7-Eleven: Developing Loyalty Through Data-Driven Marketing to be the #1 Neighborhood Convenience Store

By | December 3, 2014

Have you had a 7-Eleven Slurpee®?  It’s perfect on a hot afternoon. And with more than 53,000 locations worldwide, 7-Eleven has made it convenient to get one.  Now with a new mobile app, 7-Eleven is promising convenience on top of convenience.  How is 7-Eleven using 21st century marketing to continue delivering on a brand promise made in 1927?  By using all the data they can.

Robert McClarin Sr. Product Manager, CRM and Loyalty

Robert McClarin
Sr. Product Manager, CRM and Loyalty

Starting as an icehouse in rural Texas in the late 20’s 7-Eleven now operates in 16 countries, producing $84.5B in sales and is even known as one of the United States’ largest independent gas retailers.  That’s pretty good for a business that that first innovated by selling milk, eggs and bread as a convenience to their ice customers!

 “It’s a wonderful part of the heritage and it’s important to us because it shows the need for innovation and being part of the innovation team, it is something that we have latched onto and we love the fact that they started as an ice house, saw an opportunity, started to explore it and that created an entirely new business, and that’s what we’re trying to do at 7-Eleven today.”  Robert McClarin, Sr. Product Manager, CRM and Loyalty, 7-Eleven

Building on their promise to “Be your neighborhood convenience store,” 7-Eleven wanted to build an app that was more than just transactional in nature, they wanted to build a relationship with the customer, on the customer’s terms.  In terms of data, 7-Eleven had 7 million customer transactions a day to get started  – building on those 7 million transactions, they started with their customers favorite channel.

“Our guests have said, ‘Listen, you want to be where I am. I am on a smartphone. So if you want to be with me you need to be on a smartphone. When I have a mission trip that I want to solve, a quick trip that I’m making, I often go to my smartphone in terms of figuring out where I want to go in order to solve that particular problem.’ So the guest really led us to the concept and idea that listen, let’s start with an app, let’s layer in a loyalty program and let’s begin to earn permission and earn the right to engage with guests so that we can better know who they are, learn from them and eventually serve them in a better way. And so it wasn’t so much a challenge or a business problem that we were facing other than saying, ‘We need to live up to our mission and our vision and that is to get to know the guests better.’” – Robert McClarin, Sr. Product Manager, CRM and Loyalty, 7-Eleven

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 5.44.17 PMEnter Teradata and brierley + partners combining a robust integrated data warehouse, marketing applications and Loyaltyware™.  7-Eleven’s Robert McClarin calls Teradata’s Real Time Interaction Manager (RTIM) solution ‘marketing memory’ – taking in guest preferences, segments, and location through an innovative app that literally creates a relationship with the customer. It’s not your “purchase and get points app” – it creates relevant offers depending on customer’s segment, location, and preferences.

 “The transactional data that we get in store immediately drives where you are in terms of segmentation, who you are or where– who the system sees you as whether that’s a morning person, afternoon, weekend- weekends, weekdays, coffee only so we place you in a segment. That immediately drives the offers or content that you might get via e-mail, push notification within the app, and so that’s immediate and that’s in real time and so we drive that experience off that transaction in sub-one second, sometimes sub-two seconds. The other place that we’re using real time data to drive the guest experience is through e-mail, SMS and push notification. When guests respond to that, we’re responding with requested content, we’re responding with offers that they may have asked for more– or may have expressed interest in, and we’re using the marketing memory that’s generated from those communications to load into the database to give to RTIM [Teradata Real Time Interaction Manager] to say this is a known e-mail responder; factor that in when you’re deciding what is the next best offer that you might make to this person. So it’s fun to see it kind of go and go and just keep running so we love the interaction in real time.” Robert McClarin, Sr. Product Manager, CRM and Loyalty, 7-Eleven

Localization has been a critical differentiator and an opportunity for innovation. Recently, 7-Eleven delivered a Red Bull and pizza campaign around college and university campuses.

 “It’s the right target, but the only way we could do that is if we had that location services enabled so if you’re not in those markets you’re not going to see the offer so you’re not going to miss out on anything, but if you’re in those markets and you have location services turned on then you will see the offer and you can take advantage of it.” Robert McClarin, Sr. Product Manager, CRM and Loyalty, 7-Eleven

7-Eleven is even integrating temperature data – important when you’re offering hot coffee and cold Slurpees®.  Now, 7-Eleven is using the success of the mobile app to launch more products, such as fresh and healthy fast food for those customers who are on the go.Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 5.44.47 PM

 “So as you might imagine, nobody really wants to have a relationship with a convenience store, right. It’s not something we actively seek out and it’s not something you go and check on. We’re exciting, but we’re not that exciting so what we know is that when guests open up the app, that’s when they’re most open to us and so we have to respond in real time; we have to be there when they’re there; we have to meet them on their terms in their channel at their time.” Robert McClarin, Sr. Product Manager, CRM and Loyalty, 7-Eleven

What’s next?  7-Eleven will bring in inventory data to ensure that the offers their making will be fulfilled in every location; all 53,000 of them.

Thank you to 7-Eleven and brierley + partners for sharing your success!

2 thoughts on “7-Eleven: Developing Loyalty Through Data-Driven Marketing to be the #1 Neighborhood Convenience Store

  1. Pingback: Different ways retailers are leveraging mobile apps for their customers | New Coast Ventures

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