7-Eleven UAE’s business model has set the standard for neighbourhood convenience stores in the Middle East
Fundamental Elements Create Impeccable Standards
Project Manager:Josh Mann
Boasting more than 61,000 stores to its name in 18 countries and territories, Seven Emirates Investments LLC is embarking on an innovative 10-year business plan to expand its enterprise for bringing 7-Eleven to UAE.
The Company began its operations 90 years ago in Dallas, Texas and was known as The Southland Corporation until the corporate name was changed to 7-Eleven Inc in 1999. Since then it has continuously grown, producing excellence in franchise systems and high standards in its day-to-day operations.
In 2014 Seven Emirates Investment LLC concluded a master franchise agreement with 7-Eleven Inc to embark on launching 7-Eleven stores in the UAE, applying Japanese best practices with on-site support from an expert Japanese team of business consultants to implement this.
"The 7-Eleven business model places emphasis on fresh merchandise, innovative inventory management techniques and numerous technological improvements that have been successfully implemented in Japan,” explains Khamis Al Subousi, President at Seven Emirates Investments LLC. “In collaboration with 7-Eleven Inc. and 7-Eleven Japan, we opened our first store in October, 2015, located in downtown Dubai.”
It is hoped that the Company will become the business model in the UAE for neighbourhood convenience stores, with a long-term view of creating a service offering of modern and advanced convenience store services which will keep pace with the country’s economic and social development.
The Company is a purely local Company, and in the UAE it is continuing to develop and implement safe and comfortable neighbourhood convenience stores which are operational 24-seven and offer a wide variety of products and services to meet each customer’s needs.
“We really want to place a lot of emphasis on ensuring we can reach our customer’s requirements while also increasing their happiness during the shopping experience in our stores,” continues Al Subousi. “This, compounded by impeccable standards throughout our stores, sets us apart in the industry and is helping to compound our aims of becoming the standardised business model.”
The Company has created a one-stop-shop type environment within the neighbourhood convenience store sector, providing the customer with a wide offering of food & drink as well as special and exclusive products, laundry services, free Wi-Fi, free delivery, ATMs, a dining area and much more.
“Our market concentration strategy throughout all 7-Eleven stores is linked in with our promise to be there for our customers at all times,” adds Khan. “This includes fulfilling those requirements on the go, at the office, or in the comfort of their own homes.
“The diversity that we can offer at our 7-Eleven locations is essential for building and managing a network of retail stores that will be capable of handling all of our customers’ requirements, wherever their destination may be.”
Even with the nature of the industry that has products going in and out of style rapidly, 7-Eleven has honed a range of long-established, tried and tested product favourites which are modified from time to time. This reflects the belief of the Company that ‘people get tired of eating the same food everyday’, and based on that theory; it realigns its merchandise to suit people’s ever-changing tastes.
When adapting to the Japanese best practice which 7-Eleven stores have been built on, there are four fundamental elements which have been adopted in the UAE.
“The aim of our best practice adoption is to respond to the customer’s needs at all times with two primary goals; maximising customer happiness and managing our current inventory,” clarifies Al Subousi. “We follow a four-step process which includes product assortment, freshness, friendly service and cleanliness.”
In selecting various products which meet the needs of local customers it enables the Company to achieve its goal efficiently, consistently and to high standards. Having built a name for itself in the industry and with a trusted reputation, its fresh and reliable produce can be enjoyed safely.
“Tanpin Kanri is a Japanese word which means item by item management, and we believe that the core success of 7-Eleven Japan lies within the Tanpin Kanri process,” continues Al Subousi. “The approach we take to merchandising with Tanpin Kanri takes into consideration the demands placed on stores, on a store-by-store and product-by-product basis.
“Essentially, it empowers store-level retail clerks to tailor their suggested product assortments and make orders based on their own educated hypothesis of how elements such as the neighbourhood, weather, local events, time of day, advertising and other immediate and local factors will have an impact on the demand place upon them.“
Luxury customer services
The Company’s business technique and operational mechanism has been built to provide luxury customer services to all of its community members in the UAE; with its commitment to service excellence which is enabling it to increase the Company footprint on a regular basis.
“Currently we are studying strategic partnership opportunities with developers and hotels to identify attractive locations,” affirms Al Subousi. “Enhancing customer expectations and experience by continuing to develop our varieties of merchandise, while exploring other new options, has helped to firmly place us in the market as the one-stop-shop.”
As ever increasingly high population growth is being recorded in the country, compounded by an increasing number of tall office buildings being constructed, the demand on convenience stores is rapidly increasing.
For 7-Eleven stores this is absolutely perfect as the higher number of office workers require retail outlets where they will be able to purchase everything they need in one go during their work hours.
Al Subousi concludes: “This growth is driving us to focus our energies on the core business, following the demand of our customers looking for premium products; in particular the ‘grab and go’ items such as sandwiches and coffee. We continually listen to the demands of our customers and as we grow we will adapt our range to suit their needs and satisfy the demands they place upon our store.”