Getting Vertical - Retail

Coke Taps into Personalization Trend with Freestyle Beverage Platform

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  August 17, 2010

Coca-Cola is tapping into the hot trends of self-service and personalization with a new product and brand it calls Coca-Cola Freestyle. Freestyle is a proprietary, self-service fountain dispenser entering market testing this summer.

According to the company, the touch-screen operated fountains, which have been in development for nearly four years, will be able to dispense more than 100 brands, including different varieties of waters, juices, teas and sparkling beverages that have never been sold in the United States. A report in The Wall Street Journal also says that customers will be able to create their own drinks using Freestyle.

"Coca-Cola Freestyle brings to life the refreshingly positive outlook that has always been associated with Coca-Cola," says Chandra Stephens-Albright, senior director of marketing and business development for the brand. "It brings back the magic of the fountain of the past, re-imagines it for the future and then takes it a step farther by celebrating the idea that consumers can truly have their say at fountain -- with choices tailored completely for them."

Pilots are planned for select quick-serve restaurants in Orange (News - Alert) County, Calif., and Atlanta this summer. A wider introduction is expected early next year.

Personalization came back into vogue when, with the spread of the World Wide Web and e-commerce, companies such as (News - Alert) opened our eyes to what a personalized shopping experience could be like.

Of course, this idea of personalization is not really new, but rather a back-to-the-future-type concept. In the days before malls and big box stores, shops would cater to the individual needs of customers. Amazon brought that back by remembering our past purchases and offering suggestions on what we might try next.

Now Coca-Cola is taking this trend in a new direction by allowing customers a personal touch related to our beverage choices.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi