Convenience stores

Convenience stores struggling with delivery

As consumers come to expect more food – restaurant and grocery – on demand, convenience stores are in the unique position of being able to meet their cross-category needs in one purchase with the added benefit of also offer daily essentials.

Yet as convenience stores expand their delivery capabilities, they face the same conundrum as their grocery and delivery counterparts: do they invest the investment in maintaining their own in-house fleets, or sacrifice they vital customer data and part of the sale? relying on third-party aggregators?

Read more: Convenience stores seek a sweet spot between restaurants and on-demand grocers

7-Eleven, for its part, the largest convenience retailer in the world, has agreements in the United States with major delivery aggregators. The c-store is available through DoorDash, through Uber Eats, through Grubhub, and through Postmates. At the same time, however, the retailer is trying to reduce its reliance on these channels and encourage drop-shipping orders. Earlier this month, it was reported that the company had acquired white-label on-demand delivery provider Skipcart.

Additionally, the company has its delivery app, 7NOW, available in cities nationwide, offering on-demand delivery of hot meals, packaged snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, a limited selection of groceries and a range of household essentials.

Related News: 7-Eleven Expands Delivery Capabilities as Merchants Escape Reliance on Aggregators

In an effort to increase frequency in the face of competition from aggregators and other local delivery services, the retailer announced the launch of its 7NOW Gold Pass subscription earlier this year. The subscription offers free shipping, among other benefits, for $5.95 per month, significantly lower than the standard $9.99 rate for aggregators.

See: 7-Eleven launches a subscription to make the delivery economy work in favor of all parties

Convenience giant Couche-Tard also has a delivery deal with DoorDash, and some of its stores are available through other aggregators. Also in the spring, Food Rocket, a company that delivers groceries in 15 minutes in Chicago and San Francisco, announced the closing of a $25 million Series A financing round in which Couche-Tard was the main investor.

“Food Rocket has an incredible entrepreneurial team and technology with the potential to disrupt the delivery space,” Kevin Lewis, chief marketing officer at Couche-Tard, said in a statement at the time. “We are thrilled to partner with them as we continue to explore and seek out new, different and innovative ways to serve our customers and make their lives a little easier every day.”

In an interview with PYMNTS last fall, Art SebastianVice President of Digital Experiences at at Casey’s, the third-largest convenience retailer in the United States, which operates more than 2,400 stores, noted that the company determines for each of its stores what the best delivery method is. At the time of the conversation, stores shipping through third parties outnumbered those with in-house processing by about two to one.

“When you do it yourself you obviously have to work, how do we optimize that?” said Sebastian. “How can we make sure we have the right number of drivers meeting order needs, but we don’t have extra drivers waiting? So a lot of work there.

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