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    7-Eleven May Extend Mobile Marketing Test

    Meanwhile, c-store chain renews payment processing contract with Heartland Payment Systems.

    DALLAS -- While convenience store chain 7-Eleven Inc. is most of the way through a two-month trial of mobile coupons in approximately 200 7-Elevens in San Diego, company officials could be preparing to extend the moile marketing trial, according to a report on StoreFrontBackTalk.com

    The trial, which began Nov. 1, is slated to end Dec. 31, 2009. Daniel May, 7-Eleven marketing manager in charge of the trial, told the Web site the results so far have been positive and that the chain is "possibly expanding this, going somewhere else next year," referring to launching a new trial outside of the San Diego area, the report stated. The chain outsourced many of the trial's logistics to a mobile marketing firm called GMR Marketing.

    The trial was designed to test several concepts, including whether or not consumers would be comfortable using their phones in such a way, and to attract Gen Y/Millennial consumers, according to the report.

    "Our marketing programs try to reach [consumers] where they are, by radio and outdoors, when they're in the car, at movies and sporting events, or online at Facebook, Twitter and slurpee.com," Rita Bargerhuff, 7-Eleven's vice president and chief marketing officer, said in the report. "Mobile marketing is the next step to reach our target customers: the Millennials who don't go anywhere without their phones."

    During the test, 7-Eleven has avoided some of the read-rate accuracy problems that have plagued other retailers' trials by determining the make, model and carrier of a phone before trying to scan the marketing message's displayed barcode. It then adjusts the scan parameters to be the most effective for that particular device, according to the report.

    Both May and TJ Person, a senior vice president at GMR and in charge of the 7-Eleven trial, said that the accuracy has been reported to be quite strong thus far. "We have seen no issues with the stores scanning coupons," May said.

    And if the barcode doesn't scan, the consumer can read the redemption number to the store associate, or give the employee their phone, who then can manually enter it into the point-of-sale.

    In other 7-Eleven news, the retailer recently signed a seven-year contract extension with Heartland Payment Systems for credit and debit card payment processing, the vendor stated.

    "Over the past two years, 7-Eleven has realized the benefits of Heartland's efficient, state-of-the-art card processing capabilities -- and importantly, its responsive service," David Seltzer, 7-Eleven's vice president and treasurer, said in a statement. "Heartland professionals are available whenever we need assistance, and their knowledge of the convenience and petroleum industries is critical for our operations and delivery of superior shopping experiences for our customers."

    Under the extension, Heartland will continue authorizing and settling credit and debit card transactions for more than 5,800 7-Eleven-branded convenience stores nationwide, according to the company.

    Bob Carr, Heartland chairman and chief executive officer, added: "7-Eleven is the nation's ultimate main street merchant, bringing convenience and value to the lives of millions of consumers. 7-Eleven's customers expect the convenience of quick and accurate card transactions. We are pleased to continue supporting this industry leader and its customer-centric approach."

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