What can a convenience store do to grow its ‘food on the go’ category?

How market research helped 7-Eleven put into place measures to make its ‘food on the go’ options more attractive and accessible to customers

By Bergent, an Australian market research agency.

Why?

Positioning on the market and new opportunities for business

7-Eleven, a global chain of convenience stores was very interested in growing its Foodservice, or fresh ‘Food on the Go’ (FoTG) category, and achieve sustainable profit growth in this domain. They asked Bergent to investigate the needs, perceptions and experiences of people shopping for ‘Food on the Go' at 7-Eleven, in order to gain insight into how to move forward.

How?

A four-stage shopper-focused qualitative and quantitative methodology

In the first stage, Bergent conducted a knowledge audit designed to ensure existing research learnings about the FotG sector and the client were shared across both Bergent and 7-Eleven. The second phase of the research was qualitative, and focused on Shopping expeditions and emotional association tasks with study participant. The third stage aimed to quantify the findings from the qualitative leg of the research project, a national online survey of 1079 FotG shoppers answered questions on rational and emotional factors that drive consideration and perceptions of FotG retailers, different products, in-store themes and in-store experience. Finally, Bergent and 7-Eleven conducted an implementation workshop, to ensure smooth and optimal implementation of the findings.

So what?

Increased sales, profit and brand’s image

Results from the research were surprising. Shoppers saw 7-Eleven as providing real FotG, and did think that the snacks and packaged food they offered were tasty; many admitted they ate them for meals. Shoppers' awareness of the 'real food' available at 7-Eleven was low. Store visits were a pleasant surprise to many. They felt the range, taste and price of sandwiches and other traditional FotG offers were high.

By keeping the focus on the shopper, Bergent identified opportunities to boost FotG performance against 7-Eleven's research and business objectives; changes suggested by the research leaded to: an increase of 32.3% in the profits of the Foodservice category and an increase of 25.5% in Foodservice sales. The changes also had a positive impact on the brand: 'Active Brand Consideration' for Food on the Go went from 44% in June 2014 to 59% in December 2014, up to an all-time high of 63% in January 2015.

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