If Chuck Norris drinks coffee, he probably drinks this one.
Do you know who the “Green Berets” are? Evan Hafer knows because he was one. The Green Berets are the Special Forces unit of the US Army. Evan founded Black Rifle Coffee in 2014. He and his company are unabashedly patriotic, are ranked in the top 44k of all websites in the world, and they sell some mighty strong coffee (the crazy coffee guy in the office got some to try it out).
And they sell a LOT of coffee.
Want proof? They went public back in February. You can find them listed on the New York Stock exchange under the symbol $BRCC. The current market cap is about $622 million and they now operate subsidiaries and brand extensions.
The Shopify Theme That They Use
Well … it looks like we have another customer theme here (yawn!). You all know how I feel about spending tens of thousands of dollars on a customer theme when nearly all the time a low-cost premium theme costing a few hundred dollars with some intelligent modifications is perfectly fine. At least in this case you can see the customizations and they are on brand (many times these custom jobs are not).
What They Do Well
BRAND, BRAND, AND MORE BRAND
OK … so why did we pick Black Rifle Coffee for the newsletter this week? The reason is simple … brand.
The in-your-face patriotic flair, aggressive tone, and military imagery might even be off-putting to some. The entire site is in BLACK for goodness sake … it breaks all the rules. But then again, it doesn’t break the rules at all.
You see, many eCommerce brands want to be all things to all people. The trouble is, when you have a thousand Shopify sites all trying to be all things to all people you get ZERO differentiation. Black Rifle Coffee is smart. They KNOW that some people will be put off by the style and tone. And they are perfectly fine with that. They are niche-ing down into a specific target audience. Don’t like Chuck Norris? You probably won’t like this coffee … and that’s OK.
Let me be clear … I am not saying that they are not being true to themselves. In fact, I think that they are. But it is their willingness to focus in on a personality and style — a brand — and stick to it with discipline is the real reason they are what they are success-wise.
There are literally hundreds of coffee related websites on Shopify. This one is the most successful. Is their coffee good? Sure. But the difference in success between Black Rifle Coffee and the other is all about years of brand discipline and targeted marketing.
OTHER GOOD STUFF
The product pages are brilliant. The dynamic pricing on subscription purchases is really slick and well-executed.
The checkout process is solid too. There are solid upsell paths, a charity donation selection, installment payments, Express payment options in the cart, upsell gift-wrapping …. It is all there and it all works.
I like the "Congratulations! You’ve unlocked free shipping!” message when you order enough.
The store locator loads a little slow, but it works well.
That “LIGHT” to “EXTRA DARK” product selection slider on the home page is cool.
What Needs to Be Improved
There is not a lot to criticize here, but there are a few things.
One is that it looks like the site is starting to lose focus. This is a direct result of their success. They have some important obligations now that they are a publicly traded company, right? Sure they do. But all that corporate stuff should not be on the primary eCommerce site. Now, normally I strongly recommend that sites do not split content or use things like sub-domains. But this is an exception. All the listed to “Investor Relations” and such are a distraction from customers buying coffee and coffee gear. They should get a corp. site and put everything there.
See how they have “About” as a main menu item? Normally I am very firm that you should not put the About stuff up there on the main navigation. These guys get a little bit of a reprieve on that because their brand power is why they can sell coffee in the first place. These guys NEED to tell the story.
The “Follow Us Now” button makes you leave the page. It should open up to a new tab or window. Keep the customers on the site folks! The other social links do it correctly.
The Shopify Apps They Use
We used our scanning tools to determine that this site is using the following apps and plugins:
There is a lot of additional code tucked all over the place. That means there are additional apps and integrations hidden from view. This site is running a LOT of apps and analytics tools.
Marketing Stuff They Do
In addition to their Shopify store, they have a large network of physical reseller locations across the US. In addition, they have a very active influencer campaign and are on a bunch of social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter. They also have a Facebook Shop. They have an impressive 1.7 million followers on Facebook and 1.8 million on Instagram.
I did not find any current search ad campaigns running, but I’ve put a few of their social ads below for your review and inspiration.
But remember … this is a branding story. The power of their brand and focus is driving their success.
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