7-Eleven customers can now place orders with their mobile phones and receive their orders in one to two hours. The orders can be delivered to homes and workplaces.
Net Konbini — from the short form of “convenience store” in Japanese — had a soft launch in October in Sapporo city but will be rolled out to 1,000 stores in the rest of Hokkaido prefecture by August next year.
The company plans to expand the service to all its stores in the country eventually, but will first evaluate the demand.
The plan is to leverage 7-Eleven’s bricks and mortar offline retail reach to propel its new online e-commerce and delivery service.
This network of stores is an edge that store chains have against e-commerce portals.
Said Kazuki Furuya, company president, “Using 20,000 stores to immediately deliver any of 2,800 products is a service only 7-Eleven can provide.”
The 2,800 products include daily food items such as rice balls and bento lunch boxes.
Currently, the minimum order is valued at ¥1,000 (about US$9.10), with a ¥216 (about US$2) delivery charge. Orders over ¥3,000 (about US$27.30) will receive free delivery.
Under the service, delivery trucks pick up orders from 7-Eleven outlets and drop them off to customers, in a partnership with logistics company Seino Holdings.
Customers can choose from delivery time slots between 11am and 8pm.
Growing delivery services
Similar to China, in a competitive food and grocery retail market, various supermarkets in Japan have begun to do home deliveries.
Previously, we reported that Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten and retailer Seiyu GK, a Walmart subsidiary, agreed on a joint venture for a new online grocery delivery service, Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper. It is set to be launched in the third quarter of this year.
Seiyu operates retail chain stores across Japan from Hokkaido to Kyushu, selling fresh food, groceries and apparel, while Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site.
Amazon Japan had started its Amazon Fresh grocery service from April last year.
From March this year, Lawson Inc also launched its "Lawson Fresh Pick" service, which allows smartphone orders via a dedicated app, for pickup at over 200 stores in metropolitan Tokyo or neighbouring Kanagawa prefecture.
About 500 products are available, including those not usually carried in its stores.
According to The Mainichi, Lawson had already been providing fresh food home delivery but there have been complaints that they often arrived when customers were not at home.
7-Eleven’s new delivery service is a first in the nation for convenience stores.
Since 2000, 7-Eleven has run its “Seven Meal” meal delivery service. However, this is mainly limited to packaged food such as bento boxes.
7-Eleven still leading
According to IGD, convenience stores will be the fastest growing bricks and mortar channel in Asia over the next five years and 7-Eleven is the leading convenience banner in the region, with sales expected to increase 5.7% CAGR until 2022.
7-Eleven Japan is the first retailer in Japan to surpass 20,000 stores. It has also started to label its prepared foods in English as well, to cater to the rising number of foreigners.