If you look at current trends in technology and consumerism, it is hard to deny where the coffee industry is going. Convenience is king, and expectations are high. If you want to do well in a competitive industry you have to embrace innovations that set, you apart. When it comes to the magic trio of coffee consistency, quality and traceability, having access to state-of-the-art roastery technology is key.
For any doubters, here’s our top four reasons why tech will win and why it is best to get on board.
1. It already has won.
Look around you. Where have all the bookstores and CD shops gone? Does anyone use cash anymore? They do – and they’re still listening to music and consuming books. It may look different, but the world is still turning, and all is not lost.
E-commerce is thriving – with shopping, education, leisure now more tailored, automated and convenient than ever before. Consumers’ massive take-up of these online services is a strong indication that people expect convenience – minimal friction or delays when it comes to purchasing a product or service. The opportunities of eCommerce and online marketing have also raised the stakes, bringing more niche operators and competitors into markets. As a result, quality and choice has improved – leading to higher expectations on the part of customers generally.
2. High expectations.
The commercialisation of household technology, such as smart-appliances and Google Home, has radically raised expectations when it comes to convenience and innovation. When wifi was introduced on flights, it was slow at first, but it seemed like a breakthrough – now people are frustrated if it’s too slow because they’ve planned to do work on the flight! The human brain adapts quickly to the possibilities new technology provides – and businesses should adapt too.
Just like the companies that invested early in TV ads in the 1950’s reaped the benefits, there is a lot to be gained for coffee companies who are quick off the mark with technology that improves your customers’ experience all-round.
As you weigh up the value of investing in technology and partnering your brand with cutting-edge innovations, keep in mind customers’ high expectations and the current culture we live in. Resisting technology simply because of a sentimental, positive association with simpler ways of the past is futile at best and foolish at worst. Especially if you want to be commercially competitive.
3. It makes commercial sense.
As roasters and distributors working with many national and global brands, we often come across the misguided assumption that all customers prefer the artisan, micro-roaster approach. People in the industry seem to get caught up in the romance and image of the ‘hands-on’ craft of coffee. While artisan process certainly has its place in certain settings, and a wonderful history and culture, not all companies need to provide this type of coffee experience. Creating it consistently at scale is near-impossible. Not only that, for big-name brands, there is no need for this added romance – it’s overkill. We wrote about the importance of asking what your customers actually want here.
Like it or not, people can’t produce something as consistently as a machine can – maybe once, but not repeatedly. So instead of trying to offer something that you can’t scale effectively, partnering with a tech-equipped roaster (link to tech page) provides another way to get an edge on quality, brand-image, consistency and traceability.
4. The edge in a competitive market.
Companies vying for brand loyalty in a competitive market should look to investing in innovation that boosts their accountability and improves their customers’ experience. By doing so, they also improve their own experience of supply as managers or owners, reducing the friction caused by inconsistent product and a lack of data about quality processes.