Business Insights, Strategy

What Glass Bottle Coke Can Teach Us About Our Customers

One quick lesson I learned while working a second job as a stock boy at a party store is that people love their glass bottle coke. I was working at a store right around the time that plastic bottles started hitting the market and people were not happy. Now the plastic bottles with a lid did come in handy and allowed you to keep the beverage fresher, longer and also kept you from spilling it. But many will say it just doesn’t taste the same as a glass bottle coke. I then watched a surge of canned soda purchases happen. People at that point in time would rather have the can over the plastic bottle, assuming they couldn’t get a glass bottle. And that brings us to today. From Capital Grille to QDOBA, I now see those glass bottles everywhere again. If you’re a sommelier of the coke world, what you really want is that small Mexican Coke bottle you often seen at small deli’s and restaurants. This is the holy grail of coke! And if you cannot find that, you will settle for the glass bottles that come stateside. What can we learn from all this? Coke shoved a product down our throats that we didn’t want. Sure, it saved them a ton on packaging costs, freight, returns etc but it wasn’t what the consumer wanted. While it may have made the product cheaper, it still wasn’t what the consumer desired. And Coke got away with it because, well….. they are COKE. So, when you have a product that is that strong, you can get away with a lot more than other companies can. Today we have the resurgence of the glass bottle because the customer demands it. They are willing to pay more for it, and for many, they crave it. This always makes me think twice before I make a big change to a product or service and I ask myself: Is this really what the customer wants? Ask yourself that same question before you make a big change and if you cannot answer it, poll your customer base before you make a mistake.