Convenience store chain 7-Eleven today announced updates to its off-premises business that include expanded delivery and an order/pay ahead feature for pickup orders placed through its 7NOW app.
The new pickup feature works much like pickup at a restaurant or grocery store would. Customers log into the app and select “pickup” instead of delivery, then place items in their cart and pay for them. The app notifies the user of the order’s progress and sends a four-digit code to show the clerk once the order is ready to be picked up.
The ability to order and pay for snacks, household supplies, and drinks ahead of time is becoming an increasingly mandatory feature in these pandemic-stricken days. Historically, convenience stores have catered more to spur-of-the-moment purchases, so it remains to be seen if the concept of ordering ahead will translate to this setting.
One thing the new feature does underscore is technology’s continued advancement on the convenience store format. Earlier this month, Aramark opened a convenience store in an apartment complex that features cashierless checkout tech from AWM Smart Shelf. DoorDash, meanwhile, has been delivering items from Circle K and Wawa as well as 7-Eleven, since the early(ish) days of the pandemic. The common denominator for all these developments is the emphasis on contactless transactions and minimizing human-to-human contact. Given the state of the world, the push to further integrate those things into every corner of daily life will continue for some time to come.
In the same announcement, 7-Eleven said it has doubled its delivery reach to 2,000 stores across 1,300 cities. At the moment, delivery is available through DoorDash, Postmates, Favor Delivery in Texas, and through the 7NOW app itself.