Even Soda’s Getting Personal – Coca Cola and Big Data.
Back in 2010 we posted an article, “What Do You Call A Soda Dispenser With Onboard Data Analytics?” written by David Wallace from the TIBCO Spotfire Blogging Team that referenced the new FREESTYLE Soda dispenser from Coke.
What has happened since then?
Today we are posting a follow up article by Jennifer Kearney titled “Even Soda’s Getting Personal.
Little by little, machines are popping up in restaurants around the United States. Near where I live, it’s in a Kelly’s Roast Beef –you pick the soda you want and dispense it yourself. Seems pretty ordinary, right? Not exactly. This carbonated think tank, the Coca-Cola Freestyle, was made in 2009 and is revolutionizing the way we pick our soda flavors. You have options; in fact, you have over 125 different flavored Coke products – Sprite, Canada Dry, Coke Zero, etc. to choose from. Pick a Coca-Cola brand, choose from a myriad of flavors, and taste your new concoction. Oh, and expect your mind to be blown – I haven’t had a bad tasting soda yet.
This is great for Coca-Cola is because it lets the consumer have soda the way they want it.
Coca-Cola already makes over 3500 different beverages. It’s a staggering amount, and instead of packaging and distributing more drinks to more locations, Coke can now let the consumer pick whatever flavor they want with the Freestyle at no added cost. Every machine’s equipped with several dozen flavored syrups, so there’s no need for Coca-Cola to bottle every flavor in bulk, and it still leaves hundreds of varieties of soda to be dispensed at the customer’s fingertips.
These machines could be one of the easiest ways for Coca-Cola to collect consumer information. Each machine is equipped with a touch-screen monitor; you tap your way through menus to reach the flavor you want. Not only does this make for a great experience for the end user, but it’s also an easy way for Coca-Cola to see what flavors and products they’re selling more of in different regions of the country (or world). If a machine runs out of syrup, they’ll know, and if Cherry-Orange Fanta doesn’t sell, they’ll know that, too.
There are a lot of things these machines don’t do for Coca-Cola; they won’t tell Coke what gender’s buying what, how old their customers are, etc. However, the information they’re garnering about what flavors sell best from having these machines is like having their own R&D department in thousands of stores. The rental of these machines is 30% greater than a regular Coke dispenser, making me believe that Coca-Cola’s R&D expenses haven’t even increased that much. It’ll be interesting to see if these machines contribute to Coca-Cola’s new product development!