7-Eleven and delivering convenience in the digital era

Head of strategy and technology shares the latest steps taken to bring digital capability into the heart of the convenience retailing business

The meaning of the word convenience has changed a lot in the digital era. For 7-Eleven, which has built its brand on convenience, understanding exactly what that word means to consumers is going to go a long way to determining its long-term success.

The emergence of home delivery services such as Menulog, Deliveroo and Uber Eats has shifted the relationship between brands and consumers, with the latter group believing the former needs to come to them now, rather than the other way around.

For 7-Eleven, its response included the acquisition of a majority stake in the alcohol delivery startup, Tipple, back in 2018, followed by other forays into last-mile delivery services. But despite these investments, 7-Eleven general manager for strategy and technology, Stephen Eyears, still wishes the company had been another year ahead of where it was when COVID-19 hit.

“We were experimenting with small scale trials of last mile,” Eyears tells CMO. “We went from small-scale trial to quite large trials very quickly. We are trying to learn our way through that whole environment - what do customers really want, what are they not prepared to pay for, how can we optimise logistics and the experience of stores.

“It is now starting to flow through to some of our food offers, which is where we want to get to. If you want to be really good in the food business, you need to be in the last-mile business as well.”

Eyears joined 7-Eleven seven years ago in a strategy role and was soon appointed to head up the company’s customer digital transformation investments. Since then, he has installed Matt Barrett as head of innovation, with head of marketing, Julie Laycock, taking on customer experience.

That has freed Eyears up to focus on digital initiatives, which have included flipping the entire organisation over to agile development methodologies. This has enabled the company to accelerate its digital initiatives. One of the most prominent is the recent relaunched of the My 7-Eleven app, which is becoming the digital connection point between the company and its consumers.

“Relaunching My 7-Eleven is clearly about being more convenient for customers, but we want customer data like everyone else wants customer data, so we can anticipate people’s needs and respond to them,” Eyears says.

Leveraging data

The company has also made significant investments in building the platform to house that data and draw insights from it.

“In terms of leveraging data, we are crawling, and starting to walk,” Eyears says. “We are going to experiment a lot and be really conservative about how we use the data. But there is an exciting future, because being able to respond near-real and real-time to what people are doing, and what they might want, and where they are, and what time of day. It is super fascinating.”

In addition to exploring how to offer greater convenience in the last mile, Eyears says 7-Eleven is also examining digital transformation opportunities within its stores. This includes extensions to the pay-and-go solution the company implemented at the demonstration store at its headquarters in Cremorne, Melbourne.

“We are just about to go into a new version of that in a significantly larger number of stores,” Eyears says. “So we will scale it, but you will always be able to any way you like.”

The digital reinvention of store environments will also extend into back-end systems and processes.

“We naturally do everything with the store at the front of our minds,” Eyears says. “’Simpler for the customers, simpler for stores’ is the mantra. We can’t make something really good for the customer if we make it really complicated for the store – that is not going to work.”

Hence Eyears says he is examining point-of-sales systems and introducing new services such as ticketing.

“All that stuff that takes up so much time and energy, so how do you digitise all that in a way that makes sense,” he says. “We want to serve them as quickly as possible. If it is 120 seconds, how do we get it to 90, or how do we get it to 60.

“In a digital environment with digitally engaged customers, how do you get a version of a POS system that is super flexible and super intuitive and super adaptable.”

Don’t miss out on the wealth of insight and content provided by CMO A/NZ and sign up to our weekly CMO Digest newsletters and information services here. 

You can also follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page

 

 

 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments
cmo-xs-promo

Latest Videos

More Videos

Thanks for your feedback, Rabi. While we introduced the ROO concept using a marketing example, I also believe that it is pertinent to man...

Iggy Pintado

Introducing Return on Outcome (ROO) - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Thanks for your insight, Philip. Return On Outcome (ROO) requires balanced thinking with the focus on outcomes as opposed to returns.

Iggy Pintado

Introducing Return on Outcome (ROO) - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Beautiful article.

Hodlbaba

15 brands jumping into NFTs

Read more

"Blue" is really gorgeous and perfectly imitates a human customer support operator. Personally, I won't order a chatbot development for m...

Nate Ginsburg

Why the newest member of BT’s contact centre is a chatbot

Read more

As today’s market changes rapidly, the tools we use change, and it is important to adapt to those changes to continue to succeed in busin...

Anna Duda

Report: 10 digital commerce trends here to stay

Read more

Blog Posts

How the pandemic revealed the antidote to marketing’s image problem

What does marketing truly ‘own’ in most organisations? Brand and campaigns, definitely. Customer experience? That remains contested ground.

Murray Howe

Founder, The Markitects

Still pursuing a 360-degree view of the customer?

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” It may have been true in 1993 when this caption to a Peter Steiner cartoon appeared in the New Yorker. But after 30 years online, it’s no longer the case.

Agility in 2022

Only the agile will survive and thrive in this environment and that’s why in 2022, agility will need to be a whole-business priority.

Sam McConnell

Melbourne bureau chief, Alpha Digital

Sign in