By Sara Counihan
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—7-Eleven’s loyalty program 7REWARDS supports over 55 million members, and the convenience retailer has a consistent "obsession" to delight them. Raghu Mahadevan, chief digital officer at 7-Eleven, joined Paula Thomas on her podcast “Let's Talk Loyalty” to talk about the convenience retailer’s focus on customer loyalty and their latest innovations and award-winning strategies that are engaging customers both outside the store as well as inside.
What started as a punch card rewards program has blown up into 7-Eleven’s loyalty program, 7REWARDS, which supports over 55 million members. It’s evolved even more so since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Mahadevan. “At 7-Eleven we have a long history of innovation,” Mahadevan said.
Customers are seeking convenience, safety and value, he said, and those expectations increased because of the pandemic.
“What used to be a quick in and out has evolved into a quicker in and out as [customers] look for a safe and convenient shopping experience,” said Mahadevan. “We have pushed the pedal on lot of these dimensions like increasing our contactless payment experience in the store at the pump and accelerating delivery.”
7NOW is 7-Eleven’s 24/7 delivery service available in the U.S. in 43 metropolitan areas encompassing 514 cities. 7-Eleven recently partnered with alcohol delivery platform Drizly to deliver alcohol from over 1,200 7-Eleven stores in the U.S. in under an hour.
For customers seeking the quicker in and out that Mahadevan mentioned, the 7REWARDS app also offers mobile checkout. Customers scan the products they want to buy in the app, pay through the app and then scan a QR code at the confirmation station as they walk out.
“In more ways than one, it’s a very safe experience and it’s often an even quicker in and out,” said Mahadevan. He added that it also cuts down on the lines at the cashier and increases operational speed.
The 7REWARDS app also features a digital wallet to service customers who prefer to pay with cash. Customers can take their cash to a 7-Eleven, and a cashier will load the cash onto their 7REWARDS app.
Be sure to listen to full episode (No. 161: 7-Eleven Shares Secrets to Success & Driving Loyalty with 7REWARDS) on the Let’s Talk Loyalty podcast to find out what Mahadevan’s favorite loyalty statistic is and what upcoming 7-Eleven innovations he’s proud of.
Sara Counihan is contributing editor of NACS Daily and NACS Magazine. Contact her at email@example.com.