Digital Technology Drives Coca-Cola Refreshment’s Vending Innovation

Coca-Cola strives to lead technology innovation in the vending channel. They strive for continual improvements and the ability to leverage technological advances to improve efficiencies and drive customer profit.

Dan Avenick, Coca-Cola Refreshment’s director of vending strategy, said, “Enabling technologies and trends in consumer behavior, especially the widespread adoption of smartphones, are converging to create a sweet spot of opportunity for Coca-Cola to reinvent vending as the most engaging immediate consumption experience available.”

Intelligent vending machines: Machines connected to the internet can now report sales, inventory, and service issues in real-time -- drastically improving service levels at substantially reduced operating costs

Cashless gateway: Today, only a small percentage of vending machines take credit or debit cards, which frustrates consumers who don’t carry cash and results in lost sales. Many of today’s consumers are accustomed to paying for everything with plastic, even small-dollar purchases.

Mobile wallets: Mobile is the future, and consumers increasingly expect an enhanced and mobile-enabled vending experience. Coca-Cola is on the forefront of this new technology through its relationship with Google Wallet. With a downloadable app, consumers are tapping smart phones against vending machines’ readers to pay and get the beverages they want -- in one swipe. Google Wallet is currently available for download on selected Sprint smart phones nationwide and already works with the majority of the cashless devices.

Loyalty program convenience: Soon, redeeming My Coke Rewards points will be faster and more convenient. Thousands of “loyalty-equipped” vending machines will allow people to use their My Coke Rewards cards to earn points and redeem points for free drinks. This program will be finalized during an Atlanta-based pilot this spring.

Coca-Cola Interactive Venders (CCIV): The “show car” of Coca-Cola vending machines displays custom content — such as videos, games and TV commercials — on a 46-inch touch screen. CCIVs are typically placed in high traffic sites at colleges, malls, airports and amusement parks. The machines create an immediate connection with teens.

Avenick said, “We’re shifting from today’s low-tech vending machines that are only capable of completing a cash transaction to new technology-equipped “unattended retail” outlets that create a much more exciting consumer experience. These machines accept several forms of payment, deliver customized messages and offers, and remain in-stock and fully-operational due to real-time data transmission and management. CCR is driving innovation in the industry and differentiating Coca-Cola vending to both delight our consumers and generate profitable growth for our company.”