Franchisees and franchisor partnering to drive innovation success at 7-Eleven
7-Eleven Australia is making major investments in technology and innovation to set itself up to continue to lead the convenience market in the years ahead.
The investment is focused on the customer, to ensure that the technology supports customer needs across bricks and mortar stores and digital interactions.
The company’s technology ambition is all about making customers’ lives easier by providing products and services when, where and how they want them.
7-Eleven’s franchisees and their teams not only benefit from the insight and sales building opportunities the technology provides, but also play a significant role in testing, implementation and customer engagement.
Nouman Khan is a second generation 7-Eleven franchisee, who has been with the network as a franchisee for more than 15 years. Starting in convenience in his father’s 7-Eleven store when he was young, Nouman now owns and operates two 7-Eleven stores in Minto and Bankstown in Sydney.
Mr Khan says that embracing digital such as the new My 7-Eleven app with integrated fuel price lock, offers, loyalty and personalised rewards adds value to his regular customers, as well as attracting new and repeat customers to the brand overall.
7-Eleven innovation success
“Having a business wide digital system makes it simpler to consistently reward my customers and give them extra value,” Mr Khan said.
“We are all creatures of habit, and this app can help establish that initial connection with my store and 7-Eleven. It gives people reasons to try 7-Eleven and to keep choosing our stores over the competition.”
The simplicity of the app is critical to both customer and team member engagement.
“When the technology is simple to use, like the My 7-Eleven app, it’s easier to have a conversation with a customer, or to show them on your own phone how it might benefit them,” he said.
“When it’s simple and easy to use for everyone, the confidence level is high and that makes it easy for team members to have conversations about value, freebies and rewards with customers.
His expertise as both a franchisee and in convenience retail means he often plays a role in testing, and providing feedback for new innovations being developed by 7-Eleven.
“One of the most important aspects of any new innovation’s success is how easy it is at store level. If it’s too hard operationally team members aren’t as confident to talk to customers about it. You get customer disappointment if something that’s advertised isn’t delivered well too,” he says.
“Bringing a franchisee perspective to changes being rolled out identifies operational constraints. That in-store perspective sees any problems that need resolving or things that might be improved.
“We are the face of the brand for customers so we have a lot of insight into what might work for them and what would be pain points. We all benefit when innovation is successful.”
In the 7-Eleven network, in addition to the business advice and coaching provided, franchisees share knowledge and support each other. This is critical when innovations are being rolled out.
“I think when franchisees see their peers embracing innovation it creates a sense of ease that it’s possible to be done. They can relate to their peers, and sometimes just want to talk to another franchisee to ask questions or provide feedback.
Mr Khan also believes innovation success is heavily influenced by the franchisees and leaders in stores.
“There’s tools, training and even videos that 7-Eleven provides, which are important, but as the leader of my businesses, it’s up to me to ensure that innovations are successfully implemented in my stores,” Mr Khan said.
“If the franchisee or store leader is on board with the innovation, the rapport you have with your team means they embrace it a lot quicker and faster.
“It’s key that I talk with my team about new initiatives, the benefits to our customers. Once the customer is at the heart of those conversations, everything else falls into place.”