May 23, 2007, 12:00 AM

Green Mountain Coffee club helped serve $17.1 million in 2006 web sales

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ online sales for 2006 were $17.1 million, an increase of 235% compared to $5.1 million in 2005. Café Express club members drove one-third of sales.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ online sales for 2006 were $17.1 million, an increase of 235% compared to $5.1 million in 2005. Café Express is the web-based coffee buying service for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters customers and the company’s marketing plan begins and ends with one simple goal: Get customers to climb aboard.

“When it comes to the Green Mountain coffee web site, a third of our sales come from club members,” says Ken Crites, director of the consumer direct business segment, which includes club, catalog and web sales. In essence a subscription coffee service, Café Express is the fastest growing segment in this fast-growing company, Crites says. “Everything we do is about getting people into our Café Express club,” he adds.

Overall sales for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2006, were $225.3 million, up 39% from $161.5 million in fiscal 2005. Web sales accounted for 8% of total sales in fiscal 2006, compared to 3% in fiscal 2005.

Some of Green Mountain’s web sales growth last year stemmed from its acquisition of brewing equipment maker Keurig.com in September, Crites says. Green Mountain invested in Keurig in 1996 to gain a foothold in the office coffee business. “We liked the product so much we bought the company,” he says. Keurig.com still functions largely independently, he says, and the two businesses complement each other. They sell each other’s products, but derive the majority of their respective income from core products.

Crites says Green Mountain, which is No. 314 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, expects similar growth for 2007, if not as flashy. “Our online sales are up because we combined the two sites and they are growing like crazy. We think both will grow this year, but we won’t have that bump from the acquisition,” he says.

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