7-Eleven Australia is set to expand its mobile checkout payment option to more convenience stores from mid-year, part of a drive to make 28 percent of all transactions it processes digital by 2030.
The ‘cashless and cardless’ concept - branded mobile checkout - first started trials two years ago at a store in the inner Melbourne suburb of Richmond, and has since been expanded before to a ‘microformat’ store in Brisbane.
Head of digital innovation Paul Wallace told Adobe Summit that the mobile checkout service would be introduced to more convenience stores this year.
However, unlike the first trial stores, which are completely cashierless, newer pilot locations would offer a choice of either smartphone scanning and checkout or the regular over-the-counter service.
“We're just in the midst now of going 'what does that experience look like in our traditional format',” Wallace told the summit.
“Giving customers the choice that we'll still have our counter there, but around about the middle of this year, we're going to start piloting [cashless] through our My 7-Eleven [app] experience.”
Wallace said the idea of introducing ‘scan, pay and go’ into regular stores was about getting people in and out faster.
“Speed of service is really important for us,” he said.
“Our average customer used to be 60 seconds, [but] I think now it's 90 seconds in-store because of coffee.
“But it's really important - how do we get them in and out as quickly as we can, and still deliver a good experience?”
While noting there were similar services available in the grocery sector, notably Woolworths’ scan and go app, Wallace said the convenience sector was particularly suited to smartphone-based self-checkout.
“Our transactions are very different to, say, a supermarket,” he said.
“Customers are coming in to grab and go, so the actual proposition is quite high, because it's one or two items, and a customer can leave the store without having to line up or queue, if there was a queue at the point of sale.”
Stretch goal for digital payments
Smartphone-based payment is one avenue that 7-Eleven Australia is pursuing under a broader ambition to transact a lot more digitally.
“We want to drive around about 28 percent of our transactions to be digital by 2030,” he said.
That ambition - and an ongoing digital transformation underpinned by a largely Adobe and Microsoft stack - is pushing the retailer into new channels, including an e-commerce play, and on-demand delivery in two metro areas.
Part of the push is also to reach customers that don’t set foot in its stores.
“In this world, we can't rely on customers to come to us and be a bricks-and-mortar establishment that is convenient 24x7,” general manager of strategy and technology Stephen Eyears said.
“We needed to figure out more ways to go to them.”
This is more than partly driven by changing consumer behaviour around what they consider to be convenient.
“When we talk to our customers and ask them what convenience means to them, they don't talk about QSRs [quick service restaurants, or ‘fast food’], and they don't talk about fuel retailers,” Wallace said.
“They talk about Uber Eats, and they talk about Commbank and these digital-native brands that make their lives easier.
“So I think when we look at our customer experience, we're not just thinking, what is the physical experience? We're going, ‘how do we deliver a more convenient experience for our customers from the start to the end’, and if that involves a mixture of physical and online experiences to complete a transaction, that's certainly the shift, and has always been part of the conversations and ideas that we've had within within the team.”
The tie-ins are likely to be introduced as new features to the My 7-11 app, and will increasingly use personalisation, powered by Adobe tools, to reach consumers.
“The real core aspect and customer insight that drove us to begin with was around 'know me',” Wallace said.
“We wanted our customers to feel like we knew them and could build it into a really personalised experience in-store.”
“Some of the elements, for example, with our mobile checkout, we're running offers at the moment through My 7-11 that are driven and personalised through [Adobe] Campaign.
“When mobile checkout launches, we're already thinking - and this was actually from the Adobe team, one of their suggestions - how do we use that same capability to drive personalised offers, maybe on the transactional receipts of mobile commerce?”