retail channels and their interest in using them going forward.

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