7-Eleven expands mobile checkout to thousands of U.S. stores

Discussion
Photo: 7-Eleven
Jul 14, 2021

Customers shopping at more than 3,000 7-Elevens in the nation’s capital and 32 states around the U.S. will have the option of paying for their purchases without having to stop at a checkstand now that the convenience store giant has expanded the availability of its proprietary Mobile Checkout technology. 7-Eleven plans to roll out the shopping option to its more than 9,000 primarily franchised stores by the end of 2022.

The checkout feature is available on 7-Eleven’s app. Customers can use the app to scan purchases as they shop and pay for them without having to wait in line or interact with a cashier. Purchases are paid for via Apple Pay or Google Pay, a credit or debit card or through the 7-Eleven Wallet feature on the app. Some purchases, including alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets, will still need to be handled at checkout in the traditional manner.

7-Eleven expands mobile checkout to thousands of U.S. stores
Photo: 7-Eleven

Members of the convenience retailer’s 7Rewards program can use the app to redeem points they’ve accumulated to pay for purchases and receive special pricing deals and coupons. The company is offering members a limited-time incentive to try the tool, awarding 10-times the points every time they use it to make a purchase.

“After over a year of living through the pandemic, Americans have a new perception of what convenience looks like. For many, it’s a contactless shopping experience without waiting in line,” Raghu Mahadevan, digital senior vice president for 7-Eleven, said in a statement.

“Luckily, we were already testing Mobile Checkout and had begun expanding 7NOW home delivery to hundreds of markets before lockdowns occurred,” Mr. Mahadevan said. “Now, we are accelerating the expansion of Mobile Checkout to ensure customers can shop at 7-Eleven the way they want to shop: safe and convenient.”

The convenience store chain sees its technology as a key selling point. It launched a $70 million national ad campaign in the spring to let Americans know that today’s stores are not the same 7-Elevens they once were. The company has set aggressive expansion targets with plans to eventually grow the business to around 20,000 locations around the U.S.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see mobile checkout becoming technological table stakes in the convenience store channel over the next year? Does 7-Eleven have a particular edge in this respect?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Mobile checkout helps put the 'convenience' back in convenience retail, and it will do so in other sectors shortly."
"Welcome to the 21st Century! I guess it is better late than never, but c’mon, Starbucks is working on their second decade with this technology..."
"It will take longer than a year for mobile pay to be table stakes in the c-store given the industry structure."

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19 Comments on "7-Eleven expands mobile checkout to thousands of U.S. stores"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Although not all customers will want or indeed use this, having this option available is great for those who want to get in and out of the store very quickly. It is doing exactly what 7-Eleven stores are supposed to do: be convenient!

Brian Cluster
BrainTrust

When consumers think of convenience stores, the words that resonate are quick, fast, and easy. This combination and unique value proposition of the channel drove higher non-fuel c-store sales growth during the past year across the world when consumers avoided other outlets for small purchases. To continue to win, c-stores must aspire to and deliver faster commerce whether it is delivery or mobile checkout.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

Apps like this create convenience. As with most technology like this, it is the adoption by the customer that makes this successful. 7-Eleven will have to educate their customers and give them an incentive before this will become as popular and successful as they hope it will be.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

This will absolutely be important, especially in the convenience channel. The value proposition for these stores is fast and easy transactions. This extends that value proposition for many of their customers. 7-Eleven has been bold about trying new technology to engage their customers, this is a great example. I do believe they will have an edge competitively because they’ve tried and tested these technologies.

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

Welcome to the 21st Century! I guess it is better late than never, but c’mon, Starbucks is working on their second decade with this technology and Sweden tested a “cashless” city four years ago! Surely the writing was on the wall. Regardless, the sooner we all (retailers) get to no-contact/cashless the better IMO and this will help in terms of scale.

storewanderer
Guest
20 days 8 hours ago

Politicians continue to hold “cashless” back. NJ, MA, and RI all have laws in place that prohibit businesses from banning cash. City-wise, San Francisco, New York City, and Philadelphia also have laws in place that require businesses to accept cash. So essentially in these places a business cannot be cashless even if it wants to be. This is to ensure all customers have access to the business.

Personally I think it should be up to the business. But I am biased — I do not use cash much and prefer cashless. Just my opinion.

Dave Wendland
BrainTrust

Columbia University professor Tim Wu suggests that “Convenience has the ability to make other options unthinkable.”

Any retailer not considering shopper convenience and mobile checkout options may find themselves obsoleted by their inconvenience.

David Weinand
BrainTrust

For the convenience segment, it makes total sense and for any large regional chain, it should be table stakes. Convenience retail is highly fragmented so it may take a while for broad adoption but as mobile payment becomes the norm, chains should be looking at how they can satisfy the new definition for convenience and speed.

