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    7-Eleven: From Convenience Store to Convenient Experience

    Special team seeks innovative partnerships.

    DALLAS — 7-Eleven Inc. is among the top convenience store chains in the United States, but company leaders want to make it a convenient experience as well. Its new mission is to make the everyday better, according to a Forbes report.

    "We have been meeting needs for 88 years by being a convenience store defined by products and services in-store," Rob Chumley, senior vice president of innovation, told the news outlet. "We now need to evolve to being a convenient store defined by the problems it solves — inside the store, outside the store, we meet people where they are."

    To accomplish this, Chumley is heading a 20-person innovation team that reports to 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto. The team is responsible for integrating potential solutions into a testing environment and scaling the viable ones into the larger overall organization, which makes the team more flexible and improves its ability to identify potential solutions, according to the report. Among its tools is a system that is designed to anticipate consumers' needs by reporting what is currently selling and not selling in real time.

    Chumley's team is responsible for 7-Eleven's partnership with KeyMe, whose kiosks allow users to avoid accidental lockouts by storing a digital copy of their keys in the cloud and creating a spare copy in less than 30 seconds if necessary, as CSNews Online previously reported. 7-Eleven houses KeyMe kiosks in numerous locations and participated in the company's recent round of funding.

    7-Eleven also teams with Greyhound on a service that lets customers order their bus tickets online, then pay for them and pick them up at 7-Eleven stores. This partnership developed after Chumley learned of Greyhound's high abandonment rate on online bookings, which may be because of a lack of payment options for unbanked or under-banked consumers.

    In July, 7-Eleven launched testing of on-demand delivery from certain San Francisco-area stores with mobile app-powered service Postmates, and is pursuing other technological innovations through 7-Ventures, the company's venture capital arm whose mission is to discover, partner and invest in consumer-facing technologies that complement 7-Eleven's core business strategy.

    "We're going from thinking about the transaction to thinking about the journey," Chief Marketing Officer Laura Gordon told Forbes. "Customers are expecting us to fit into their lives."

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