Malibu is using the Internet of Things to “alleviate customer experiences” in bars and clubs by banishing queues and delivering customers’ drinks directly to them.
The ‘Coco-nect’ cups send signals to bar staff every time a fresh drink is required. To place their order, customers need to twist the base of the coconut-shaped cup. They can then carry on talking, drinking or dancing while their drink is prepared and delivered straight to them.
Twisting the cup’s base sends an order to the bar at the same time as pinpointing the user’s location. Once the order has been accepted a light on the bottom of the vessel changes colour to let the partygoer know their drink will soon be delivered to them, while a special app helps bar staff find the customer. Once near, the vessel light starts flashing to identify the right recipient.
Making use of existing WiFi and RFID technology, Malibu claims the cup is a drinks industry first. The brand is looking to roll out the technology next summer at a small event, before potentially it rolling out “on a mass scale” at certain festivals and events.
The cup was developed in just 12 weeks by the Malibu brand team at The Absolut Company, working with internet-of-things agency SharpEnd.
Deborah Nuñez, global brand manager at The Absolut Company, told Marketing Week that the Internet of Things is playing an increasingly important role in consumers’ lives, and that brands can be present in this space.
She explained: “[The technology] is something we need to start playing with in the right way, with the consumer benefit at its core. It’s still in the early stages, and some of our innovations will resonate more than others.”
“It’s exciting, and we can be at leading edge of these technologies as that’s where our consumers are.”
Deborah Nuñez, global brand manager at The Absolut Company
Rooting innovation in customer needs
This is not the first time Malibu has tested the Internet of Things. In August this year the alcohol brand used the technology to turn its bottles into “digital touchpoints”.
The brand implemented the same technology used for contactless payments to create 40,000 ‘connected’ bottles, allowing users with Android phones and the latest iPhone 6/6s to access exclusive content, including prize draws, drinks recipes and playlists, as well as a bar locator.
Nunez said the connected bottle trial is ongoing, but that initial results show that customers are “really receptive” to the technology. She also admitted, however, that consumers aren’t fully accustomed to the behaviour that sits alongside its connected bottles.
“It’s an interaction that isn’t natural yet; it’s not part of natural behaviour of how people explore our products, but there’s definitely big potential,” she explained.
“We need to make sure that any innovation is rooted in consumer need and has to be focused around the consumer experience. Once you have that, you can quite confidently introduce new norms to consumer and see how it goes.”