How do they do IT? 7-Eleven keeps the motor running

7-Eleven’s point-of-sale system does much more than sell Slurpees. Georgina Swan talks to store systems manager, Tam McQuinlan, about how the company uses technology to stay convenient — and competitive

7-Eleven is using IT to do more than just sell Slurpees

7-Eleven is using IT to do more than just sell Slurpees

Contactless payment does away with the need to physically swipe or insert a card into a payment reader. It uses the EMV smartcard standard with services such as Visa Wave or Mastercard PayPass — customers wave their card across a reader and a radio frequency (RF) signal transfers payment information.

“For transactions under $30 customers can tap their card on the pin pad and the pinpad takes care of the rest. There is no signature, no pin number and the guarantees are borne by the banks. It is simplifies the EFT transaction from the store’s perspective and, from a customers perspective, it’s quickens the transaction considerably.”

Apart from being leading edge, contactless technology requires a degree of cultural change for retailers; employees are very used to taking a customer’s card as part of the transactional flow. That aside, McQuinlan said takeup and acceptance across stores had been amazing, requiring minimal training.

The company is looking at integrating the touchscreen on the pin pad into other electronic services, such as tollway top-ups.

“We are a little bit ahead of [customer] expectation,” McQuinlan said. “We still have a lot of customers coming in who don’t understand, or distrust, the technology but the more some of the larger retailers adopt the same technology — and fortunately, they’re a little bit behind us — the more customers are starting to use it.”

Under the arrangement with ANZ, the bank owns the pin pads and is responsible for support and keeping the technology up-to-date with EMV and PCI changes and compliance.

7-Eleven is now using its point-of-sale system to pilot food service offerings such as a barista service. This year, it also plans to focus on electronic browser-style, buy-one-get-one free, promotions.

“We are currently investigating the use of the QR-barcodes,” McQuinlan said, adding the company is working with Telstra on using the technology to drive promotions.

“We have selected a new scanner and we’re currently putting together a business case so we can scan a barcode on a telephone instead of having to hand out a paper voucher or plastic card. That’s an exciting technology.”

Fast Facts: 7-Eleven in Australia

  • 7-Eleven is a family-owned business in Australia — owned by the Withers and Barlow families.
  • 7-Eleven was the first franchised convenience store in Australia.
  • The first 7-Eleven store in Australia opened 24 August 1977 in the Melbourne suburb of Oakleigh.
  • There are more than 360 stores in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. About half the stores also sell fuel.
  • Annual sales of almost $1.5 billion.
  • Sells 6,600,000 Slurpees each year in Australia.
  • Uses SAP host systems.

This story first appeared in the April/May print edition of Computerworld Australia magazine. Subscribe now.

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Tags retailHow do they do IT?7-ElevenSlurpees

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