- Coca-Cola has partnered with startup Cargo to offer beverages to smartphone users who hail rides from services like Uber and Lyft, according to a press release shared with Mobile Marketer. As part of the partnership, Cargo expanded its service to Coke's hometown of Atlanta. Kellogg's RxBars are also now featured in the boxes.
- Passengers can order items like smartwater, Sour Patch Kids and phone chargers from Cargo's website on their mobile phone. After entering the driver's unique box code, passengers can select a product and pay with a credit card or digital wallet.
- Cargo's inventory system tracks all drivers' orders and automatically ships products directly to their homes to replenish their in-car boxes. Cargo's product selection includes hangover cures, Korean face masks and protein bars, per the release. The service also is available in New York, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Cargo adds Coca-Cola to a growing list of big brands hoping to drive trial of their products by making it easy for ride-hailing passengers to buy a product during their trip. Others that have partnered with Cargo include Red Bull, several Kellogg brands and Mars brands.
Distributing products via Cargo could help legacy brands get in front of a new generation of savvy mobile users who are growing to expect on-demand products and services. Throughout its history, Coca-Cola has adapted to new ways to reach customers by distributing its product through soda fountains, bottles and vending machines. As more consumers forgo trips to brick-and-mortar stores while ordering more on-demand transportation services from ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft, Cargo's plastic boxes inside cars offer a new distribution channel.
Cargo aims to help marketers reach a captive audience of passengers while helping drivers who want to supplement their income. Cargo now claims that participating drivers can earn as much as $500 a month from referrals, performance bonuses and commissions from selling drinks, snacks and phone chargers to passengers during their rides. Last summer, the company estimated drivers could earn between $1,500 and $3,000 a year in tips and review-based bonuses by selling products or distributing free items.
Cargo has access to Uber's API, enabling passengers to use a smartphone browser to buy from a curated mix of snacks, gum, electronics, cosmetics and personal care items while in transit. Cargo was founded by people who used to work at Birchbox, the online monthly subscription service that sends customers a box of four to five samples of makeup and beauty products. That means they are familiar with the idea of getting samples of products from major brands that seek to reach new audiences in innovative ways.