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Coca-Cola, QXL Develop Cashless Online Auction

[London, ENGLAND] Coca-Cola Great Britain and QXL.com plc announced Monday their joint development of what they are calling a "revolutionary cashless online auction."

The new auction service, to be launched in August, will allow Coca-Cola consumers to bid for items over the Internet without needing a credit card to pay for them. Instead, consumers will use "Coke credits" -- a unique currency collected from cans and 500ml bottles.

Chris Banks, managing director of Coca-Cola Great Britain, hailed the concept as "groundbreaking" and said the Internet is now the most popular forum for young people of all ages, all over Britain.

"Teens love the Internet, but typically can't buy things or bid for things because they don't have credit cards. This enables them, and everyone, to buy online and gives us a much more interactive dialogue with our consumers, enabling us to have a closer relationship with them," said Banks.

However, statistics show that only one in four British homes is connected to the Internet, while the average time spent online is just five hours per month. On the other hand, homes with children are responsible for the biggest increases in Internet use.

The so-called "Cokeauction" -- at cokeauction.co.uk (not yet active) -- will give consumers 500 free credits when they register. After that, to get more credits consumers will need to start drinking more Coke. Ten ringpulls from cans will equal 1000 credits after they have been sent to a handling house for conversion.

Among the items available in the auction will be CDs, games software, WAP phones and MP3 players.

Bizarrely, the star item appears to be the chance for people in their own back yard to play the England football team at five-a-side soccer on Wembley turf. It all sounds like good news for Coca-Cola and QXL, but more embarrassment for England football manager Kevin Keegan.



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