@@img1 Jones Soda, a company known for making funky new age sodas since the early 90’s, is the first beverage company of note to make a serious go at selling their product online direct to the consumer. The company launched MyJones.com back in 1999 to not only sell their soda, but to allow consumers to make their own customized case of Jones. What does this mean? Well, for $34.95 (+ $14 for shipping), you can buy your own 12 pack that has your own custom graphic printed on the label.
Jones took things a step further in 2002 by securing a patent for “online customization and branding of merchandise”. Seeing as there are many major companies providing customization of merchandise on their web site (for example, Nike) we’re not quite sure what practical purposes this patent will have. It’s up to Jones to decide if they want to focus on selling soda or paying lawyer bills.
Anyway, the folks at Jones were nice enough to let us try out the service. The site was relatively easy to use, but had some minor usability issues, including having to create a username and password before actually processing your order. However, the overall order process went over without a hitch. We were easily able to upload our image and see a preview only seconds later. They support a variety of file sizes and instructions are provided to make the experience easy for everyone.
Once the order was previewed, we submitted it for processing. Then the fun began. Exactly how long would it take for Jones to produce our custom case? Well, in less than 48 hours our case was on its way to our Cambridge, MA offices. The product arrived perfectly — no broken bottles or misprinted labels. The overall print quality is relatively good. It’s clearly not as high quality as what you see on their regular product, but it still looks great.
So what does one do with a bottle of MyJones? Well, we gather that most people are not purchasing this product to consume. We tried a few of our bottles just for the purposes of writing this article, but otherwise we have the product sitting on our desks and bookcases. They make for cool keepsakes, but it’s not likely something we’d consume on a regular basis. We assume that this is the case for most people who purchase MyJones.
Overall, we like the service and the product that we received, but it left us wondering — is this a profitable operation for Jones? The bottom line is that any beverage company needs to sell product. Does this help Jones sell more soda? We’re not quite sure, but we’d definitely recommend trying this service next time you are looking for a unique beverage-oriented gift.