A few months ago, my three year old cousin was over, and he was dissatisfied that I was watching the news on TV. He walked up to my 50″ plasma and started swiping his hand against the screen to change the channel something else. When nothing happened, he looked back at me, shrugged his shoulders, and says, “It’s broken.” I informed him that it was supposed to be that way and explained that the TV wasn’t an iPad. He shook his head and walked away. The TV was the problem, not him.
This moment made me really happy. I’m a huge fan of technology. I love progress. Innovation. Things getting better. The next generation is already tired of something I thought was amazing just a few short years ago. I’m looking forward to gesture-controlled TVs and other devices. My grandfather can navigate an iPad as easily as my cousin, and that tells me everything I need to know about where technology is going. Apple hit the nail on the head. Pepsi is trying to take it a step further.
This is Pepsi’s new social media vending machine. The huge touch screen on the front of the vending machine allows you to buy drinks for friends, or use their “Random Acts of Refreshment” feature to buy a drink for a total stranger. You can even send a video message right form the vending machine.
Not sold yet? There are important benefits for the owners of the machines too. They can monitor inventory levels and schedule deliveries remotely. That means no more unnecessary trip to the machine if it hasn’t sold enough drinks, and knowing it needs to replenshed right away when it does. More efficiency, more revenue, less work.
From the press release:
“Our vision is to use innovative technology to empower consumers and create new ways for them to engage with our brands, their social networks and each other at the point of purchase,” said Mikel Durham, Chief Innovation Officer at PepsiCo Foodservice. “Social Vending extends our consumers’ social networks beyond the confines of their own devices and transforms a static, transaction-oriented experience into something fun and exciting they’ll want to return to, again and again.”
Social Vending also enables “Random Acts of Refreshment” – the ability to buy a drink for a complete stranger through any other Social Vending system. For example, a consumer could send a symbol of encouragement someone in a city that has experienced challenging weather, or a congratulatory beverage to a student at a university that just won a championship. The platform holds potential to extend PepsiCo’s digital and social programs for its food and beverage brands.
Am I going to use this the second I see one? Absolutely. If this is a success, expect to buy everything this way really soon. I suspect Coke will be announcing their machine in 10…9…8…7….