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7-Eleven taps beacons to chase runners into stores

The retailer’s efforts are due to a desire to promote healthy lifestyles and maintain a presence in the mobile fitness space, given the prevalence of consumers using their mobile phones to track their running. The technology works through a free mobile application available on iOS and Android devices.

“The setup for this promotion is well executed, which is important for engagement,” said Ben Reubenstein, president of Possible Mobile, Denver. “The location is a reasonable size and, with Singapore having a high concentration of smartphone users, they have an increased chance for success.

“At Possible, Does it Work? is an ideology that we live by whereby we continually measure projects to determine if they are meeting our intended goals,” he said. “For something like this, measurement of app downloads, user behavior within the app and actual beacon engagement would be the key indicators we’d look at to determine success.

“Additionally, we’d want to see how much revenue was actually driven to Pocari sales. Based on this data, the brand could refine the implementation and target the ROI more precisely.”

Combining health, technology
The app will be backed by the latest beacon technology and employ short-range wireless tech Bluetooth Low Energy. The retailer will set up the technology is all of its stores in Singapore.

The beacon device will provide area-specific content customization as well as a variety of interaction responses, which is determined by the distance a runner has completed.

The app also aims to make runs more interesting by allowing users to set goals through customized running courses.


The retailer’s stores will be marked in the app as hydration points, where runners can purchase Pocari Sweat. When users pass by a store, complete a running course, or make a Pocari Sweat purchase, they will receive participation points. The interactive experience also includes games such as Bingo, and users can earn tokens when they pass by stores as well.

The app and beacon system was developed by Japanese advertising agency Asatsu-DK Singapore Pte Ltd and digital production company AID-DCC Inc. Asatsu-DK chose 7-Eleven to roll out the beacon technology because of how it prioritizes customer service.

As consumers experiment more with mobile technology, 7-Eleven’s execution using beacons will aim to transform the customer experience.

The app, called Pocari Cross Run, is available for free download in the App Store and Google Play.

Aiming for innovation
The convenience store chain has continued to build up its mobile prowess with a promotion this summer that encouraged consumers to download its mobile application in exchange for snack rewards.

To celebrate consumer loyalty, 7-Eleven delivered free offers to app users during the week of its 87th birthday, which highlighted free Slurpee drinks and candy items to elicit in-store traffic. This activation supports 7-Eleven’s aggressive digital strategy as it experiments with mobile to find new and exciting ways to engage tech-savvy consumers (see story).

In 2013, 7-Eleven used a combination of different channels to drive in-store traffic and celebrate National Iced Tea Day.

The company gave away free Snapple tea for six days, beginning June 10 through June 15. The company also used the hashtag #Awesummer to spread the word (see story).

7-Eleven’s efforts using beacons are believed to be a good strategy.

“Many retailers in the U.S. are already employing location-based technology to improve their understanding of customer behavior as well as the user experience,” Mr. Reubenstein said. “Beacons are also getting practical with manufacturers like GE putting them into lights.

“This solves the problem of powering them and also allows retailers to more easily install them into existing infrastructure,” he said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York