Ecommerce success: the story of Café

  • Tradition, quality and innovation: these are the hallmarks that shape the story of Café. An eCommerce success story we can learn from.

  • At Oleoshop we love to appreciate a well done job in eCommerce. We think it is always interesting to stop and analyze how some particularly interesting online stores have managed to stand out.

    It could be a different business model, a different way of communicating, a unique product or, as in the case study of Café, a mix of all these things.

    Join us to discover Café's story.
  • Who is behind the brand?

  • They are two entrepreneurs from Madrid, childhood friends who found the perfect moment to collaborate in a common project.

    Their names are Kiko Requena and Miguel Sánchez. It is the first who, despite being only 26 years old, already had a great experience in communication in different areas: among other projects, Kiko had worked both on and offline for Pinterest or El Tenedor).

    Together they jumped into the idea of setting up something more than a start-up more concerned about raising rounds of funding than having a real growth over time. This is a very personal project and you can see love in every detail.
  • INSIGHT: Knowing your partners well and balancing the competencies and skills of each one is always a guarantee to overcome the most complicated moments that often occur in entrepreneurship.
  • A coffee that is not for everyone

  • Of course, it is not enough the wish to open a store. This has to be supported by an idea as well as a business plan that is as comprehensive as possible, a well-defined product and a clear segmentation.

    In this case, both partners came to the conclusion that the most important thing was to start by defining their target audience in detail. They had in mind a European or North American man, between 35 and 50 years old, sophisticated, with a penchant for luxury and exclusivity, a good relationship with e-commerce and a certain environmental awareness.
  • INSIGHT: Such an approach is ideal to guide all steps, from product creation to communication and marketing strategy. It is always advisable to use buyer personas, which are much more comprehensive than simple demographic segmentation.
  • The product

  • They do not sell coffee. In fact, what they sell are leather products with their own design of the highest quality, handcrafted and made in Spain. Let's delve a little deeper into these 3 foundational concepts and pillars of the brand.
  • We need a product that is capable of justifying by itself the market positioning in the upper part of the matrix in terms of price. For this, the other two vectors come into play. We understand that a handmade product already implies that we are dealing with something unique by definition. In addition, Spain is a true reference in leather goods and leather craftsmanship.

    All Café products come from Ubrique, which is undoubtedly where the best leather craftsmen in the country are located.
  • INSIGHT: It is important to be clear that, in order to set the price of a product, we must provide it with the attributes that the customer perceives as a differential value. In Coffee products, exclusivity is produced from the first moment, and each exclusive step adds exclusivity to the previous step.
  • Sustainable bias

  • If there is one trend that is becoming more and more marked (and necessary), it is that of ecological awareness in brands and companies. Working with fur, by definition, distances us from certain standards and sensibilities.

    But Café has been able to demonstrate that it is possible to be eco-friendly without necessarily being vegan. To do so, they have turned their production model upside down.

    On the one hand, they use skins derived from the meat industry, which represents a reuse of resources. This is both ingenious and an exercise in corporate social responsibility.

    But ecological awareness is not only in the choice of raw materials: it is also necessary to assume the responsibility of treating these products with sustainable processes and procedures.

    For this very reason, Café has recovered the way of working that was used decades ago: they only use natural elements in the treatment of the skin, and in terms of time, the time required for it to tan under their standards.
  • INSIGHT: Most market sensibilities can be catered to as long as the classic models are given a twist. The audience appreciates this, and we will be certain that we are doing our part to conserve the planet.
  • Café concept

  • With the audience and product defined, it is time to go into something that surely intrigues you from the beginning and that we are overlooking: why the name "Coffee" for a company that sells leather?

    It is not a random decision, although it may seem so to some. Behind this choice there is a complete branding study. Kiko Requena is fascinated by the world of specialty coffee, by the care with which it is worked from the coffee plantation to the cup of a living, delicate product with an artisanal process. Of course, there is a parallelism to be used as a common thread.

