Coca-Cola Embeds Freestyle Pour Tech Into Smartphones

Freestyle machines will display a QR code enabling smartphone drink ordering.

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Need to Know

  • Coca-Cola has partnered with Amazon Web Services to bring contactless drink-ordering tech to smartphones.
  • Users will be able to make contactless drink orders on Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machines by scanning a QR code.
  • The function will be available on all Freestyle machines by the end of 2020.

Analysis

Coca-Cola has partnered with Amazon to make ordering soft drinks a contact-free experience, rolling out new technology that will allow users to order at Freestyle machines using their phones.

Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machines allow people to customize Coca-Cola’s various drink offerings: beverages can be combined, or have flavors added to them. With Amazon Web Services, Coca-Cola is rolling out a new function that will allow users to order and customize their drinks by scanning a QR code, displayed on a Freestyle machine, on their phone. The buttons displayed on the machine will then be displayed on their phone screen, allowing users the same type of drinks customization, but in a contactless capacity.

“We’re investing a lot of time to understand how consumer behaviors are evolving throughout the pandemic and making sure our tech strategy matches those and future behaviors,” said Thomas Stubbs, VP of engineering and innovation for Coca-Cola Freestyle. “Our foodservice and entertainment partners are working tirelessly to create and maintain a safe environment for their guests. And while all Coca-Cola beverage dispensers are safe with recommended care and cleaning, we acted quickly when the pandemic hit to reimagine the future of the Freestyle machine and get ahead of shifting consumer needs.”

Coca-Cola first announced the development of QR code-enabled ordering for its Freestyle machines, at the time calling it “mobile pour”, in June of this year. The contactless functionality is currently available on more than 30,000 Freestyle machines, and was developed by AWS just 100 days after the initial idea; pilot versions of the contactless ordering system were launched at select Wendy’s Firehouse Subs, and Five Guys locations six weeks after initial development. Coca-Cola and AWS plan to roll out contactless ordering to all 52,000 Freestyle machines across the US by the end of 2020.

Coca-Cola has been rolling out new digital initiatives throughout 2020, starting in January, when the company—along with McDonald’s—became the first to use Snapchat’s “Snapchat Scan” augmented-reality tool. In May, the company announced it would be presenting a virtual concert series, Coke Studio Sessions, in partnership with the #BeApp music streaming platform. Performers have thus far included Diplo, Kaskade, DJ Khaled, Katy Perry, Miguel, Steve Aoki, and the cast of the musical Hamilton.

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