How IoT is transforming the cold drinks industry

Putting data and proximity marketing to use, to increase sales.

Internet of Things technology is making physical objects smart, connected, and more effective. They can collect, measure and action data, sometimes resulting in direct interaction with consumers. Let’s take a look at how such technology can be applied to refrigeration equipment in the cold drinks industry.

By adding sensors to a cooler, you are provided with data to understand how it is performing commercially, and functioning technically. But IoT technology also opens up new marketing opportunities.

Enter the world of proximity marketing – localized, wireless distribution of promotions, marketing campaigns and advertising – allowing companies to connect with customers and deliver a personalized experience of your brand. Your smart coolers can now engage directly with customers passing by the fridge via their smart phones, tablets and smart watches.

This is all made possible by beacons and beacon functionality within controller chipsets, that send signals to attract attention to a specific location, in this case your cooler.

Adding beacon functionality to a cooler allows you to communicate with the consumer at point-of-sale. The cooler can gather data about a person standing in front of it, and deliver personalized messages to that person directly on their own smart device. A smart cooler should also be able to schedule, activate and report on the interaction with consumers. This opens up a whole new dimension of consumer engagement: converting footfall around your cooler into increased branding and sales opportunities.

And what can these marketing messages be about? Anything from special deals to a reference to the weather; “Hey, it’s going to be 30C today – maybe a good idea to grab a cold drink? I’m right behind you!” But the communication is not limited to text and images – looking forward your coolers can also be turned into interactive and personalized augmented reality games, cameras, and video players.

All of a sudden you are getting the same metrics for a physical world campaign as you would from a digital campaign, making them easier to plan and evaluate.

What about the consumer, and their habitual uses of their smart phone- now, and in the future? To be able to have you cooler connect with the people around it, they need to be open to receiving direct communication from you.

2016 report from Mindshare shows that 62 percent of consumers today are happy to share their data as long as they receive something of value in return.

Data can be attained if a person is already signed up through a participating app or social network, and the service allows you to send targeted messages and promotions.

Beacons have been named among the most important new mobile technologies in helping real-world companies deliver an interactive digital experience to their customers. Proxbook published a report for Q4 2015, indicating that 5.103.500 proximity sensors were deployed globally at the end of 2015. It is estimated that 400 million beacon sensors will be deployed by 2020.

According to data shared during a Boston Retail Partners’ session, 70 percent of companies plan to add beacons over the next five years.

Beacons are becoming a crucial part of bringing a digital experience to the offline world, to drive customer engagement through multiple channels. Making your cooler smart and taking advantage of the growing field of proximity marketing will help increase your cold drink sales and maximise the investment in the cooler itself.

Nexo’s range of controllers features beacon technology to enable proximity marketing, as well as commercial and operational metrics to ensure each cooler sells its optimal number of drinks, at the right temperature. We can advise on the best type of solution for your cooler fleet, that will help you to meet your business goals. Email sales@nexo.com to find out more.

Where is the customer experience? How technology is providing the answer

Successful customer experience has always been at the heart of consumer marketing… it’s the A,B,C of building brands and loyalty.

The delivery of customer experience is now going through a revolution, as strategically important, millennial consumers have a different set of behaviors, values and beliefs. Its not enough to deliver a great single channel consumer experience: in order to succeed you need to deliver a seamless multi-channel, multi-touch point experience, delivered in the way that your target market requires. These facts are changing not just the content of communications but also the delivery mechanism.

A successful experience needs to be simple. Millennial’s don’t have time to break down complex offers. Simple offers and good value are the new engagement DNA, and “what’s in it for me?” needs to be delivered credibly.

Much more savvy consumers also value personalization, and while above the line marketing still has a role to play, we have seen year on year growth in digital spend, meaning we are now targeting the consumer in a more personal way.

The next development is the leveraging of the key that sits in every consumers pocket, their smartphone- meaning we are seeing brands begin to engage with the consumer through technologies such as beacons. In fact, great technologies already exist in the market, but putting together the business model still requires vision and innovation.

Large consumer brands do understand the importance of getting directly to consumers at the Point of Sale with relevant content that resonates with the consumer, seen as a value and not a nuisance. Developing the content is the easy bit in this model; what is most challenging today is successful deployment of campaigns. This not helped by many suppliers offering global brands endlessly different technological solutions.

Facebook recently announced that upon request, they will give a free beacon to every retailer in the U.S.- and advertising avenues for the global social media player have seen incredible growth. This is a smart strategy to sell more advertising to global brands who are embracing social media to reach consumers- and in the case of WeChat or Facebook, it is these business that hold the key to the “new consumer”. Digital marketers ignore at your peril.

Turning the “Internet of Things” into the “Internet of Value”

After all the hype, its time to deliver.

The “Internet of Things” has been trumpeted for a while now, and the promise has been that it will make the world better, quicker and simpler. Whilst these are all great notions, the question we believe everyone should be asking is “how will this add commercial value to my business?”

At Nexo we believe that we have the answer to this question. In fact, we’ve proven so by demonstrating our capability in the field in partnership with the worlds top soft drinks and beer brands.

The Nexo solution captures data from branded fridges deployed by cold drinks brands in retail channels. This data is then transmitted to the cloud, where the Nexo algorithms analyze the data to create insights for sales, operations, service, and marketing. The beauty of these insights is that they are collected in real time, and thanks to the connectivity of the fridge we have more continuous data than anyone has been able to collect before, at a cost effective price.

The beauty of the “Internet of Things” is not simply the opportunity to collect and collate this data, it’s the extra layer of benefits that arise from adding cloud storage and cloud computing power, to enable the next level of analysis and business information. The combination of these has enabled us to design solutions that have not even been thought about before. And the best thing is, this isn’t the future- it’s today.

On the back of our core technologies we now have the ability to develop real time insights, giving our customer the tools to immediately increase sales through action driven insights, de-risking and informing decision making.

It’s an exciting time, and we feel like we’ve only just started exploring the possibilities that deliver increasing value to our customers.