retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Charlotte Observer has an interesting story about Coca-Cola’s Freestyle soda machines, described as “as the ‘Fountain of the Future,’ a touch-screen, Wi-Fi-enabled, tracking-chip-equipped, soda-dispensing gizmo designed by automaker Ferrari. It uses medication-dosing technology to create some 125 Coca-Cola products, many of which, like Orange Coke and Vanilla Sprite Zero, aren't available in bottles anywhere.”

Here’s the interesting part, which many folks may not have known: “Besides giving consumers a dizzying array of drink options, the machines provide restaurateurs and Coca-Cola with an unprecedented level of information. They offer statistics on exactly which drinks are being ordered - and how much, and when. The machines display that information to business owners and transmit it to Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta every day.”

There reportedly are 800 of the Freestyle machines in operation at the present time, in 54 markets, and Coke continues to expand their usage and penetration because, as one executive says, "We're selling a lot more soft drinks."
KC's View:
Knowledge means everything, and for smart retailers and manufacturers, the push is on to learn as much as possible about the people who are buying their products and shopping their stores. In a competitive battle, I’ll almost always put my money on the business entity that knows who its customers are and what they want, and then actively tries to satisfy defined and specific needs, as well as identify unstated desires and meet those as well.