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7-Eleven reaches for competitive edge with utility-driven fuel app

Convenience store chain 7-Eleven has a new mobile application in Australia that enables users to find the best nearby deals for gas and lock in a price for seven days, a move designed to make the retailer a considered destination rather than an impulse stop.

The 7-Eleven Australia Fuel App leverages real-time, location-based data and personalization technology in what technology vendor and partner VMob claims is a first-of-its-kind offering. The app, which was in development for 18 months, also offers users personalized deals on other convenience items they may need.

“With the launch of the 7-Eleven Australia Fuel App, the chain has taken a strategic approach on how convenience stores use mobility to overcome the impulse factor – building utility into their mobile offering to differentiate themselves against other convenience stories,” said Scott Bradley, founder and CEO of VMob. “Enabling the utility to pre-pay for fuel ensures that 7-Eleven becomes a pre-considered destination for the consumer rather than an impulse stop.

“Week after week, the consumer will continue to visit 7-Eleven, which becomes the convenience store of choice rather than the closest competitor,” he said.

“By providing a utility app to deliver lower prices and personalized contextual engagement, 7-Eleven gains a big advantage in a highly competitive, low-margin retail vertical.”

Locking in a price
To use the app, consumers first need to have a 7-Eleven card that is loaded with funds. From within the app, users first choose the type of fuel they want to purchase and then search 7-Eleven stores in their area to find the lowest price.

Next, users can select how much gas they want and lock in the price. Users can only lock in as much fuel as there is money on their 7-Eleven card.

Finally, users scan the fuel voucher in the app at the counter of any 7-Eleven fuel store within seven days to redeem the locked-in price.

If the price of fuel goes lower than the locked in price before the voucher has been redeemed, users will pay the lowest price on the day they fill up.

Personalized offers
Leveraging VMob’s intelligent personalization platform, 7-Eleven is able to collect data from the app and other sources to offer each customer relevant deals.

The app shows how marketers can leverage mobile technology, such as location services, to provide utility and value for customers.

VMob is an intelligent cloud-based personalization platform built for the retail and quick-service restaurant segments.

The 7-Eleven Fuel App, which officially launched on March 3, is available to download for free on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

“The use of contextual data has brought about a new age of marketing, and businesses are indeed becoming more sophisticated in how they reach and engage their customers,” Mr. Bradley said. “In the era of the Internet of Things, in which connected devices enable businesses to learn more about their customers, stores must evolve their marketing strategies in order to keep pace and remain competitive.

“The ability to collect data from the growing number of mobile devices used by consumers allows marketers to gain a level of insight that wasn’t possible just a few years ago,” he said.