It has been just over six months since 7-Eleven entered Western Australia – the company’s first expansion into a new market in 32 years. The combination of a well-executed launch strategy and stand-out franchisees has made this more successful than anticipated.
In 2014, 7-Eleven made the decision to expand into Western Australia to drive strong incremental growth. The decision was not taken lightly and involved securing suitable sites in Fremantle and Perth, establishing a new team and supply chain network and creating partnerships with fresh food manufacturers.
“Due to the strength of the West Australian economy, and the gap in the market for our strong convenience offer, we felt it was the right time to extend our footprint into Western Australia,” a 7-Eleven spokesperson said.
A location at 110 High Street, Fremantle was selected as the first 7-Eleven in WA, with the store opening its doors on October 30, 2014. This was closely followed by the opening of stores in Subiaco, Perth and a further premises in Fremantle, which were open for trade before the end of the year. 7-Eleven plans to expand on its Western Australian presence with the opening of another two stores by the middle of the year, which represent its first two fuel sites in the state.
To drive awareness of the 7-Eleven brand and the products that make its stores a destination for customers, a pop-up store was set up in the Forest Chase Shopping Centre in Perth. The store, with its unique design and fit-out, sells only Slurpees, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, 7-Eleven’s exclusive coffee offer, muffins and banana bread.
While globally 7-Eleven is a network of more than 55,000 stores, the pop-up store represented a first for 7-Eleven in terms of store design and merchandising.
“The pop-up concept gives us the opportunity to give consumers a richer, hands-on experience,” 7-Eleven said.
To help customers familiarise themselves with 7-Eleven and its offer, the pop-up store also features a range of digital screens, including a live Instagram feed from #Slurpeeaus.
“It was important to us that part of our marketing mix for our launch in Western Australia encouraged customers to get directly involved with our products,” 7-Eleven said.
The pop-up concept has proved to be a runaway success, exceeding 7-Eleven’s expectations not only in delivering on the objective of creating awareness and supporting the launch into WA, but in terms of sales.
“Sales of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts at the pop-up store are at 1,945 units per day,” 7-Eleven said. “Eastern seaboard stores sell an average of 75 Krispy Kremes each per day. Coffee and Slurpee sales in the store are nearly double the average per day compared to the eastern seaboard store average.”
The concept has been so successful that the global head of 7-Eleven Inc and key members of his senior team visited Australia to see the store and are looking for opportunities to utilise the concept globally.
As part of its launch into WA, 7-Eleven offered its existing franchisees the opportunity to take up the initial franchises. The call was met with a large volume of interest, with 7-Eleven able to select from the best of the best for its entry into the market.
The combination of a well-executed launch strategy and stand-out franchisees has made 7-Eleven’s launch into WA more successful than it had anticipated.
“To date, more than 515,000 customers have come through our doors,” 7-Eleven said. “Their top three favourite products [unit sales] are Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Slurpees and coffee, with combined sales for these products more than 914,000 units.
“To put that into context, the average weekly sales for the Western Australia stores, which have been trading for only a few months, are already equal to, or better than, comparable stores on the eastern seaboard.”
According to 7-Eleven, while the launch had its minor challenges, overall it has been an incredible success, with consumers excited to embrace its offer.
“Existing franchisees have shown a high level of interest, with all currently available opportunities filled,” 7-Eleven said.
“We have also had a large number of locals express interest in becoming franchisees as opportunities become available.
“Landlords, agents and developers have also shown strong support for our offer, and its potential for their sites. We are looking forward to continuing to work with franchisees, suppliers, landlords, agents and developers to meet our target of opening 75 stores in Western Australia in the next five years.”