Two interesting but somewhat different interactive experiences that I never forget

What makes something unforgettable? For people who enjoy different experiences, like me, everything that makes you engage in a fun way, that makes you feel part of the creation process, that allows you to share that moment with your friends and family and that is simple yet sophisticated, will gain my special attention. And, probably, a place in my memories.

Coca-Cola Freestyle

When I first came to Canada, my husband and I decided, one night, to try a local hamburger fast food restaurant, after walking the whole day exploring Downtown Toronto.

The first thing that captured our attention at the Hero Burger restaurant we got in wasn’t the nice angus-certified burger. Instead, a red curved touch-screen Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, in which was possible to create more than 100 different beverages combinations.

The easy and fun interface were instantly invited us to share photos and videos on our Social Media.

We started to do some research about it still at the restaurant, and found out that there’s also a mobile app that allows you to create and save your favourite combinations to be later synchronized with a machine that will dispense your beverage quickly.

Source: Youtube

Some history: The Coca-Cola Freestyle was created in 2007, after some studies foresaw the decrease numbers in beverage sales at fast food restaurants, due to the dropping interest of clients in getting the same old few options of drinks. The machine was so successful, that it’s now present in more than 10.5K places worldwide, including most of Burger Kings in US and Hero Burgers in Canada.

It was designed by the same studio that designs Ferrari and Maserati cars – which explains the appealing and exclusive visual that immediately catches everybody’s attention and curiosity.

The Analytics running behind it allow Coca-Cola to quickly launch in the market the top-seller combinations and deliver customized promotions; identifying low flavour cartridges to be replenished; and upgrade content and software.

NikeID

I never bought any customized Nike product, but I remember that this was one of the first brands to offer this possibility – and when I first heard of that, my reaction was: “WOW!”. This was so innovative when it was launched, that I can still remember.

NikeID started with some kiosks at apparel stores, in which the clients could combine colours, fabric, style and features to create their own pair of shoes. More recently, Nike also incorporated this feature in their website, making it possible to reach users from locations where there isn’t even a store selling Nike.

The process is very simple: users can start building their product from any starting point, and go through it in the order they prefer, while visualizing the result before ordering it.

nike
Source: Nike website (screenshot taken by me)

nike2
Source: Nike website (screenshot taken by me)

So Why the heck going customizable?

Everybody wants to be different. Everybody likes different things. Therefore, there’s no point in making everybody behave in the same way and buy the same things. With the Internet and Social Media, consumers have discovered they have a voice that must be listened.

They have just found out they want to actively experience the production process of a product by designing it in their own way and expressing their creativity, instead of just buying something that is just there, waiting to be bought – which is boring and tedious.

From the companies’ perspective, the challenge is to transform the old and cheap mass production into a mass customization process that is simple, but still an outstanding experience that customer will want to share. Once they find the best way, however, customers tend to be more loyal and spend more with their brand.

Start-ups are born already with this in mind, which grants them some advantages to face the brutal competition.

While Coca-Cola and Nike did it so well, in my opinion, differentiating themselves within their segments, some other companies are still waking up for this trend.

However, I see some points of improvement in the User Experience for both companies, that if not solved, could result in a good opportunity for other brands to explore and bite some market share.

Your turn

What’s your favourite Interactive customization app, website, machine or whatever and why?

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