7-Eleven Innovates in Asia

Japan stores will sell insurance, while new Hunan, China, store’s first-day sales top $70,000. 

June 11, 2020

TOKYO—7-Eleven stores are making waves in southeast Asia, setting record openings for new stores and offering new products sold at no other convenience store chains in the world.

The chain’s first bit of overseas news comes from the land of the rising sun: Seven-Eleven Japan is the first convenience chain to sell life insurance policies in Japan—and maybe the world, reports Nikkei Asian Review.

The convenience retailer has announced a partnership with MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings to sell life insurance policies without the face-to-face contact between salespersons and clients. Customers will be able to apply for a policy through multifunction machines in Seven-Eleven Japan's 20,000 stores, and then pay the cashier for the purchase. They also can complete part of the process through their smartphones or home computers. 

Life insurance is traditionally sold by MS&AD's representatives during face-to-face meetings with customers. The unlikely partnership comes as insurance companies search for new sales approaches that help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Seven-Eleven and MS&AD plan to set up call centers where licensed insurance sales staff can talk to customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Working with Seven-Eleven Japan, the company expects to add 60,000 new contracts per year, mainly with elderly customers.

In other international convenience store news, the first 7-Eleven store in the south central Chinese city of Hunan recently opened and broke the global opening-day record for the convenience-chain with a record US $70,310 in sales, according to Retail News Asia.

On that first day of business, the outlet attracted more than 5,000 customers and sold 5,000 Japanese chopsticks, 3,000 sushi balls, 1,500 desserts and 600 loaves of bread.

“The introduction of Japanese brands will help upgrade the industry and the overall operation level of convenience stores in Changsha,” said Hu Zijing, president of Friendship&Apollo, owner of the 7-Eleven Hunan franchise.

Friendship&Apollo acquired the franchise rights to Hunan in October, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opening was postponed twice.

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