OK, it helps if your product is something that lends itself readily to the vending machine concept, but Coca-Cola is investing in a new range of machines that it expects will transform its business by offering instant marketing feedback and trends, and there may be something for every industry to learn.
The Freestyle drinks machine offers up to 125 different drinks after customer feedback suggested there was big demand for choice. The flavour syrups are added by the machine direct into the liquids then into the cup, with the customer at the helm of a set of controls that has seen some choosing to mix bizarre concoctions
The biggest benefit is that at every touch of the button Coca-Cola are logging the way customers are thinking and by following trends can better plan future flavours, products etc. It also serves as a perfect way for Coke to test out new flavour ideas literally in the market.
The Freestyle machines are connected via the internet and each button-press helps craft the brand for the future. It has been a success in the US where restaurant customers have even fed back that they enjoy serving their own drinks using the machine over waitress service – appealing to the gamification generation. Roll-out into the UK is planned for 2012 and we can’t wait.
Have you tried a Freestyle machine? Could this on-the-job instant feedback be adopted by other industries?