7-Eleven 1st Retailer in Canada to Launch Nationwide In-Store Mobile Checkouts: Interview

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7-Eleven, the pioneer in the convenience category, is making it even easier for consumers to buy items from its stores across Canada.

Norman Hower

The company has launched its 7-Eleven Mobile Checkout where consumers simply scan an item, pay and go – it’s the first retailer in the country to introduce this initiative chainwide.

“Our customers told us that they want more time to focus on the important things in their lives. We took that insight and developed 7-Eleven’s proprietary technology to create a full contactless shopping experience. We know this will help our customers save time and empower them to make the most of their day,” said Norman Hower, VP and GM of 7-Eleven Canada. “

“We’re reinventing convenience with the 7-Eleven Mobile Checkout and this is yet another example of how we’re developing digital innovation to actively exceed our customers’ needs.

“About 2018 we started looking at the technology and using our 7Rewards platform as the vehicle to enable the technology. With this application that we have, and 7-Eleven Mobile Checkout, customers can come in and basically check themselves out using their app and earn rewards points with that and get along with their day. If the store’s busy, they don’t have to wait in line. They really have the ultimate contactless experience . . . There’s no need to go to any self-checkout kiosk. The self-checkout kiosk is literally their phone . . . The process is pretty simple for stores and also for customers. Once they get the hang of it, it’s pretty darn easy.”

There are 616 branded stores across Canada from British Columbia to Ontario.

The use of the 7-Eleven Mobile Checkout is a simple process for consumers:

● Download the 7-Eleven mobile app from the App Store or Google Play or update your app to the latest version to ensure it has the Mobile Checkout capability;

● Register for or log into the 7Rewards® loyalty program;

● Open the app in a participating store and tap the “Mobile Checkout” icon on the home page;

● Scan the barcode on each product to add it to your basket. Discounts or promotions will be applied automatically;

● Pay for purchases in the app using Apple Pay, Google Pay or a debit or credit card; and 

● Confirm purchase by scanning the on-screen QR code at the confirmation station before you exit the store.

The new feature is available to all customers free of charge.

Hower said 7-Eleven currently has just under six million users on 7Rewards.

Canada is the second market to introduce the feature, after a successful launch and expansion in the US earlier this year. Since its inception in 2018, Mobile Checkout has been used by over one million 7-Eleven customers at all of its 3,000 participating U.S. stores.

“We really perfected the technology there and we are doing a countrywide blowout (in Canada). This isn’t a pilot. This is really a new way to offer customers convenience in 7-Eleven Canada stores. So it’s in every branded store in Canada,” said Hower.

“We know that other retailers are dabbling in this space. We’re the first retailer to roll out on this scale which is kind of exciting.

“Innovation has always been in our DNA. Customers were telling us when stores get busy or at different times of the day  . . . there can be lines and we want to find ways of cutting through that noise and giving customers a way to control their own experience . . . We also wanted to make it easy for the stores not to add new equipment or additional things that can bog down the store layout. Quite frankly, having your own phone and using your own device made a lot of sense. That was how the technology was formed . . . As we launch it too by the way we’re going to offer 10 times the points that they would get at the regular cashier. Encourage people to try it out, check it out, to see if they like it. We think it will.”

7-Eleven, which is based in Irving, Texas, operates, franchises and/or licenses in more than 77,000 stores in 18 countries, including nearly 17,000 in North America. 

Hower said 7-Eleven Canada has been operating for 52 years and plans are to continue to expand its footprint across the country.

“We’re going to continue to build traditional new stores. We’re going to continue to look for acquisition opportunities,” he said, adding that it launched in the summer its delivery app 7NOW.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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