Officials at 7-Eleven pride themselves on their ongoing efforts around innovation. One recent example of that is when the company revamped its 7Rewards loyalty program.

Loyalty360 talked to Tarang Sethia, Senior Director of CRM & Loyalty at 7-Eleven, about the new program.

What factors prompted 7-Eleven to revamp 7Rewards and what are your goals for the expanded offering from a customer engagement perspective?
Sethia: 7-Eleven has a history of innovation. We were the first to offer to-go coffee cups, operate for 24 hours a day, and have a self-serve soda fountain. We plan to continue our legacy of innovation and redefine convenience through digital. Our original 7Rewards program was already extremely successful with 9 million users enrolled. The original program was a buy six cups and get the seventh cup free promotion, but we wanted to give our customers more value on more than just cups as well as a reason to scan their app during every transaction.

We have expanded the 7Rewards loyalty app to a points program, which will allow customers to earn and redeem even more on a wider variety of products. Customers today want quick, relevant, effortless, and valuable rewards. To ensure this, we introduced a dynamic menu that covers 80 percent of our store products providing an accelerated way to get hundreds of points through bonus offers, as well as integrate ourselves into our customer’s ecosystem. Our goal is to ensure every visit and interaction our customers have with 7-Eleven is valuable and delightful. We continue to enhance and improve the 7Rewards program by adding even more product personalization to each user’s experience to provide them with what they want, when, where, and how they want it.

How did you survey your customers before this launch?
Sethia: Before the 7Rewards points program launch, we leveraged the Voice of the Consumer. During the original 7Rewards cups program we gathered customer feedback and ran customer focus groups testing concepts against existing 7Rewards members, 7-Eleven shoppers that were not loyalty members, and non-7-Eleven shoppers. We also tested every feature of the app with hundreds of customers to help us choose the design. After reviewing our findings and research, we responded to our customer insights by expanding the 7Rewards loyalty app to a points program where customers can earn and redeem even more. We will continue to strive to be the best customer loyalty possible that makes every user experience valuable and delightful.

How important is mobile to the company from a customer engagement/customer experience perspective?
Sethia: Customers today are time starved and connected 24/7–they are demanding more products and services that are not only convenient but also a part of their ecosystem. 7-Eleven is constantly researching and developing new ways we can reach our customers in a manner that makes it easy for them to engage with our brand. For example, we recently collaborated with Facebook and Conversable to provide customers with an alternative way to sign up for our loyalty program. Customers can now simply message the 7-Eleven Bot on Facebook Messenger to receive a digital loyalty card, locate a store, or sign up for the 7Rewards program. Or, they can go to 7Rewards.com to enroll, earn, and redeem. Customers can also order 7-Eleven products for delivery through its expanded collaboration with Postmates. We continue to research and test other ways we can solve problems that customers have or have not expressed. We want to leverage mobile device to know and serve the customer better. We are committed to solving all of customers’ convenience needs and helping them make their everyday better. By creating these experiences in the consumer’s ecosystem, our customer can enjoy our 7-Eleven brand and products in a way that is most convenient for them.

What does customer loyalty mean to 7-Eleven and has that definition evolved in recent years?
Sethia: Customer loyalty is an extremely important component of our company. At 7-Eleven, we constantly ask ourselves, “What problem can we solve for our customers?” We use a ‘Design Thinking’ approach to create delightful experiences for consumers. Technology is shaping how consumers interact with brands and their demands continue to change and rise. We strive to bring 7-Eleven to where our consumers need us and make every interaction valuable and delightful. Our loyalty program allows us to create an easier process for our customers to engage with us, find us, and interact with us whenever, and wherever, they please.

What makes 7Rewards so unique now and more engaging?
Sethia: The 7Rewards program has been enhanced and is now even more engaging than before. The points program has gamified the customer experience, allowing customers to earn and redeem points on an expanded assortment of products. Along with earning and redeeming more, when customers receive digital coupons they do not even have to move it to their basket–instead, the discount is automatically applied at checkout without the customer having to do anything.

With more than 55 million customers worldwide and 20 billion transactions per day, 7-Eleven has valuable information that we can use to know and serve our customer better through an improved intimate relationship with customers by customizing their user experience. This will allow us to ensure we are offering each customer the products they want or need, when and where they want. We are also offering various ways customers can join the program:  download the app from the Apple Store or Google play, chat with the 7-Eleven Bot on Facebook Messenger or use the online mobile website—7Rewards.com

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