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Coca-Cola looks to pop in the digital age

At the Groceryshop conference in Las Vegas, Coke’s Brian Sappington discussed the beverage maker’s online strategies

There's no denying consumers are looking for seamless experiences from grocery retailers across multiple channels from online to in store and mobile. Consumer packaged goods companies are faced with the same hurdles as they seek ways to reshape their brands in the digital age.

Coca-Cola is working to navigate these waters by connecting its physical product to the digital world. "It's really around how expectations are changing and adjusting" to meet those expectations, Coca-Cola's chief digital integration officer Brian Sappington, told attendees of this year's Groceryshop conference and trade show in Las Vegas.

One way Coca-Cola is digitizing its soft drink and water brands is through its Sip N Scan platform, which lets consumers scan product codes on their mobile phones to access personalized, real-time content, rewards and more. "It's a really simple way for us to connect with consumers," said Sappington. "So we can gratify consumers and they see a reflection of themselves."

But, embracing digital is about more than a campaign. It's a mindset that needs to be engrained into the corporate culture and across all aspects of the business--consumer engagement, customer management and internal processes. "If your culture isn't right and the people don't believe in the mission it's really hard to get anything done," he said.

Coca-Cola North America created a division to integrate digital not only across brands but also in ways that benefit its grocery retail and foodservice partners. The company, for instance, knows  59% of click-and-collect shoppers still go inside the store and 36% go inside for a cold beverage or a snack, said Sappington, who sees this as a huge opportunity to upsell.









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