At first glance, coffee has little to do with the Internet of Things. In fact, IoT technologies are opening up entirely new possibilities in this area as well, as the example of Costa Express shows. The international supplier of smart self-serve coffee machines has succeeded in taking coffee to go to a new level: Smart Coffee – thanks to a unique combination of premium coffee, individual customer experience and the latest IoT technology powered by Device Insight. In our new case study, we show how the Costa Express IoT solution not only enables an innovative business model, but also provides the basis for smart vending features, transparent condition monitoring and alarming.
Costa Express has set itself the goal of offering premium barista coffee – for which Costa Coffee and its approximately 3,400 coffee stores worldwide are known – in the same first-class quality also via high-end coffee machines, in locations including petrol stations, shopping centers or airports. This vending concept is able to provide customers with a variety of 250 coffee-to-go combinations of freshly ground Italian coffee beans, selectable via touch screen or app.
The technological prerequisite for this was the integration of a flexible and scalable IoT solution provided by Device Insight. Thanks to this, not only can all 11,000 coffee machines be networked worldwide, but machine and sales data can also be made transparently accessible, enabling intelligent condition monitoring and alarming. At the same time, the networking of its premium coffee machines based on the Internet of Things offers Costa Express a wide range of additional business potential, such as the possibility of integrated marketing campaigns via machine display and new digital services.
The Costa Express IoT solution provides the basis for the smart vending business model and acts as a central control element and link. The platform enables an exchange with third-party systems, above all the recording and forwarding of machine sales data. How many drinks of what kind, in what size were sold per day or hour is recorded in conclusive reports.
An essential prerequisite for the success of Costa Express‘ business model is intelligent condition monitoring and alarming via the IoT solution. Using the IoT platform developed by Device Insight, the status and use of all coffee machines can be viewed and managed centrally. Based on an elaborate alarm system the mobile coffee bars report problems directly within the platform, making diagnosis and problem solving quick and easy.
The central IoT solution also makes the commissioning of new coffee machines much more efficient. Depending on the installation location, Costa Express determines the appropriate machine parameters in adavance, such as the available languages and desired price configurations. An installation partner only has to connect the Costa Express coffee bars on site, guided by a step-by-step setup process.
Moreover, the IoT solution provides the basis for numerous marketing opportunities and digital customer services. For example, customer and discount promotions as well as new coffee creations can be communicated and marketed in an integrated manner via the displays of the coffee machines. In addition, customers can also collect loyalty points based on the IoT solution when making a purchase at the coffee vending machine or via app. In this way, Costa Express is also building up a regular customer base via smart vending and securing long-term market share.
The latest feature integrated into the solution is the possibility of contactless ordering. Customers can enter their orders via the app instead of via the display of the coffee machine. Touching the display itself is no longer necessary. This function aims to prevent transmission of the virus via the touchscreen in times of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Costa Express solution impressively demonstrates how an IoT solution can create multiple benefits for a company and its customers. Thanks to the IoT solution, Costa Express was able to reduce the costs for service and maintenance as well as the downtime of the coffee machines to a minimum. At the same time, the company has full transparency over the condition and operation of its mobile coffee bars worldwide and can thus ensure consistently high coffee quality.
In addition, the IoT solution enables rapid scaling of the Costa Express business model while offering many marketing opportunities and digital customer services that can generate new revenues and secure long-term market share. Finally, with the help of the solution, Costa Express creates proximity to the customer and opportunities for interaction – despite selling via vending machines. The knowledge that Costa Express gains about customers’ buying behavior and preferences can thus flow directly into product development and marketing.
In the free case study, you will gain concrete insights into the technological implementation and key components of the Costa Express Smart Coffee solution.