Convenience stores

BGF Retail Seeks Offline Convenience Stores “Going Online” to Win Competition

[Courtesy of BGF Retail]

SEOUL — South Korea’s convenience store industry has diversified its user-friendly services to attract customers. They never close and take root more deeply in everyday life as a place to buy groceries, snacks, simple meal plans and non-food items. A COVID-19 pandemic has boosted sales at convenience stores as people avoid crowded malls.

In a market populated by tens of thousands of convenience stores, BGF Retail, the operator of South Korea’s leading convenience store chain CU, has been at the forefront of renovation by introducing unstaffed stores the night, stand-alone payment systems and meal kits, which are convenient food packages to heat up and eat.

Meal kits provide processed ingredients and seasonings so consumers can easily complete the dish by simply following simple cooking instructions using a stovetop or microwave. Meal kit requests have increased thanks to people opting to stay home and eat meal kits or deliver food to avoid visiting crowded supermarkets or malls.

In preparation for an upcoming infinity survival contest, BGF Retail came up with the idea of ​​”linenization” that would allow each convenience store to showcase differentiated products and run discounted events on its own app via the BGF’s mobile application called “Pocket CU”. Store operators can text regular customers and communicate with them.

“Our country is small. One day, there will be limits to quantitative growth,” Kim Seok-hwan, a BGF official in charge of digital transformation and Pocket CU development, said in an interview with Aju Business Daily. . “We are looking for a breakthrough by proactively increasing individual store sales and profits and strengthening our product structure and online for offline (O4O) services.”

The number of active users of Pocket CU increased from 2.5 million at the end of 2021 to 3.5 million in August 2022. “The key is to allow store owners to carry out sales activities at Pocket CU”, said said Kim, naming a stock survey as the most popular menu. Inventory checks are available at all stores nationwide, as the app reflects real-time inventory in about a minute.

BGF Retail started working on renewing its mobile app in August 2022 to open online convenience stores beyond just linking offline stores with its mobile app. The goal is to allow franchisees to display specialty products in their online stores and host their own discount events.

In the beginning, convenience stores had the same price and product structure. BGF Retail tries to change the old concept “With this renewal, we will be able to present differentiated products for each convenience store and organize independent discount events,” said Kim. “Convenience store owners will be allowed to send coupons and event schedules to customers.”

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