Igniting Ideas For impact

Embarking on a transformative journey through six chapters, we traverse India's landscape, exploring pioneering startups and their revolutionary...

11 months

From Villages to Cities: How Coca-Cola Uses Coolers to Transform Businesses for Indian Retailers

Coca-Cola coolers are becoming ubiquitous across India’s urban and rural retail outlets, driven by the country’s village electrification and boosting revenues for small to medium retailers. Know more.

From Villages to Cities: How Coca-Cola Uses Coolers to Transform Businesses for Indian Retailers

This article has been sponsored by Coca-Cola

At first glance, it looks like a regular refrigerator. However, Coca-Cola’s coolers, easily recognisable by their red and white design, stocked with a variety of beverages, are becoming increasingly common in India. We are not just talking about their growing visibility across cities but through the towns to the villages, where these coolers stand tall in kiranas, hotel corners, or retail aisles.

With its vast network of providing beverages to over 5 million outlets across the country, Coca-Cola is expanding the presence of its coolers to every corner of India. With India achieving 100 percent electrification of villages, the kiranas and the fast-growing network of small, medium, and large retailers now effortlessly use the Coca-Cola coolers as part of their shop front.

This is bringing to reality what the company’s former president Robert Woodruff famously said about winning in the beverage market — delivering its products “within an arm’s reach of desire”.

Not any desire: The desire for a cool, refreshing beverage — be it any occasion — after a delightful lunch, an exciting evening of cricket, or a quick gulp after a shopping stroll.

Boosting retailer revenue and consumer experience

Coca-Cola’s coolers are now contributing to increased revenues for retailers — especially micro, small, and medium players, many of them having access to coolers following the electrification drive.

For consumers, the benefits are evident: Not only do they have a chilled beverage, but they are also assured of its purity and hygiene. They also present them with an array of options, the kind of diversity that a Coca-Cola cooler, with exclusive rack space for its products, provides.

And for retailers, the benefits are manifold. One, the advent of more coolers, especially in remote areas, has helped attract new consumers, increasing their share of revenue.

India’s non-alcoholic beverages market is growing at a CAGR of 8.7 percent to INR 1,47,233 crores by 2030, and by product categories, Indians consume carbonated beverages the most, according to a report by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations.

The introduction of coolers has given many retailers a boost — vis-à-vis those who continue to sell them either stored in the open or tucked into ice bags. It is not just the optics of flaunting a cooler, it is the purity and hygiene associated with a refrigerated cooler that influences consumer behaviour.

Empowering retailers through the Superpower Retailer Program

Anil Prasad, a retailer on Park Street, Kolkata, says that introducing the Coca-Cola coolers has helped reshape his business, enabling him to stock up more products, all resulting in more sales. Lucknow’s Abhishek Pathak says beverage sales have soared since the installation of Coca-Cola India coolers, which keep the beverages refreshingly chilled and help attract more customers.

Retail business owners with Coca-Cola coolers in their kirana stores
Abhishek Pathak (L) and Anil Prasad (R)

Across India, approximately 20 percent of a retailer’s income is generated from beverage sales, with 6  percent specifically attributed to the sale of Coca-Cola beverages. The introduction of coolers has ramped up sales further.

Coca-Cola India’s Superpower Retailer Program is at the heart of this transformation — a three-year collaboration with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) under the Skill India Mission, focusing on empowering small retailers in the states of Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, with plans to expand to more states.

This initiative empowers retailers by building their capacity and capability in modern retailing and provides training to small and micro retailers, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to better understand consumer behaviours and preferences. Amanpreet, the owner of the ‘9 to 9’ store, says the programme has helped in providing customers with refreshing beverages using coolers.

Innovation in cooler technology

As 100 percent rural electrification was being implemented, when many villages remained unconnected in the 2010s, Coca-Cola distributed eKOCool solar coolers free of cost to its vendors. A product innovation that was not only used for chilling beverages but also for charging mobile phones. This model was replicated across several countries globally.

The possibilities of digital technologies have now become further evident. With the remarkable advances in cooler technology, Coca-Cola coolers stand out for their digital signage and enhanced design, in addition to an ongoing focus on replacing older ones with hydrofluorocarbon-free and more energy-efficient coolers.

Globally for Coca-Cola, in 2022, 88 percent of all new coolers placed were HFC-free. This is an increase from 61 percent of coolers placed in 2016.

This further builds on Coca-Cola’s commitment to the environment and society as part of its ‘Our Planet Matters’ strategy. The bottom line of this is to bring transformational and radical change through a comprehensive approach to social, environmental, and economic stewardship.

All of these are being realised on the ground with the humble cooler — that is bringing more revenue to grassroots-level retailers, adding to the happiness quotient of customers, and enabling economies with a more vibrant retail sector.

Edited by Pranita Bhat

If you found our stories insightful, informative, or even just enjoyable, we invite you to consider making a voluntary payment to support the work we do at The Better India. Your contribution helps us continue producing quality content that educates, inspires, and drives positive change.

Choose one of the payment options below for your contribution-

By paying for the stories you value, you directly contribute to sustaining our efforts focused on making a difference in the world. Together, let's ensure that impactful stories continue to be told and shared, enriching lives and communities alike.

Thank you for your support. Here are some frequently asked questions you might find helpful to know why you are contributing?

Support the biggest positivity movement section image Support the biggest positivity movement section image


See All