Internet-connected vending machines provide instant marketing feedback

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?

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Tim Fuell only joined the Webfusion team last year but having been a customer of the group for more than 10 years, he knew all about their success in the Web hosting field. After writing his Masters thesis on the threat of cybersquatting way back in 1998, he has seen the Internet grow beyond even his wildest dreams. A journalist for over 16 years and a qualified Solicitor, Tim is one of a team of bloggers in the Webfusion stable aiming to educate, inform and assist their online readership.