7-Eleven Singapore stores know how to keep their customers catered for
Louise Banham speaks to two 7-Eleven stores in Singapore to find out how one of the best-known global convenience chains is adapting to changing shopper habits.
Marina Bay / Icon Village, Singapore
800sq ft / 1,400sq ft
With 400 stores in Singapore, 7-Eleven is the largest convenience store network in the country and has been expanding rapidly over the past couple of years.
One of the new additions this year is a concept store in the Marina Bay area – predominately an office-worker location, but with a large residential complex opening soon nearby. District manager Juliet Zhang says the 800sq ft store was opened at the start of the year with a view to capitalising on the influx of residents.
“We were taking $3,000 a day, but after Chinese New Year, sales went up to $5,000,” she says. Azmi Mohd, senior district manager, adds: “The evenings are very quiet, but once the residents start to move in, we’re expecting it to be busier in the evening. We want to get it up to $6,000-7,000 a day.” The store has an average basket spend of $7.40 (£4.44).
A 1,400sq ft store in Icon Village, meanwhile, is more established. “We opened up this store as there was just one grocery store here at the time and we wanted to cater for everyone’s convenience needs,” explains field consultant Jonathan Salas. “But we’ve adapted over the years.
“Around this area there are a lot of gyms – every hotel has one – and the local community wants to be healthy, so we’ve brought in healthy snacks on the go. Our fresh is growing by 34% year on year.”
Both stores have focused on the ready-to-eat market. They are following 7-Eleven’s strategy to continually create and provide a wide range of ready-to-eat food to cater for the growing number of Singaporeans not cooking at home and instead looking for fuss-free dining options.
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Between 2017 and 2018, the company grew its ready-to-eat category by 13.8%. It has a 60-strong range of products, from sandwiches and onigiri (Japanese rice balls) to fruit and freshly prepared ready meals that target different times of the day.
Jonathan says a renovation carried out in August 2018 was used to expand from one chiller to two for food to go, and that 15% of the store’s growth has come from the chiller alone. Demand for fresher food has also resulted in a move away from bringing in frozen lines to bake in store, to buying it in chilled.
As part of the 2018 refit, they rented two additional units to bring in a seating area that offers charging points and wash-basins. He adds that as the store is surrounded by restaurants, their focus is on being the most convenient and cheapest.
Jonathan points out that the store also stands out from others with its unique cold room for beers and wines. “Normally, you only see beers in chillers, but we wanted to make it different. A lot of our customers now buy from the cold room regularly, and they buy in bulk,” he says.
7-Eleven has identified a significant leaning towards male shoppers (65%), so it is working to attract more women through its health and beauty offer. This includes improving its PoS, bringing in exclusive products, and for the Marina Bay store specifically, matching the range to its hotel-guest and local-worker shopper needs with smaller formats and travel packs.
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Through 7-Eleven, the stores are also capitalising on customer demand for imported and uniquely flavoured products. They both stock new lines from the company’s own-label range, 7-Select, including specialist Japanese and American snacks that are exclusive to the company.
While trying to stock all of the latest trends, a challenge for Marina Bay is fitting it in. At 800sq ft, with a small stock room, the staff have come up with an effective way to store products and restock the shop floor. In the storage room, all products are placed in numbered crates that can be wheeled out on to the shop floor for restocking. The number on the crate corresponds with a number on the shelf, making replenishment simple for the staff.
“It really helps to ensure we can get the shelves filled up quickly,” Juliet adds.
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