Coca-Cola North America has upgraded its customer center in Atlanta to make better use of technologies such as virtual reality. The newly-renovated and renamed KOlab 600 is linked to existing space where sales teams collaborate with retailers and restaurant operators. BD got a look at the center during a Jan. 3 ribbon cutting by CCNA President Jim Dinkins. The lab is designed to share consumer insights, provide digital expertise and showcase Coke’s innovation. The center features a “digital immersion” room with a VR wall that can replicate customer store sets and preview retail displays. VR headsets will be added in the second quarter to deepen the experience. Another area will enable Coke to demonstrate “Coke with meals” activations for restaurant customers. Coke operates similar labs in Shanghai and Brussels. The Atlanta lab previously held Coke’s Shopper Experience Innovation Center (SEIC), opened in 2012 with almost 15,000 square feet of mock store settings for live consumer research and customer demos. The goal for the new space was to create greater flexibility using digital technology, which is far more versatile and efficient to reset. The space still includes some physical shelf displays and a quick-serve drive-through window. Just like the SEIC, cameras throughout the center allow the space to double as a lab for focus groups, where marketers and customers can watch live consumer behavior and reactions. KOlab is housed a couple of blocks from Coke headquarters in Atlanta, in the same warehouse-turned-office park as the company’s Freestyle fountain unit.
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