    In addition, coffee is associated with something pleasurable, it is a word that can almost be smelled (like leather), it has a color code that is also associated with tanned skin... so we can speak of certain nuances of neuromarketing in the choice of the brand name.

    This is rounded off with great storytelling and top-notch branded content. A great way to get the message across.
  • INSIGHT: You cannot choose a name lightly. Our brand must represent and transmit something more than a simple commercial name. Always give it a couple of thought, sometimes there are conceptual connections with names and ideas that are not obvious at first glance but that work perfectly, as in the case of Café.
  • Digital natives

  • This is another company that was born specifically within the online channel, with no physical branches.

    Why only eCommerce? In this sense they are very sincere. They themselves confess that the initial budget they had was very important and that, in addition, they are aware of the internationalization potential of their products. Logically, it was clear to them that it would be easier to develop this strategy starting with an online store.

    However, this does not mean that they do not believe in retail. They have simply burned through previous stages, selling their products in multi-brand stores or using pop-up stores in the United States and Europe. Their concept seems to be crying out for a store of its own, and it is something that, in all likelihood, will happen sooner rather than later.
  • INSIGHT: Consider your resources correctly before making decisions that will condition your growth in the medium and long term. Especially in the initial phase, everything you do must have an almost immediate profitability. There will be time to scale the project.
  • The use of crowdfunding

  • There is a lot to highlight about this company, but one of the most unique things about Café is the use of crowdfunding when it comes to making new creations and additions to their catalog.
  • Basically, what they do is ask their customers before producing a new product. In this way, they are able to predict their potential and, incidentally, finance production through pre-sales. In return, the customer-patron gets a special price and is guaranteed availability once the product goes on sale to the public.
  • INSIGHT: Explore the possibilities of other ways of selling. Do not just stick to what everyone else is doing, because you may be missing out on interesting opportunities. Café is an example in this sense with crowdfunding, but there are many other options such as, for example, affiliate marketing, in which you also pay exclusively for results.
  • Keys to Café success

    • Exhaustive definition of the segment as a starting point: There are few brands that begin their journey by defining their target audience in an exhaustive manner and considering what they might like or what they might need. This is a different approach to what is usually done, but in this case it has had excellent results.
    • Betting on the quality of domestic manufacturing: In Spain we are quite used to enjoy top quality products in our daily lives, but abroad they literally amaze with the quality of our olive oil, our esparto slippers, our leather soles and, of course, our leather goods and handcrafted accessories. The vision shared by the co-founders of a potential internationalization of the brand is glimpsed from the very beginning.
    • Wide product catalog: more than references, we are talking about product categories or typologies. They do not only work with gloves and wallets, as they find other possibilities with details for travel bags, cell phone cases, notebook covers, camera straps...
    • Not only leather: as in all inspirational brands that involve a lifestyle, the universe can be expanded in a relatively simple way and without losing coherence. In addition to the above, they have incorporated from textile garments made of other materials to cufflinks, framed prints or even books.
    • Collaborations: this is something they have been doing since the beginning of their career as a brand. They have realized the amount of opportunities that can be created by working with other brands of a similar positioning. This has led them to partner Café with Jaguar, Cardhu, Land Rover, Vespa or Mercedes.
    • B2C and B2B: although the conception of the business was always B2C (retail sales), another of the things they discovered when the project started is that they had a line of business that they had not initially considered: events, corporate gifts, employee incentives and other similar cases that are also bringing them growth in B2B area (business to business sales).
    • Innovation: they are always ready to innovate. Their Café Lab is constantly looking for innovations to bring to their eCommerce and providing customized solutions, because they also work on demand for their B2B clients.
  • What do you think of Café's story, and what do you choose for your business? Share your comments below and on our social networks.

  • Images | Café.

Miguel Nicolás

Miguel Nicolás O'Shea is a life-long copywriter (more than 15 years working in agencies) and a specialist in Search Marketing (SEO and PPC). From now on, he will contribute with his online marketing experience to Oleoshop, publishing regularly.

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