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Blog Series
10/27/2022

7-Eleven Flexes Its Innovation Muscle Once Again

Gulp Media focuses on the immediate consumption purchase.
Melissa Kress
Executive Editor
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7-Eleven forecourt

7-Eleven Inc. has been on the forefront of convenience since it entered the channel 95 years ago. It is obvious that innovation is at the center of the company's go-to-market philosophy. According to the retailer, it was the first to feature a self-serve soda fountain, the first convenience store to sell gas, and the first to sell fresh coffee in to-go cups.

More recently, the company's innovation focus has taken it into the technology realm — mobile checkout is available in more than 3,000 stores, and its 7Now delivery service is available across the United States. The Irving, Texas-based retail giant also took e-commerce in the channel to a new level with the launch of 7Collection, a specially curated online merchandise shop that features exclusive apparel and accessories inspired by 7-Eleven and its fan-favorite products like Big Gulp and Slurpee.

Now, it has entered the retail media space with Gulp Media. During the P2PI LIVE event, held by Convenience Store News sister brand Path to Purchase Institute on Oct. 18 in Chicago, 7-Eleven's Director of Brand and Customer Insights Ben Tienor explained that Gulp Media differs from many retailer media networks in the market because it focuses more on fulfilling immediate consumption purchase occasions vs. stock-up trips.

According to Tienor, immediate consumption occasions are not necessarily based on brand loyalty. Retailers can connect with those customers by tapping into fandoms, passion points, hobbies and interests, he said. Thinking of ways to enhance its customers' interests, particularly the sports experience, is key to how 7-Eleven is building its retailer media network.

Understandably, not all c-store operators have the resources to launch their own media network, but they can — and should — take note of the thinking behind 7-Eleven's latest innovation and explore ways to integrate that thinking into their operations.

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