How 7-Eleven Day Builds Traffic

Slurpee giveaway helped chain beat out competitors in some markets, GasBuddy says

BOSTON -- 7-Eleven Inc. projected that its convenience stores would give away about 9 million free small Slurpee drinks during its annual 7-Eleven Day celebration July 11. New data from smartphone app GasBuddy helps corroborate how the chain could get close to dishing out its estimate of more than 500,000 gallons of Slurpees in one day.

By analyzing data from the 2,400 7-Eleven stores that sell fuel, GasBuddy found that the chain’s average visits per station jumped by 43% when compared to the preceding 30-day period. Measured against the previous four Wednesdays, the promotion helped to double the day’s traffic, according to the Boston-based tech company’s report.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where the chain has the highest concentration of units selling gasoline, the c-store brand increased market share by about 36% on the day of the event compared to the last few Wednesdays. Typically sliding in third place in terms of footfall traffic behind Shell and QuikTrip, 7-Eleven on July 11 took the top spot.

“This is a great example of how in-store promotions can separate a brand from the competition,” said Frank Beard, convenience-store and retail trends analyst for GasBuddy. “More than 80% of convenience stores sell fuel, and the challenge has always been to convert pump traffic into in-store traffic. 7-Eleven used a well-known product (Slurpees) to drive significant foot traffic.”

With those kinds of numbers on the board, it’s no wonder other chains are taking note. On July 10, Circle K hosted the “first free frozen-drink giveaway of the summer.” Circle K’s parent company, Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., estimated it would hand out about 10,000 free medium Froster beverages.

7-Eleven did not stop at Slurpees to celebrate 7-Eleven Day. Along with offering free Slurpees from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 11, the chain followed up with several other events during the week.

To mark its 91st anniversary, 7-Eleven has re-created Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries cereal as the featured Slurpee drink flavor. The retailer also took the occasion to market its premium sandwich line and new bakery offering. Its bistro sandwiches contain 4 ounces of meat and are made on fresh-baked bread. With the purchase of a bistro sandwich and 7-Select single-serve chips, guests could rake in an extra 400 7Rewards points. Customers can also try the chain's limited-time s'mores brownie, a fudge brownie baked over a layer of graham crackers, topped with toasted mini marshmallows.

To continue the celebration, 7Rewards members received exclusive coupons during the c-store chain's “7 Deals in 7 Days” promotion. The deals included:

  • July 12: Free 7-Select Pure Water with purchase of a BodyArmor sports drink.
  • July 13: Free Big Gulp fountain drink with purchase of a share-size Snickers candy bar.
  • July 14: Free 7-Select popcorn with purchase of a 20-ounce Smartwater.
  • July 15: Free single-size Reese’s candy with purchase of a share-size bag of 7-Select Gummies.
  • July 16: Free 20-ounce Coca-Cola with purchase of any flavor Cheez-It baked snack crackers.

Meanwhile, on July 19, the retailer celebrated National Stick Out Your Tongue Day with Slurpee tongue straws. The sippers are available in four shapes and colors. Fans can purchase the straw for a limited time at a suggested retail price of $1.69. To go along with the new Slurpee accessory, customers could enter the chain's Sun's Out-Tongue's Out Sweepstakes by posting a picture with their straw or Slurpee-dyed tongue on social media. 

Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven operates, licenses or franchises more than 66,000 stores globally. The retailer is No. 1 on CSP's 2018 Top 202 ranking of c-store chains by number of company-owned retail outlets.

Photo courtesy of 7-Eleven. 

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