Ian Leslie
BrainTrust

A great option. Yes. Table stakes: No I don’t think so. I think you have to account for how regional the convenience store vertical is. If you look at the 2020 list of top convenience stores, I don’t think I live within 100 miles of one of these. For the larger ones it may work, but even they will deal with a customer base that this technology is so foreign to. But the smaller chains likely won’t have the bandwidth to create this level of technology on their apps and serve it. So again a good experience: Yes. But the norm? I don’t think so.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

Not only will mobile checkout become table stakes in the convenience store channel, but it will also soon become table stakes in the grocery store channel, and eventually other categories as well. 7-Eleven is smart to incentivize the uptake of mobile checkout with rewards, and the fact that this capability is tied to the app means more app downloads and usage. Mobile checkout helps put the “convenience” back in convenience retail, and it will do so in other sectors shortly.

Oliver Guy
BrainTrust

With the right focus and staffing this could well be a really good “half-way house” as work on getting walk-out models working comes online. It certainly offers the opportunity to eliminate the customer friction of the queue without adding another – that being juggling a phone with your chosen items while you are self-scanning.
Apple have been doing the mobile device based check-out for many years so it makes sense for it to move into places where customers really value speed and convenience.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

If we call the store type “convenient,” then it should be convenient from as many aspects as possible. That includes mobile checkout.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

7-Eleven’s roll-out continues the trend of the c-store industry meeting the changing needs of its customers. The ability for its customer to select how to pay for their purchases will be welcomed by many of its franchisees and their staff and their customers.

It will take longer than a year for mobile pay to be table stakes in the c-store given the industry structure. Almost 100,000 of the industry’s 150,000 locations are owned or operated by retail companies of one to 10 stores. That segment of the industry will need their technology suppliers to develop customized or white label apps for them to use.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

Mobile checkout provides consumers another option to make shopping more convenient and avoid the frustrations of standing in a checkout line. Mobile checkout is much more cost effective than self-checkout stations or “Just Walk Out” technology and consumers will become proficient at using the apps and it will become an expectation for most retail formats.

Raj B. Shroff
BrainTrust

I don’t see how mobile checkout can become table stakes in the c-store channel over the next year. I think a few more might be running tests. Most retailers are too far behind technologically and while I believe there is a need, it’s likely not a high priority for many of them. Most shoppers are probably OK with a traditional SCO machine or just waiting in line for a minute. And with the high percentage of alcohol purchases in this channel, mobile pay doesn’t work for a large percentage of trips.

Amazon Go opened to the public in 2018 and three years later 7-Eleven is making me scan purchases with my phone. Their effort is a step in the right direction but it would be more exciting if they were rolling out their Just Walk Out tech at this scale.

As for 7-Eleven having an edge, maybe with their scale and traditionally forward-thinking mentality, yes.

Venky Ramesh
BrainTrust

Great to see convenience stores taking convenience more seriously. I am just wondering what this means for all those brands that rely on impulse buys at the checkout counter. How should they go about driving more impulse buys in other parts of the store and through the app?

storewanderer
Guest
20 days 8 hours ago

Given a high percentage of transactions in 7-Eleven stores require employee serve behind the counter items (including tobacco, some liquor, some hot foods, and in some locations even energy shots and OTC Drug items), this already is not even an option for a very high percentage of transactions just because of that.

Add in liquor or any other transaction requiring ID and again this is not even an option for that.

Also given many 7-Eleven stores only have one employee on duty at a time, I don’t know how they are going to monitor this. I think it will become an open door for theft.

Meanwhile, Amazon is already shutting down or rebranding Amazon Go which is what this whole concept was being patterned after.

Harley Feldman
BrainTrust

As 7-Eleven continues to expand the use of mobile checkout in its stores, its competitors will be forced to follow suit. This application solves a problem experienced by most shoppers — waiting in line to checkout after spending the time shopping for the items they want to purchase. Other retailers will be watching this mobile checkout application and will be interested in adding it to their stores also. 7-Eleven has the edge in establishing this next generation offering in retail stores.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

Like the cat who tasted fresh tuna, canned tuna is no longer the desirable option. The same for snail-paced checkout. 7-Eleven appears to be ahead of most traditional bricks & mortar retailers. Of course, Amazon pioneered this convenience app in its Amazon Go stores.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Mobile checkout helps put the 'convenience' back in convenience retail, and it will do so in other sectors shortly."
"Welcome to the 21st Century! I guess it is better late than never, but c’mon, Starbucks is working on their second decade with this technology..."
"It will take longer than a year for mobile pay to be table stakes in the c-store given the industry structure."

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