Coca-Cola is availing itself of the growing trend toward Wi-Fi use by smartphone owners with a new strategy to enable wireless connectivity through its branded vending machines.
The Wi-Fi-enabled vending machines are being tested by Coca-Cola and British Telecom in two communities in South Africa. The strategy is the latest example of how Coca-Cola continues to lead the way in mobile marketing by coming up with clever ways to tie its brand to consumers’ love of their smartphones.
The goal of the new vending machine program is to provide free Wi-Fi to nearby students to increase their knowledge through online research as well as to entrepreneurs and small business owners so they can manage some of their business aspects online.
Coca-Cola previously leveraged mobile payments to simplify purchasing a beverage from one of its vending machines.
The Wi-Fi vending machines are located in Umtata and Nelspruit. They are the result of a partnership between Coca-Cola South Africa, bottling partner Coca-Cola Fortune and BT Global Services.
Coca-Cola is installing the coolers while BT is providing design and support, connectivity and Internet access, as well as business training.
Both vending machines are located in popular areas that see a lot of foot traffic so that the local population can combine day-to-day activities with the opportunity to access the Internet.
No purchase is required to access the Wi-Fi.
Both companies hope to extend the project and install Wi-Fi coolers in various parts of South Africa.
A recent report from Adobe revealed that over 50 percent of smartphone browsing and 93 percent of tablet browsing now come from Wi-Fi rather than cellular networks.
The trend toward Wi-Fi is expected to continue as Wi-Fi becomes more widely available and high data prices on mobile networks persist.