TECHNOLOGY

Convenience store giant makes a move to go cashier-less

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

7-Eleven is the newest retailer to throw its hat into the mobile checkout ring.

The convenience store giant on Monday launched a pilot program that enables customers to use their smartphone to pay for merchandise. Customers that visit 14 stores in the Dallas area can use the Scan & Pay feature in the 7-Eleven app to pay for merchandise that doesn’t require cashier assistance. (Merchandise including hot foods, financial services and age-verified products such as alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets are not part of the program.)

Here’s how the program works: Customers must be members of the 7Rewards loyalty program to participate. Once they are enrolled, they launch the 7-Eleven mobile app and tap “Start Scanning” at the bottom of the home page. As long as customers are within the geo-fenced area in or around one of the 14 pilot stores, they will be able to scan items with a barcode using the guides on their phone screen.

Items are automatically added to their basket, along with any discounts or promotional pricing. The program also enables customers to automatically earn and redeem any available 7Rewards points or coupons.

Users pay for purchases using Apple Pay, Google Pay or a traditional debit or credit card. Scan & Pay stations, which feature clear shopping bags, are located in the store. Once they pay for their purchases, customers scan the QR code that appears on the confirmation screen at the Scan & Pay station and go.

7-Eleven first tested mobile self-checkout at its Store Support Center store. The company plans to expand the service to additional cities in 2019.

7-Eleven calls itself the first c-store chain to develop proprietary technology to deliver “a full frictionless payment experience” from start to finish.

“Our customers are on the go, looking for faster, more convenient ways to shop more than ever before,” said Gurmeet Singh, chief digital officer and CIO at 7-Eleven. “7-Eleven continues to redefine convenience by providing frictionless experiences for our customers with Scan & Pay. Our customers can now use their smartphone to skip the line, every time.”

The program coincides with the convenience store retailer’s ongoing digital enhancements, including the launch of its mobile delivery app, 7Now, in New York City in August. The program, which enables customers to place orders for delivery or pick them up in-store, debuted at select Dallas in December 2017. 7-Eleven plans to expand the service to Washington, D.C., followed by a national expansion.

The retailer also continues to expand its 7Rewards app-based customer loyalty program, and in November 2017, the company integrated its 7-Eleven Bot on Messenger, which allows users to engage with the brand from within Facebook.

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