Fishing for Love, Convenience-Store Style

7-Eleven is on a quest to make Americans love the store as much as their Japanese counterparts do.

January 15, 2021

DALLAS—7-Eleven has long been known to most Americans. Its sheer size makes it one of the largest chains in the world. Over the past few years, 7-Eleven has embraced technology and other new trends to stay on top of the industry.

But 7-Eleven has bigger plans—it wants to cultivate a love in American hearts much like it has in Japan, Marker Medium reports. The Japanese convenience store, called “konbini”, offers customers “a basic infrastructure for modern life. This dynamic translates into the high and low ends—snacks and premade dinners, package pickup and parcel delivery, pharmacy goods, basic clothing, even banking services for utilities or household bills. At a 7-Eleven in Japan, a customer can book a train ticket, exchange currency, buy concert tickets and download their Netflix queue over the high-speed Wi-Fi,” according to the story.

Recent changes in American 7-Elevens include bake-at-home pizzas and wings, store-branded energy drinks, bakery goods, cold-pressed juices and coffee, as well as pumpkin spice lattes and Forever 21 x 7-Eleven apparel. The retailer also has added more high-brow items, including some from emerging food brands like Pescavore ahi tuna jerky strips and Koia plant-based, vegan protein shakes.

7-Eleven also has embraced more of the konbini tradition of being a one-stop shop for a variety of services. U.S. stores offer PayNearMe financial services, Amazon Lockers and Amazon Cash options. Its 7Rewards app allows for contactless payments too. The largest shift is to delivery, with partnerships with GrubHub, Instacart and Uber Eats. Ninety percent of its U.S. locations have delivery through these third-party services.

While speed continues to trump other amenities in terms of priorities at the moment, 7-Eleven is still mindful of the “customer-focused heart of the Japanese model,” which it intends to translate over the United States.

For more on 7-Eleven’s innovations, read “The Reimaging of 7-Eleven,” in the January 2020 issue of NACS Magazine.