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

Latest Videos

More Videos

I found decent information in your article. I am impressed with how nicely you described this subject, It is a gainful article for us. Th...

Daniel Hughes

What 1800 Flowers is doing to create a consistent customer communications experience

Read more

Extremely informative. One should definitely go through the blog in order to know different aspects of the Retail Business and retail Tec...

Sheetal Kamble

SAP retail chief: Why more retailers need to harness data differently

Read more

It's actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed ...

FIO Homes

How a brand facelift and content strategy turned real estate software, Rockend, around

Read more

I find this very strange. The Coles store i shop in still has Flouro lights? T though this would have been the 1st thing they would have ...

Brad

Coles launches new sustainability initiative

Read more

Well, the conversion can be increased by just using marketing, but in general if you are considering an example with Magento, then it is ...

Bob

How Remedy is using digital marketing and commerce to drive conversion

Read more

Blog Posts

Why conflict can be good for your brand

Conflict is essentially a clash. When between two people, it’s just about always a clash of views or opinions. And when it comes to this type of conflict, more than the misaligned views themselves, what we typically hate the most is our physiological response.

Kathy Benson

Chief client officer, Ipsos

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

You’re doing it wrong: Emotion doesn’t mean emotional

If you’ve been around advertising long enough, you’ve probably seen (or written) a slide which says: “They won’t remember what you say, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” But it’s wrong. Our understanding of how emotion is used in advertising has been ill informed and poorly applied.

Zac Martin

Senior planner, Ogilvy Melbourne

Sign in