Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) has boosted beverage sales after trialling interactive vending machines developed by Microsoft and TKM9.
The beverage manufacturer, which operates in the Australia and Asia-Pacific region, deployed 50 digital beverage vending machines with interactive digital signage to provide immersive content experiences for customers. During the trial period, CCA’s digital coolers recorded a 12% increase in sales, compared to the sales generated by standard coolers. One digital cooler, which was located in the off-premise licensed channel and displayed a beverage discount offer, recorded a 120% increase in sales in a single month.
Equipping existing beverage coolers with Windows Embedded-powered touch screens and Kinect for Windows technology, TKM9’s solution capitalises on the internet of things to connect with the consumers’ personal devices and provide them with an interactive multimedia and social-media experience via games, contests and Facebook posts. The solution also uses multiple data streams – including geo-location and facial recognition technology, social media input and weather services – to personalise the flow of content to individual customers in real time at the POS.
“When interacting with the coolers using touch, gestures, augmented reality and their own mobile phones, customers are provided with content and experiences that have already been shown to boost sales and brand loyalty,” said Mark Hodgens, CEO of TKM9. “After snapping a photo with the cooler’s integrated webcam, for example, customers can use an app on the machine to alter their appearances with different hairstyles and outfits, set it to music, and then log into Facebook to share.”
In addition, the coolers are linked to an analytics application, which runs in the cloud via the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. This means CCA can collect and analyse sales data and information about customer interactions, enabling it to continually refine the customer experience. CCA and TKM9 can also update the coolers globally to integrate new data sources or adjust the screens to serve varying customer needs at different venues.
“These interactive coolers based on Microsoft technology are a great way to represent your brand right at the point of purchase,” said Stuart Port, manager of Frozen Beverages Strategy at CCA. “If it engages people enough that they reach in and buy that Coke, it helps increase sales. Customers at a mall or theatre will interact with the machines very differently than customers at a quick-stop shop such as a petrol station. So we’re able to customise the content based on what a particular set of customers actually wants.”
TKM9’s content management software, called im, was developed using Microsoft Visual Studio and is supported by the Microsoft Azure platform, including Azure Cloud Services, Azure Mobile Services and Azure SQL Database.
“The ability of Microsoft technologies to integrate across all points of the solution was a major consideration in making the move,” said Hodgens. “To take the coolers to market, it’s important that we have an end-to-end technology stack that extends from the hardware to the software and right up into the cloud and back again. Microsoft provides that.”
TKM9 aims to evolve this technology and offer new capabilities in the future. Hodgens said: “Through the geo-location software on mobile phones, for example, im can track the route customers take through a store or shopping center to reach the cooler, and use the information to create heat maps that optimise cooler placement and the display of other store products.”
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