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Having launched its first unstaffed convenience store at Lotte World Tower in Seoul last year, 7-Eleven is now testing its latest 'express' format. South Korea continues to see the rise of self-service and cashier-less stores with various retailers exploring this space. 

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7-Eleven Japan is investing in technology to offer consumers a two-hour delivery service for smartphone orders.

What is 'Net Konbini'?

Seven & i continues to offer customers more convenient ways to shop. 'Net Konbini' (Net Convenience Store) is a smartphone ordering service connecting offline and online operations. It allows customers to order 24 hours a day from a range of 2,800 products, and the retailer aims to offer a two-hour delivery service. 

The service is currently available at around 20 stores and set to increase to 100 during H1, with all stores in Hokkaido covered (1,000 stores) by the end of FY2019. Further coverage of 7-Eleven’s wider network in the country is expected in the future.

7-Eleven is testing a new on-demand delivery and store pickup service at ten stores in Dallas.

Digital transformation redefining convenience

While the retailer has built a leadership position in the traditional convenience store sector, the explosion of on-demand shopping options for consumers is redefining the whole concept of convenience. The 7-ElevenNOW service forms part of 7-Eleven’s digital transformation program. This is focused on enhancing the retailer’s physical stores and the digital experience for its customers.

Orders prepped at store for delivery or pickup

Customers using the app-based service can choose to have products delivered to their current location or to one of the stores in the trial. Products including snacks, cosmetics, gift cards, home goods and soft drinks can be ordered through the service. Once an order is placed for delivery, it is sent to a courier who picks up the customer’s prepped products at the store and delivers them to the customer’s location. Customers can pay for both delivery and store pickup via the app.

Complements other recent digital initiatives

7-ElevenNOW is one of several new services from the retailer. Recent initiatives have included the expansion of 7Rewards, its app-based loyalty program, the launch of 7-Eleven Bot on Messenger which allows consumers to engage with the brand from inside Facebook, and expanding Amazon Lockers for in-store package pickup. 7-Eleven has also been working wth Postmates for over two years on a separate delivery service. Initially launching in California in June 2015, this was recenlty expanded to over 1,100 locations.

Asia’s largest c-store network is committed to further expand in Malaysia through opening more stores and offering parcel locker services to facilitate delivery for online shopping.

Sales growth instills confidence in expansion plans

Group revenue for the third quarter has reached RM547.8m (US$23.31m), up 4.9% and it’s driven by new store opening, improved merchandise mix and consumer promotion activities. The average spend per customer has increased by 4% during the third quarter, compared with the same period last year.

Releasing the company’s third quarter results, CEO Gary Brown said the network of 2057 stores plans to open 200 new stores annually for the next 10 years.

Facilitate the growing trend for online shopping

7-Eleven will start offering parcel locker services in some of its outlets to provide convenience to shoppers who shop online. This is an integral part of an expanding online retail ecosystem that is beginning to grow in popularity in Malaysia.

Brown says the move is to make shopping as convenient as possible and is part of the chain’s evolution in the larger retail space that is not confined to bricks and mortar.

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