LONDON — The operator of 7-Eleven Denmark took home the 2019 NACS International Convenience Retailer of the Year Award during an awards ceremony on June 6.
Reitan Convenience Denmark accepted the award, which recognizes an innovative and successful international convenience store that breaks new ground and sets new innovative standards for the industry, during the NACS Convenience Summit Europe in London.
The award winner is chosen by a grand jury of leading international retailers and experts and earns the accolade of "the best convenience store in the world." Jack Link's sponsored the award.
"Jack Link's is extremely proud to sponsor the International Convenience Retailer of the Year Award. At Jack Link's we ensure that the customer is at the heart of our plans, and by continually adapting and innovating with new products, we ensure we stay relevant to ever-changing shopper needs," said David Harriman, regional sales director UK/Ireland and Nordics at Jack's Links.
"Reitan Convenience Denmark has adopted and innovated its own offering to meet changing customer needs, standing out from its competition. The brand is a well-deserved winner of this prestigious award," he added.
According to NACS, the Association of Convenience & Fuel Retailing, Reitan Convenience Denmark transformed its way of doing business to stay relevant in Denmark's competitive c-store marketplace.
The digitalization movement, from online versions of newspapers and magazines to online purchases of transportation tickets, has had a huge impact on Reitan's business.
"Categories that used to be very good for us started declining," said Jesper Ostergaard, CEO of Reitan Convenience Denmark, which operates 7-Eleven stores. "We had to decide whether we wanted to accept that 7-Eleven was becoming less and less relevant for consumers, or whether we wanted to prosper and survive."
The company used market research to identify areas of growth, which included beverages and foodservice, as well as healthier options. What followed was a total revamp, and to fulfill the new vision, the 7-Eleven Denmark store grew from a traditional kiosk into a modern c-store format with dedicated areas for in-store eating.
In addition, 7-Eleven Denmark is tapping into the consumer demand for fresh, healthy food options by stocking more organic products like fair-trade coffee served with organic fresh milk in 100-percent plant-based cups.
The stores now carry more than 64 SKUs of vegan and vegetarian ranges, while the packaging of all products utilizes environmentally friendly solutions whenever possible.
"Every time a customer came into our store, we wanted to surprise them with products they perhaps didn't even know they wanted," Ostergaard said.
As part of the revamp, more food is prepared fresh on-site, and an extensive grab-and-go section is stocked with private-label fresh salads, wraps, sandwiches, juice, smoothies, fruit and snacks. Thirty-five percent of in-store sales of food, drinks and bakery come from healthier product lines, according to the company.
Technology & Corporate Ops
The retailer also relies on its employees to showcase the store format and its offers. Through gamification, staff receive training, and with more fresh food prepared on-site they also receive extensive training in food safety, while a trained chef manages the food category.
Technology also plays an important role in helping customers navigate and choose products, with digital platforms providing nutritional information.
As NACS noted, 7-Eleven Denmark ties deals and loyalty initiatives into its app, which has led to a significant increase in the number of downloads. The c-stores accept mobile payment, and some high-traffic locations allow self-scan and pay options.
"We have become more relevant to more customers than we have ever been in the last 25 years," Ostergaard said.
Home delivery via a third-party delivery service is also available in select markets.
"Reitan Convenience Denmark joins a prestigious group of retailers selected to receive this award, which marks the best in convenience retailing," said Henry Armour, NACS president and CEO. "An aggressive growth strategy with a focus on critical areas — healthy foodservice, technology and its employees — has allowed it to prosper. Reitan Convenience Denmark continues to enhance the customer shopping experience through its innovative strategies."
To view Reitan's winning store concept, click here.