Coke's Customer-Loyalty Web Site Scores Big With Consumers

My Coke Rewards tracks visitors' interest in various prize categories, then uses that to keep them involved.

Mary Hayes Weier, Contributor

July 18, 2008

2 Min Read

Coke needed a hit with its customer-loyalty Web site, at www.mycoke, and it got one. "We wanted to reclaim consumer leadership, to really connect with our consumers again," explains Jun Ying, head of Web development at Coke.

Just two years after its launch, the site is one of the most popular consumer packaged-goods sites on the Web. In the third quarter of last year, unique visits to My Coke Rewards jumped to 8.6 million from 66,000 in the same quarter a year earlier, a 13,000% increase, according to a ComScore study. The jump put it in second place behind www.kraftfoods. com, beating out, General Mills' virtual world and game site for kids, and recipe-oriented www.betty Visits to My Coke Rewards have roughly tripled since the ComScore study, with the site attracting some 285,000 visitors a day, says Coke.

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The site uses prizes as the proverbial dangling carrot. Consumers redeem codes on beverage bottles for booty, from magazine subscriptions to beauty products to electronics. Coke partners with many brands--including American Idol and the NCAA--to bring consumers to the site, and also with hundreds of companies on prizes. Coke uses a Fair Isaac service to track what prize areas registered users visit. That intelligence is built back into the site so that when users sign on, the site triggers promotions of redeemable products targeting their interests. Coke has distributed more than 5 million prizes through the site.

Ying and his team put together a software development kit that ad agencies around the world can use to create Coke customer loyalty sites focused on various demographics. There are 40 Coke Web sites in all, ranging from broad-audience sites similar to the original, such as the United Kingdom's Coke Zone, to those targeted at specific users like one for World Cup Soccer fans in Europe. The idea is to bring consumers into the Coke loyalty program from many avenues, including promotions at soccer games and auto races. The development kit ensures consistent standards for common functions, such as the registration process, but Coke looks to the agencies that develop the sites to create the graphics, features, and language support. Coke hosts all the sites from its data centers.

In Europe, Coca-Cola has a record label that signs bands, primarily rock and electronica. Coke also created a Coca-Cola-branded Flash-based music player. Through a relationship with Apple, Coke-labeled records are available at iTunes. The goal is to build a positive impression of Coca-Cola by connecting the brand with a consumer's favorite music, Ying says.

Coke has made a positive impression with its My Coke Rewards site, which will serve it well with Web-savvy consumers going forward.

Photo by Erica Berger

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