Last fall I reviewed the Coke Freestyle app for Android. At the time, I really liked the promise of the ability to store my favorite recipes (Cherry Dr. Coke anyone?) and instantly get my beverage. Well, “instantly” is what seems to be most lacking after several months of trials. Here are my biggest beefs:
First, you have to register the app. But the app itself doesn’t stay logged in, meaning you must either remember to log in prior to approaching the machine or force those behind you to wait while you key in your email and password.
Second, there’s a little bit of lag between the scanning of the barcode and the display of your choices on the screen. For someone with a simple recipe (and the app doesn’t allow anything more complicated than three different items anyway) it seems faster to just punch your selections. I guess the savings is on the actual dispensing side. Rather than filling one beverage first, then selecting the second and dispensing that, you get it all mixed in one pour. Granted. But the time difference seems small.
Third, and this one is tricky, not every Freestyle machine has the same beverages. For instance, some machines have Dr. Pepper and others have Mr. Pibb. So you have to create variants of your favorite mix in advance. I learned this the hard way, seeing my choice come up as unavailable (grayed out) and taking a beat or two to realize why.
Fourth, the app itself suffers from too much marketing control. Of course I knew I was signing up to be marketed to, but the app liked to send me alerts and notifications at random times, often nowhere near a machine. I don’t need to be home watching TV and get ping’d on a new freestyle beverage recipe. Attention Coke Marketing, your offers need to be targeted and context-relevant. At a minimum, they should only appear when I am in range of a machine. I disabled app notifications via Android and that solved the problem temporarily but somehow missed an update, resulting in an app that tried to update itself when I was at the restaurant. All I wanted was my drink!