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7-Eleven uncaps loyalty convenience with QuickScan devices

Convenience store chain 7-Eleven is ramping up its mobile loyalty platform abroad by rolling out handheld QuickScan devices in Philippines bricks-and-mortar locations to read bar codes on consumers’ smartphones and enable them to redeem their rewards more quickly, pointing to mobile loyalty’s important role for food and beverage marketers.

The brand’s regional affiliate, Philippine Seven Corp., is deploying the scanners across 1,300 stores in the Asian country. 7-Eleven’s strategy of offering rewards to frequent shoppers ensures that sales stay up and in-store traffic remains consistent, and is a tactic that many other food and beverage marketers are also leveraging to maintain customer bases in the competitive sector.

“QuickScan devices make it easy to incorporate print media with digital media,” said Chester Ritchie, senior vice president at Worldpay U.S., Atlanta, GA. “A bar code can simply be added to a product, ad coupon, etc. and scanned at the point-of-sale.

‘This would then be combined with the rewards program for logging purposes. If traditional print media isn’t being targeted, NFC (Near Field Communication) devices are being used to support NFC-enabled cell phones to accomplish much of the same thing.”

Streamlining loyalty
The QuickScan devices, which are powered by Datalogic, are set to help 7-Eleven associates better serve customers by eliminating long lines and quickly reading bar codes from other mobile devices.

Mobile loyalty programs continue to gain steam as users appreciate the digital nature of coupons and other rewards, instead of having to print out physical copies and potentially misplace them.

“The customer demographic that frequents these types of stores is an especially high user of rewards programs,” Mr. Ritchie said. “Removing the friction from traditional rewards programs such as punch cards and coupons results in higher adoption of the rewards program.”

The brand revamped its 7Rewards program this past March by enabling guests to receive a free beverage for each six cups they purchase, a move that will reward frequent coffee purchasers and likely entice new consumers to become regular customers (see story). The platform will also help drive downloads of the brand’s mobile app, as consumers must be registered users to participate in 7Rewards.

7-Eleven is considered a market leader in the Philippines, with a 60 percent market share, meaning that it has a strong customer base to tap for its loyalty platform. The Philippines-specific program will be called Every Day! Rewards and will be powered by Datalogic.

However, some experts are concerned about the amount of consumers who use smartphones daily in the Philippines.

“An open question in my mind is whether there is a sufficient mass of smart phones in the Philippine market to support the program,” said Thad Peterson, senior analyst at Aite Group, Atlanta, GA. “The Philippines has approximately 39 percent penetration of smart phones, which isn’t bad, but that means that 60 percent of the phones in the market are feature phones which will probably not support delivery of bar codes for the QuickScan device to read.”

Social media blitz
Meanwhile, in its United States locations, the brand is leveraging a summer social media contest to ramp up awareness of its popular Slurpee frozen drinks. 7-Eleven is introducing four limited-edition Slurpee straws based on popular spirit animals: foxes, eagles, wolves and cats.

Fans of the beverage are encouraged to support their favorite spirit animal by taking a selfie with their straw and tagging it with the @7Eleven and @Slurpee handles on Instagram and Twitter, or sharing the photos on the brand’s Facebook page.

The brand has even delegated characteristics for each animal so that consumers may choose their straw more accurately. People who select the cat as a spirit animal are independent, selective and most likely to taste all Slurpee flavors before picking one, while the wolf suggests an intelligent person likely to develop their own Slurpee creation.

These types of tactics are usually effective in creating a personal relationship between the brand and consumer, which is paramount in driving sign-ups for mobile loyalty programs and also ensuring that customers stay active within the rewards app.

“According to recent industry research, the group average for mobile in-store payment growth is anticipated to quickly grow by 154 percent over the next few years,” Worldpay’s Mr. Ritchie said. “Combining a rewards program with these platforms is a logical extension of functionality that benefits the customer.

“Customers are more inclined to choose those retailers who accept their payment of choice and are rewarded as a result.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York