With the accelerated pace of people's lives, convenience stores have played an increasingly important role in today's society. 7-Eleven and Family Mart, which are the most famous convenience-store chains, can be found easily in many countries or regions. This assignment aims to address 6 questions sufficiently that based on the case of 7-Eleven in Taiwan: the first two are focus on the concept of convenience stores and the rest will link with the expansion and adaptation of 7-Eleven to the new market---Taiwan.
Q1: How has the convenience-store concept evolved in the US?
Generally, the convenience store (CVS) can be defined as a retailing type of operation, satisfying consumers' demands for convenience and emergency. It is always a small store that provides a wide range of daily-use items and services such as groceries, newspapers, tobacco and even money order at a bright and neat environment with acceptable prices and speedy transactions.
The concept of CVS was established by the Southland Ice Company in the United States in 1927 (Aihwa Chang, 2012). An employee of Tote'm, which started by selling ice blocks, realized that consumers felt convenient if he stocked a few staple products like bread, milk and eggs after the local grocery stores were closed. This was the origin of CVS and during the 1950s, the convenience-store concept began to enter other states and was carried more widely into the lives of Americans. Then in 1962, long shopping hours (24 hours) gradually became a typical attribute of the concept and made CVS more popular. The development of CVS is surprising---the number of CVS, from only 500 locations in 1957 in the US, jumped to 144,875 by the end of 2008. Today, the concept of CVS has shaped American consumers' shopping way and became an important part in consumers' daily life in the US.
Actually, the emergence and rapid growth of the concept were owed to several reasons. Firstly, CVS filled in since supermarkets and grocery stores became larger and less convenient for consumers. It served as sources for supplementary shopping to pick up everyday items and people could enjoy one-stop shopping without waiting in line. Secondly, the common American work routine (late-night and early morning schedules) was also a feature. CVS created a place that people, who worked in irregular time, could shop wherever and whenever.
Q2: Is the concept universal across all markets, including Taiwan?
The answer is yes. The format of CVS could be replicated in any region of the world and the concept had evolved in many other countries. In general, the CVS was extended to foreign markets by using mainly franchising as mode of entry. The international expansion of CVS was firstly started in Canada in 1969 and extended into the Asian market in 1974. Then the concept was pioneered in Taiwan by President Chain Store Corp. (PCSC) in 1979. By 2010, Taiwan kept the highest record of the number of CVS (9,410) in the world. By combining franchising approach with customization according to routines, the concept seemed to get a better development in the new market.
The core of the concept (providing customers with everyday items and services, faster trading and a clean, friendly shopping environment with long business hours) in Taiwan was consistent with that in the US. However, some differences also existed. The first one was the importance of the concept of CVS. Unlike a fringe industry in the US, CVS had been indispensable to people in Taiwan. Density of CVS was another difference. Stores in Taiwan were located closely while those in the US were separated from each other by long distances. Next was the location. Property zoning in the US was horizontal and CVS always sited separately from offices, residential buildings by blocks. While Taiwanese CVS always located with those places in individual skyscraper by the vertical zoning and led to a flow of potential consumers 24/7. Moreover, the...