ATLANTA: Coca-Cola, the global beverages giant, has joined forces with a small but expanding tech start-up, enabling some of its products to be sold to ride-hailing passengers while in transit.

The partnership means that users of Uber or Lyft in the US will be able to buy Coke’s Smartwater, a selection of snacks, or even a phone charger, by simply tapping on an online menu developed by Cargo, a company that specialises in providing in-car goods and services for the growing ride-share economy.

Cargo already operates in a number of US cities – including New York, Boston and Chicago, among others – but the agreement with Atlanta-based Coca-Cola marks the first time Cargo has expanded to the southern city.

As reported by Internet Retailing, all that passengers have to do to place an order is enter their driver’s box code via Cargo’s digital site, select a product and hit the check-out button. The driver can then hand over the products once the car has come to a safe stop.

In return, Uber and Lyft drivers will receive a commission on each sale as well as a bonus if a minimum number of items are sold. According to Cargo, drivers could earn an $500 extra income per month.

“We’re very excited to enter this new distribution channel in rideshare with Cargo. Cargo offers an innovative solution to helping Coca-Cola deliver refreshments to consumers in their moment of need in a space that was previously hard to reach at scale,” said John Carroll, VP and general manager of e-commerce at Coca-Cola.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the impact we have on rideshare passengers when they find our product within arm’s reach when using Uber and Lyft,” he added.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs last year estimated that the ride-hailing industry could expand to $285bn by 2030 and an increasing number of brands and marketers see opportunities to reach consumers who no longer have to keep their eyes fixed on the road.

“In-car advertising can be much more powerful and accurate than any other mode because it not only knows the accurate location, but it also mostly knows the intended destination through GPS or other method,” said Subodha Kumar of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, in comments to Variety.

“Advertisers may even use information about the car driver and vehicle location to offer ads that are much more tailored and personalised,” he added.

Sourced from Internet Retailing, MarketWatch, Variety; additional content by WARC staff