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NFC Promotion Boosts Pepsi's Midwest Sales

Rehrig Pacific intends to launch a second promotion, following an initial pilot program that enabled shoppers with NFC phones to tap a tag on the plastic trays on which soda bottles are displayed to access a hockey-game discount and Pepsi promotional info.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 11, 2014

Having completed a Near Field Communication (NFC) technology pilot as part of a product promotion for PepsiCo, logistics company Rehrig Pacific has launched a second project this month at the Mall of America, located in Minneapolis. During the Mall of America installation, participants can tap their smartphones against NFC tags at Pepsi product displays in order to access promotional and discount information from Pepsi, mall stores and next week's Major League Baseball All-Star Game. (Pepsi is a sponsor of Mall of America and the All-Star Game.)

The pilot, which took place at numerous stores during the first quarter of 2014, was intended to determine whether consumers would use their cell phones to access coupons and peruse promotional information about Pepsi products. Rehrig Pacific also aimed to learn whether the project resulted in a subsequent sales boost for those products. Based on that pilot's results, Rehrig Pacific found that sales increased by 1 to 2 percent. That success, the company reports, is leading the logistics firm to launch a second Pepsi project at the Mall of America.

Shoppers who tapped their NFC-enabled phones on a plastic Pepsi display tray received a $5 discount coupon for the 2014 National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Frozen Faceoff tournament.
The pilot and the Mall of America installation represent the beginning of Rehrig Pacific's foray into mobile-based promotions. "Our goal in all we do is to move and merchandize the world's best brands," says Kaley Parkinson, Rehrig Pacific's national sales manager for technology services. The use of NFC technology in the company's reusable transport items to bring data to consumers, he says, "is a logical extension of that mindset."

The pilot was designed to test Rehrig Pacific's new mobile-engagement solution that consists of NFC tags—as well as QR code technology—on the reusable plastic trays (known as "floats") on which two-liter bottles of Pepsi soda are transported and then displayed in stores. Rehrig Pacific also hosted a server on which shoppers could access a $5 discount coupon for tickets to the 2014 National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Frozen Faceoff tournament, as well as view promotional information about Pepsi and its products.

Rehrig Pacific often uses technology to better manage the flow of products from the point of manufacture to retailers, Parkinson says, along with providing such reusable transport items as plastic pallets, floats and containers. "Through the marriage of our traditional product with technology, we bridge the gap from getting products from point A to point B, to helping drive the sales of those products themselves," he states. "We cut supply chain costs, and we help to increase revenues at the same time."

During the past 18 months, the company has been researching, developing and testing a mobile-engagement solution that would allow product manufacturers and retailers to boost sales by providing promotional content directly to consumers at the store, Parkinson says. The Pepsi Bottling plant in Burnsville, Minn., agreed to test the technology in a regional promotion by replacing 200,000 of its plastic floats with NFC-enabled versions that also come with a QR code label.

Rehrig Pacific is the sole provider of the floats for all Pepsi Bottling products. Altogether, Pepsi has four million such floats throughout the United States, each of which can hold eight two-liter bottles of Pepsi products.

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