Coca-Cola Seeks to Increase Use of Mobile Phones for Payments and Rewards at Vending Machines
The soft drink giant, which is participating in the trial of the Isis Mobile Wallet and earlier helped promote the launch of Google Wallet, predicts mobile payment will account for 5% to 10% of transactions at the company’s U.S. vending machines by 2017, and that figure will increase to 10% to 20% by 2020, said consultant Rick Kanemasu, who heads Coca-Cola’s vending technology strategy.
Mobile payment will “grow slowly over time,” he predicted.
Kanemasu, speaking in a Webinar last week with a representative from Isis, said credit card payment at vending machines would also likely grow, at least through 2017, when it could make up to 30% of transactions, up from 20% at present. But by 2020, it might account for only 25% of transactions or less, as mobile takes up a larger share. Cash transactions would still make up 50% to 60% of transactions in 2020, down from 80% today, he said.
Coca-Cola has said it would expand its acceptance of cards to tens of thousands of more vending machines in the U.S. this year, which are also expected to accept contactless payment. At present, about 15% of Coca-Cola’s machines accept cards and about half of these also accept contactless payment. The company is believed to have hundreds of thousands of machines rolled out in the U.S.
For the Isis trial, Coca-Cola has installed advanced payment features on 200 vending machines deployed in Austin, Texas. The machines are equipped to handle payment along with the beverage company’s My Coke Rewards program.
Kanemasu spoke in the Webinar with Jim Stapleton, chief sales officer for the Isis joint venture, though neither released figures on actual use of the Isis Mobile Wallet at the vending machines. But Kanemasu did say that 34% of the Isis users in Austin added the My Coke Rewards loyalty card to their Isis wallets, and “most of those people are new My Coke Rewards members.” The Isis trial, which is also being held in Salt Lake City, Utah, launched in late October.
The 200 Coke vending machines in Austin are located in malls, on college campuses, in workplaces and at retail stores of Verizon Wireless. Verizon owns the Isis joint venture along with AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA.
Each of the 200 machines is equipped to accept conventional payment cards and contactless payment from cards and phones, supporting applications from Visa, MasterCard Worldwide, American Express and Discover Financial Services. A 4-inch touchscreen on the front of each vending machine plays a 30-second commercial promoting the rewards program, and customers use the screen to select drinks and redeem reward points.
Isis users store their My Coke Rewards loyalty card in the Isis wallet. New My Coke Rewards members can register for the program via Isis and when they do, they receive enough reward points for a free 20-ounce (567-gram) bottled drink.
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