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    7-Eleven Expands Partnership with NCR

    Deal includes electronic shelf labels to help managers track store inventory and sales.

    DALLAS -- Dayton, Ohio-based NCR Corp. has agreed to supply electronic shelf labels (ESLs) to convenience store giant 7-Eleven Inc. The chain will test the labels at its "lab store" in the Dallas suburb of Plano.

    The labels are wireless digital tags that can be attached to store shelves or other fixtures, displaying pricing and other information in large, clear characters. They are linked to the same computer file used by the store's checkout terminals and bar code scanners.

    The NCR ESLs have been installed as part of 7-Eleven's ongoing efforts to improve customer service and enhance store operational efficiency. "Making our customers' shopping experience more convenient is a hallmark of the 7-Eleven success story," said Keith Morrow, vice president of information systems for 7-Eleven stores. "NCR RealPrice fits this model because it provides shoppers with a clear display of the product description and the price. ESLs also help reduce the likelihood of a product not being available because the tags serve as an item place-holder on the shelves."

    The use of ESLs can also help stores better manage expenses and implement more profitable pricing strategies.

    "During this pilot, we expect a measurable reduction in the time and cost associated with replacing generic shelf tags and item-level stickers for products in the freezer, vault, candy and nutritional aisles," said Chet Scott, 7-Eleven information systems project manager. "We also anticipate a payback from the ability to quickly execute special promotions and make price changes in smaller increments."

    Financial terms weren't disclosed.

    This is the second piece of significant business NCR secured this summer from 7-Eleven. In July, the chain chose NCR to build, install and provide maintenance for Web-enabled kiosks at 1,000 7-Elevens nationwide.

    7-Eleven is experimenting with other technology at its lab store that includes state-of-the-art gasoline dispensers equipped with monochrome monitors that prompt the customer through each step of a transaction; a car wash with a sonic sensor and laser beam that measures the position of a car and its size for best washing results; a drive-through window that opens to the customer when the sales associate touches a bar sensor and interrupts a light beam; an automatic ice delivery system for its proprietary beverage equipment; coffee dispensers that alert staff when it's time to refill and that use "soft heat" to retain product quality longer; and wireless travel directions.

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