Coca-Cola Makes Push to Increase Digital Impulse Buys

Grocery stores and restaurants aren’t the only ones embracing online ordering, Coca-Cola has launched an e-commerce initiative to make it easier for their customers to enjoy their beverages. 

Coca-cola products

“A big piece of the business is going online, whether that is brick and mortar or whether it’s pure players like Amazon, so not being online means your brands are not being as relevant,” said John Carroll, general manager and vice president of e-commerce for Coca-Cola North America, to “Food Dive.” "We’re following the consumer and where they’re going."

Online orders only account for 2% of grocery sales, according to Kantar Retail. But with Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods and more grocery chains partnering with Instacart, this number is bound to spike. 

Because of a large percentage of Coca-Cola’s sales are from impulse buys, the brand is experimenting with ways to promote these actions digitally like by offering its beverages as pairings with meal kits and as a last-minute add-ons to voice-ordering systems. 

“And when a consumer uses a storage locker, the individual can be asked if he wants to buy a drink to go along with the purchase as he gets closer to picking up the order. The beverage can be added within two minutes,” writes “Food Dive.” 

Although the company is seeing some growth in the direct to consumer market, the company will remain focused on customer platforms.

"We’ve tried a few experiments and going direct to consumer, whether that’d be in developed countries or in places like China," said James Quincey, Coca-Cola’s CEO, to investors. "In the end, I think the ... large majority is going to go through the customer platforms and we are going to create value with them that way." 

So far, investors are optimistic about the digitally-focused campaign. 

"We were impressed with (Coca-Cola's) increasing focus on positioning itself for the future through digital platforms and engagement," said Bonnie Herzog, an analyst at Wells Fargo that upgraded the company’s stock this month. 

Besides investing in digital campaigns, Coca-cola is investing in craft soda, along with introducing two new fruity sodas to its expansive portfolio.

Do you think Coke’s e-commerce initiative will be a success? Is it just what the company needs as health-conscious consumers steer away from sugary beverages? 

Read more from “Food Dive.”