Coca-Cola enters subscription business, pilot tests 6-month trial

The Coca-Cola Company has unveiled a subscription service called "Coca-Cola Insiders Club", inspired by the growth of the eCommerce subscription market. According to the beverage giant, the eCommerce subscription market has more than doubled annually over the last five years based on the popularity of meal kits and curated collections of everything from razors to pet supplies to makeup.

The Coca-Cola North America team will be pilot-testing this program as a proof point of the company’s entrepreneurial, test-and-learn culture. The team will monitor sales, feedback and social media buzz and plan on expanding beyond the six-month trial. Through the subscription service, a limited number of fans will also be able to taste some of Coca-Cola's 20 new drinks launching in early 2020.

Subscribers are now able to sign up for a monthly shipment of three category-spanning beverages – from AHA flavored sparkling water to Coke Energy, among others. According to Coca-Cola, the initial inventory of 1,000 memberships sold out in three hours, but has created a waiting list for fans to be notified when more subscription spots open up.

Alex Powell, digital experiences manager, Coca-Cola North America said the rate at which spots were taken up, it shows how passionate consumers are about Coca-Cola's brands and innovations. He added that this proves there is an opportunity to scale the concept and allow more people to participate.

According to Powell, the subscription service was promoted across Coca-Cola's social and digital platforms, allowing users to learn more. “The response exceeded expectations, opening our eyes to an opportunity to reach true Coke loyalists not only with more information and content – but with a chance to get their hands on new products before they hit shelves,” he said.

Meanwhile, McCrea O’Haire, digital experiences manager, Coca-Cola North America said as a total beverage company, Coca-Cola is constantly looking for ways to innovate not only in its products but also in the consumer-centric experiences it offers. “People want choice, convenience and customisation. The Insiders Club will allow us to showcase the diversity of the drinks we offer and get some of our newest innovations into the hands of fans who want to be among the first to enjoy them,” he added.

Coca-Cola is the not the only brand to venture into the subscription space. In August this year, Nike launched its first subscription shoe service for children, Nike Adventure Club, which allows them to regularly select Nike and Converse shoes for the right fit as their feet and tastes evolve. The company noted that the experience of shoe-shopping for young children can be “deceptively complex” as they encounter growth spurts and many children are unable to articulate the shoe size or design they want. According to multiple media reports quoting GM of Nike Adventure Club, Dave Cobban, Nike has been working on this subscription service for two years.

Most recently, the Coca-Cola Company appointed Manuel “Manolo” Arroyo as its new chief marketing officer, two years after dropping the role from the company. Arroyo will helm the CMO role in addition to continuing serving as president of the company’s Asia Pacific group. The alignment of integrated global marketing under Arroyo will more closely integrate marketing within operations. Arroyo will continue to lead the Asia Pacific group, reporting to president and chief operating officer Brian Smith. In addition, Arroyo will report directly to James Quincey, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, as part of his new marketing duties.