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7-Eleven stirs up beverage purchases with new in-app loyalty platform

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March 10, 2015

Customers can mix and match six beverages to receive a free drink

Customers can mix and match six beverages to receive a free drink

7-Eleven is driving purchases of its beverages while simultaneously rewarding customers for their loyalty by rolling out the 7Rewards platform within its mobile application, proving that food and beverage marketers must have a specific loyalty strategy to retain existing consumers.

The 7Rewards program will enable 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. The platform will also help drive downloads of the brand’s mobile app, as consumers must be registered users to participate in 7Rewards.

“We know our customers are always looking for choices, and 7Rewards offers more beverage variety than any other rewards program,” said Laura Gordon, vice president of brand innovation and marketing at 7-Eleven, Dallas, TX. “We are hopeful that the convenience and speed at which you can earn a free cup will be exciting for our customers and also attract new guests to our stores.

“We are already seeing positive conversation about this program on social media, and excitement is growing among our customers. People are very happy about the ‘buy 6 get 7’ program, especially Slurpee fans.”

Updated rewards
7-Eleven designed to the program to update its previous system of offering guests rewards cards, with “punches” each time a beverage was purchased. Now, cashiers will simply scan a barcode in the app for a “punch” to appear.

It will be visible to users a star within the 7-Eleven app, six of which are needed to trigger a notification saying “You earned a free cup.” The process will restart after the customer redeems his or her free beverage.

7-Eleven revamped its app in anticipation of the launch of 7Rewards, moving users’ scannable barcades and virtual punch cards to the app home screen for a streamlined, user-friendly interface.

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The updated 7-Eleven app easily displays rewards collected

The 7Rewards program enables customers to mix-and-match their drinks. Users can purchase a coffee, Slurpee and Big Gulp all in the same week and have each purchase count.

Customers can also buy six drinks at the same time and receive all six stars. Refills, as well as any size beverage, also count for 7Rewards.

The free beverage may be any size.

“Our customers tell us that 7-Eleven is recognized as a beverage destination, and we have a variety of products (7-Eleven coffee,  Slurpee, Big Gulp and Chillers drinks) that have appeal for any occasion,” Ms. Gordon said. “We designed 7Rewards to provide that convenience.

“Any cup counts to earn your 6 punches and an cup (product/size) can be redeemed for the 7th.  Your way is a signal that any size works as well,” she said.

“We recognize that consumers want different drinks at different times of the day and year, and our platform combined with the convenience of a mobile app serves those needs.”

Social component
7-Eleven is ensuring that it highlights the social component of the loyalty program by placing links to Twitter and Facebook on the home screen of the mobile app. This way, consumers will be able to tell their friends about the rewards they have accumulated.

The brand is also encouraging fans to follow the conversation on Twitter via the #7Rewards hashtag.

Users that would like to participate in 7Rewards may join by downloading the 7-Eleven app from Google Play or the iTunes App Store. They may also text “REWARDS” to 711711, which will send them a link for easy download.

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Consumers can redeem their free drink for the largest size, if desired

As 7-Eleven sees more than 60 percent of its guests buy a beverage with each in-store purchase, 7Rewards is a viable, specific platform that is likely to resonate positively with many of its customers. The brand’s strategy of focusing heavily on its beverages is also a strong tactic.

Its mobile app allows users to leverage the Slurpee Finder to locate their favorite flavors at a nearby bricks-and-mortar location.

While Starbucks may remain the leader of the mobile sector of food and beverage marketers, 7-Eleven’s free drink strategy may help it retain a stronghold in the space. The brand has also been experimenting with beacon technology in Singapore to track runners as they pass by a 7-Eleven location and offer rewards to drive in-store visits (see story).

“Being convenient today means having intuitive and easily accessible mobile platforms and experiences for our customers,” Ms. Gordon said. “The 7-Eleven customer is on the go and mobile by nature, and we are developing products, services and platforms to enable easier interaction and engagement with our brand in-store and online.”

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

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Alex Samuely is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at alex@mobilemarketer.com.

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