Coca-Cola unveiled a new e-commerce strategy by bringing back their citrus-flavored soda Surge. A direct competitor to Mountain Dew, Surge began selling in 1996 and was discontinued in 2002.
The soda was only available through Amazon.com and sold out within the hour. Coca-Cola plans on continuing to have a steady supply of Surge for their customers, but the demand outstripped their inventory. Small amounts have become available and quickly sell out. Once the initial demand slackens, standard inventory levels should be able to be maintained.
Much of the success of the return of the soda can be attributed to the fans who have led a massive campaign to bring back Surge. The Surge Movement on Facebook has been singled out by Coca-Cola as a primary reason for the return. This page has almost 150,000 likes.
Facebook and social media has become a popular way for companies to test the market and launch their products-something that is getting easier and easier these days. For little cost and little knowledge, a business owner can pull a theme for an e-commerce platform like Magento, from a website like Finestshops, and be up and running selling online in days.
“Today marks an important day in The Coca-Cola Company’s history, because we have so many firsts to celebrate: first re-introduction of a brand that has been discontinued and revived due to popular demand, first launch to rely solely on social and digital media, and first re-introduction of a brand via e-commerce,” Wendy Clark, spokesman for Coca-Cola, said in a statement.
Bringing Surge back was an experiment on Coca-Cola’s part and they are trying out a number of unique marketing ideas for the re-launch. In addition to only being able to get it through Amazon, Coca-Cola has not used traditional marketing to popularize the release. Limited marketing has been used for direct response ads on Facebook, Amazon and Twitter.
“Previously, a smaller brand would never have had a realistic shot at commercialization. Now with Amazon, consumers can order a product like Surge and have it delivered directly to their doorstep. It’s the democratization of demand,” stated Racquel Mason, an associate VP with Coca-Cola, on the corporate blog.
Online food sales have lagged behind other categories of e-commerce, but if the experiments in the popularity of Surge work out for Coca-Cola, you can expect other food and beverage companies to begin paying more attention to the internet market.