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How Peace Coffee brewed success with WooCommerce and Avalara

Written by Vanessa Petersen on February 6, 2024 Customer Stories.

Peace Coffee is a proudly local brand — with national distribution chops. From 2018 to 2021, Peace Coffee grew from in-person-only sales to a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand shipping beans across the United States.  

All of their operations are local to Minneapolis: their corporate team, their roastery, their cafes, and even their website developer. Peace Coffee manages both B2C and wholesale distribution, having originally launched their website as a wholesale portal in 2018. Peace Coffee boasts nearly 70 employees, and is a LGBTQ- and woman-owned and operated brand.

As the demand for their coffee beans increased, Peace Coffee quickly outgrew their original website and migrated to WooCommerce in 2020. This migration happened just in time, because during the pandemic they were forced to close several of their Minnesotan cafes. 

Peace Coffee cart pulled by a biker

They now use their Woo store to sell nationally within the continental United States and have plans for further expansion. They chose Woo due to its flexibility. In revenue marketing manager Jim Gallagher’s words, the Peace Coffee team appreciated that they could use WooCommerce to “build as we needed, customize as we wanted.”

“We previously had an entirely custom-built website, but our rapid growth required a more adaptable solution. Our developer recommended WooCommerce.”

Jim Gallagher, Revenue Marketing Manager at Peace Coffee

Peace Coffee offers a variety of coffee blends, brewing equipment, branded mugs and apparel, giftcards, and even brewing classes, but where they truly shine is in their coffee subscriptions. 

man roasting coffee beans

Tools used:

  • Taxes: Avalara
  • Email marketing: Klaviyo
  • Inventory management: Voyager
  • Resource planning: NetSuite
  • Measurement: Metorik, NetSuite, MonsterInsights, Google Analytics, native social metrics
  • Multichannel platforms: Target, Amazon

Solving nationwide taxes with Avalara

National distribution brings a slew of tax complications, with different rules for every state in the U.S. Peace Coffee uses Avalara for its automated sales tax calculations, tax filing services, and its Woo and NetSuite integrations.

The team was enthusiastic about how good Avalara is: “Avalara is the gold standard for sales tax,” Marty Prow, IT Manager at Peace Coffee said. “It’s always accurate. I’ve used Avalara in different roles since 2010, and have never known of an instance where the Avalara tax rate wasn’t correct. Having Avalara makes it easy to enter into additional states knowing that it will not be a burden to deal with states’ unique tax rules.”

“Avalara is the gold standard for sales tax.”

— Marty Prow, IT Manager, Peace Coffee

Peace Coffee has also used Avalara to plan expansion to new states: “Tracking our sales and potential nexus in states where we currently do not collect sales tax has been very helpful.”

Since adopting Avalara, the time it takes to reconcile sales tax each month has drastically decreased. The team is looking forward to easily adding states as they continue to grow.

Fueling growth with loyal subscribers

Coffee subscriptions accounted for 60% of Peace Coffee’s revenue in 2023. Peace built that subscriber base through promotional offerings and always-on media, like social posts and email marketing. 

Peace Coffee’s promotional offerings include a 30% off deal for first-time subscribers and discounted subscription orders (as opposed to full-priced one-time coffee purchases). Even with these discounts, Peace Coffee expects to earn back the lost revenue later in the customer relationship: “It’s worth it,” Jim noted.

With their subscription offering, Peace Coffee has found that they have a very engaged core group of customers who maintain lasting relationships with the Peace Coffee brand. 

Peace coffee products

While coffee is part of many folks’ daily grind — literally, if you grind your own beans — Peace Coffee’s marketing strategies include plenty of seasonal promotions and blends.

They’ve crafted their seasonal strategy based on popular holidays and celebrations, customer expectations, and typical sale periods. 

For instance, in June, they ran a Pride month sale that was hugely successful. Jim noted that for big promotions like these, they plan well in advance so that their shipping and fulfillment team can prepare.

Peace Coffee also runs seasonal roasts, like the Peace and Light blend featured in Woo’s 2023 holiday gift guide. The upswings in revenue from these promotions is then used to reinvest in the business.

Driving revenue with an organic marketing strategy

Peace Coffee limits their spend on paid social media marketing, which means that their organic marketing strategy is an important revenue driver. In 2022, email subscribers accounted for 39% of Peace Coffee’s revenue. 

Outside of email, Peace Coffee focuses on organic social media, posting frequently to their colorful Instagram and Facebook accounts, and sharing interesting coffee content to their TikTok. They’ll also use social media to make announcements and share promotions on their website.

The team also creates content like recipes and playlists that are aligned with their seasonal roasts. Extra content is added in their profile bios with Linktree to encourage brand engagement beyond a customer’s cup of coffee. 

To measure their success, Peace Coffee uses a combination of tools: Metorik, NetSuite, and MonsterInsights (integrated with Google Analytics) help them track their marketing and sales performance. 

Whatever the platform, Peace Coffee focuses on building lasting relationships with loyal customers.

Looking ahead

Peace Coffee feels new to focusing their efforts on ecommerce but still have seen consistent year-over-year growth, and plan to double that growth in the coming year. As they work to position themselves as an organic lifestyle brand (already started with the launch of a compostable Keurig pod in Spring 2023!), the team is expanding their full funnel efforts to garner broader awareness while also maintaining their loyal customer base.

They’ve researched and chatted with inspiring local brands to build out a host of ideas. Peace Coffee is also building out their content strategy, publishing more video content, recipes, and organic social posts.

All of this work is done with the goal of furthering their national expansion, well-supported by their exemplary use of Avalara and WooCommerce.

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2 Responses

  1. Sergio Nava
    February 8, 2024 at 7:08 am #

    It’s a great business digital case, the project looks complex but with Woo all is possible

    Sergio
    Sparklabs

    • Kathryn Marr
      February 8, 2024 at 6:47 pm #

      Thanks, Sergio!