7-Eleven will be piloting its first cashierless store in Texas. Source: Shutterstock.

7-Eleven will be piloting its first cashierless store in Texas. Source: Shutterstock.

7-Eleven seems to be thinking about following in Amazon Go’s footsteps

COMPLACENCY is not something businesses can afford in this age of constant disruptions.

They must constantly be on the lookout for new technologies that can be leveraged to drive innovation and help them maintain a competitive edge.

Such is the case for the convenience store giant 7-Eleven. Recently, it announced that it will be piloting a cashierless, checkout-free store at its corporate headquarters in Irving, Texas — à la Amazon Go.

Currently, the 700-square-foot store is only accessible to employees. All that is required is for them to download an app and sign up, and they will be good to go.

The app gives them access to the store, where they can pick items out and leave immediately. A detailed receipt will be available on the app upon the customers’ exit from the store.

The concept store will use algorithms and predictive technology to distinguish and learn about a customer’s shopping preferences.

The first batch of items offered will include all of 7-Eleven’s flagship products, such as snacks, beverages, groceries, and over-the-counter drugs.

7-Eleven SVP and CIO Mani Suri has expressed confidence in this move.

“This in-house, custom-built technology is designed for our current and future customers. We continue to innovate, and coupling fresh, innovative, healthy food options with a frictionless shopping experience could be a game-changer.”

“Ultimately, our goal is to exceed consumers’ expectations for faster, easier transactions and a seamless shopping experience […] Introducing new store technology to employees first is a productive way to test and learn before launching to a wider audience. They are honest and candid with their feedback, enabling us to improve the experience.”

This is not the only project on 7-Eleven’s frictionless retail list.

The 7-Eleven Mobile Checkout, a project that allows customers to pay using smartphones and skip the checkout line, is being piloted at other locations.

Its new delivery service, 7NOW, is also currently available in 28 markets, where customers can purchase items online and have it delivered without them needing to leave their homes.

7-Eleven has gotten its priorities right with these projects.

The end value should always be customer experience- many companies fall into the trap of making high ROI the sole driver of strategies. The customer should always be at the forefront: after all, they are ultimately the ones that will be defining the industry.

Said 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto: “Retail technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and customer expectations are driving the evolution. Thus, our team will be dedicated to continuing 7-Eleven’s legacy of innovation with industry-leading digital solutions”.

This innovation-first mindset of 7-Eleven is something that all organizations can emulate.

It must also be kept in mind that the entire organization should be ‘in sync’ while running new projects.

This is crucial, because without a competent workforce, execution will be impossible.

Therefore, leaders must continuously upskill and empower their employees, and also remember that transformation trickles down from the top, and they must ultimately drive the change they want to see.