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    7-Eleven Turns to Public for New App Capability Ideas

    C-store chain asks for consumer input to improve its functionality.

    DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. is seeking public feedback regarding the future launch of its updated smartphone application (app).

    The convenience store chain's recently released app, available for Apple and Android operating systems, features the Idea Hub, where consumers can share ideas about how to improve their user experience. The Idea Hub is divided into four categories for suggestions: General, Stores, Events and Coupons.

    Users can submit an idea and/or vote on one previously submitted. According to 7-Eleven, the most mentioned ideas thus far include adding mobile payment capabilities, more coupons, individual store reviews, a membership loyalty program, nutritional information and local gas prices.

    "We looked at how people shop [at] our stores and patterned the app to improve their 7-Eleven experience," said Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven's executive vice president of merchandising, marketing, logistics and innovation. "It's all about building convenience, and we continue to want to hear what capabilities customers would like to see in the future. We will add enhancements and refinements based on customers' suggestions."

    The initial 7-Eleven app, launched in February, features a store-location finder, mobile coupons, selected products and news on store events and specials. The c-store retailer since added the ability for consumers to "check in" via the foursquare social media site.

    The store-location finder is different than those of many other retailers, stated 7-Eleven. In addition to finding the nearest store, this feature allows customers to filter their results and determine which 7-Eleven location offers hot foods, beer, wine, lottery, an ATM machine, a Redbox DVD rental kiosk and more.

    "Right now, the app helps people find a store, solve a problem, get a deal and talk to us," said Steve Holland, 7-Eleven's chief technology and digital officer. "Future development of this app will be completely customer driven, so this is their opportunity to tell us what they want, from mobile payments to rewards programs, and let us know about their experience in our stores."

    Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. operates, franchises or licenses more than 10,000 stores in North America.

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