I saw a piece on CNBC the other day about the new Coca-Cola Freestyle soda fountain. It uses a touch screen and inkjet printer cartridge technology to bring a soda fountain that delivers 106 soda flavor choices to a restaurant near you.
I know this sounds extremely spoiled, but each time I go to a place with a soda fountain with only 10 or 12 choices, I find myself wishing there were more because none of the available choices are that appealing. (I also wish it dispensed beer).
The Freestyle communicates it’s daily “pour” statistics to Coca-Cola HQ so they can track which flavors are selling.
Offering 106 flavors in the space of a typical soda fountain is an awesome value proposition (though I am disappointed that I don’t see a cranberry flavor on the offerings – man I’m hard to please). The Coke spokesman said that in many locations they find that each flavor is poured at least once each day, so I’m not the only one pining for more choices at the standard fountainhead. Offering an order of magnitude more choices is good as evidenced by this usage stat.
This also enables Coke to let the customers experiment with and test market flavors. Coke can’t stock 106 flavors in the supermarket. There’s not enough space. But, they can track results from the Freestyle to see if there are any hot selling or hot trending flavors that might outsell some of the flavors they do stock. And they can do this geographically.
Nice job Coke.