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    7-Eleven Launches In-store TV Network, Global Wine Brand

    Retailer also buys Zooms stores in Virginia.

    DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. contracted with Digital Display Networks Inc. to create one of the nation's largest out-of-home digital networks, with monitors in more than 6,200 7-Eleven convenience stores throughout the United States and Canada.

    Upon its full deployment, 7-Eleven TV is expected to reach an estimated 190 million monthly viewers. The in-store network will feature around-the-clock programming with national and local entertainment news and weather reports, as well as exclusive content for convenience shoppers.

    Other original content will include commercials advertising 7-Eleven's proprietary brands, in-store and out-of-store brands and special promotions. Network programming will be divided into multiple dayparts to promote specific items at a time most relevant to customers.

    Two high-definition TV monitors with directional audio, heard only by consumers positioned in front of the monitors, are being installed in each store. The complete network is expected to be operational nationally by the fourth quarter 2010. Digital Display Networks is supervising installation, content production and advertising sales.

    "7-Eleven TV marks a new generation of advertising for us and will complement our external advertising programs," Kevin Elliott, 7-Eleven senior vice president of merchandising and logistics, said in a statement. "Communicating to customers directly in-store will enhance our effectiveness in promotion and trial of our foodservice offerings, proprietary and private-label products.

    "All of the network's content will be designed and created specifically for 7-Eleven and our customers, giving us a vehicle for very targeted advertising and programming."

    Digital out-of-home networks are an emerging platform that deliver content-rich promotional messages at the point of purchase, noted Thomas L. Harrison, chairman and chief executive officer of Diversified Agency Services, Omnicom Group Inc. "The creation of 7-Eleven TV truly establishes the relevance of this advertising medium as a vital channel for brands seeking to engage shoppers and effectively motivate them to purchase."

    According to industry statistics, digital out-of-home networks have experienced significant growth over the past several years, noted Darren Mann, co-CEO of Digital Display Networks. "The ability of these networks to drive purchase at the point-of-sale and generate incremental revenue for retailers through advertising is the foundation for this growth. Because of its ability to generate some 2.3 billion consumer impressions annually, the 7-Eleven TV network approaches the national networks in viewership but, even better, reaches them when they are actually in a shopping environment and able to make a purchase."

    Digital out-of-home advertising is expected to average double-digit year-over-year growth through 2011 and is projected to exceed $3.5 billion in spending in 2009, according to PQ Media of Stamford, Conn.

    In other 7-Eleven news, the retailer made its first foray into global merchandising, as 7-Eleven and Seven-Eleven Japan are jointly launching Yosemite Road Wines. The chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon wines, available while supplies last, are produced by The Wine Group exclusively for 7-Eleven stores and its parent company, Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd. of Tokyo.

    Also participating in the launch and carrying the new beverages are Ito-Yokado supermarkets and hypermarkets, York Benimaru supermarkets in northern Japan, Shell Garden upscale grocery stores, Denny's family restaurants, and Seibu and Sogo department stores, retail outlets that are subsidiaries of Seven & i, a $57.6 billion corporation. Seven & i has annual wines sales of $127 million.

    After researching the most frequently purchased products at their stores, the merchandising counterparts under the Seven & i umbrella selected wine to inaugurate its global product development and procurement plan. Value-priced wines, those under $5, have been gaining in popularity and enjoying double-digit sales growth at 7-Eleven stores as consumers continue to search for value in their purchasing decisions, the retailer noted.

    Available in the companies' collective 15,000 convenience, department and grocery stores, the introduction of the two California wines is the culmination of a collaborative, global merchandising effort for the world's largest convenience retailer. The same-day launch marks the first global product designed and developed exclusively for Seven & i stores. Suggested retail price for a standard 750-milliliter bottle is $3.99 in the United States ($4.99 in Florida due to state taxes) and 598 yen in Japan.

    "The development and production of Yosemite Road wines was a global team effort and is just the beginning," Elliott said. "By using our collective purchasing power to negotiate product exclusivity and pricing, we can meet customer demand for quality and value, as well as differentiate our brand from the competition."

    The around-the-world venture began in earnest this year with a series of video conferences followed by multiple trips to California's wine country, the retailer noted in a statement. Leveraging its sheer scale and sourcing capabilities, 7-Eleven approached The Wine Group, the world's third-largest wine producer, with the mission to craft two quality, affordably priced varietal wines.

    Award-winning winemakers John Willumson and Jim McDonald were tapped for the task. The vintners created a chardonnay, described as fresh and zesty with notes of apricot, peach and honey, and a full-bodied cabernet sauvignon with juicy plum overtones.

    Meanwhile, 7-Eleven Inc. acquired Zooms Inc., a convenience store operator with 13 locations in Virginia, according to a report in The Virginia-Pilot.

    Although most sites operate as local franchises, the retailer will run them as corporate stores for now, David Erbe, 7-Eleven's market manager on the peninsula, told the newspaper. A request by CSNews Online for more information from 7-Eleven was not answers by press time.

    Zooms executives at the company's headquarters in Hampton confirmed the sale. All Zooms stores have closed, the newspaper reported. Most will remain shut for two to three weeks while they are remodeled and reopened as 7-Eleven stores.

    Locations in Poquoson and Gloucester, Va., were scheduled to reopen this week, then close again in a month or two for remodeling, Erbe told the newspaper.

    Related News:

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    International News: 7-Eleven Exits Ottawa with Sale to Quickie C-stores

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