Critical Evaluation of 7-11

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Convenience store, with a history of nearly 80 years, can be seen as the result of supermarket after the development to a certain stage and gradually becomes to be a common retailing format. With the early view, it was defined as a kind of grocery story with the same management technology and sale mode of supermarket. Nowadays, it is considered as the store selling convenient products and services. The objectives of this study are mainly answering the 6 questions related to the case ‘7-Eleven in Taiwan: Adaptation of Convenience Stores to New Market Environments’. And the remainder of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 compares and contrasts the concept of convenience store between U.S. and Taiwan as well as their evolutions respectively. Section 3 illustrates the development of a specific convenience store 7-Eleven in both two markets. Section 4 discusses the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the strategy used by 7-Eleven Taiwan market. Section 5 describes the success of 7-Eleven Taiwan through differentiation service. And Final section provides the evidences and discusses the feasibility in an expansion occasion by using the Taiwan operational format.

Concept of convenience store
The first appearance of convenience store was 7-Eleven founded in the United States in 1920s as a Tote’m store selling ice blocks and had a name changed to 7-Eleven in 1946. For American, the attitude towards convenience store was ambiguous. On one hand, they preferred to shop weekly or monthly at supermarket for supplies, treating convenience store as a supplementary where to pick up run-out daily items only. On the other hand, the demands of convenience store climbed quickly since the research showed that nearly 10 million people were in working conditions at the dawn. So this change of work routine encouraged the prosperity of 24 hours opened convenience store, improving their situation of staying on the fringes indirectly. Furthermore, due to the trend of upsizing and suburbanizing, supermarkets were no longer the top-of-mind choices for customers but brought inconvenience with over energy and time wasting. Working women who had no tolerance with long time shopping and people who living a fast pace of life had to reduce the time consuming as much as possible. Therefore, quick services as the core concept of convenience stores helped this kind of retailing model hold a seat even competing with big-box stores or supermarkets. Contrast to the U.S., high population density in Taiwan limited the total store areas in each store to 65-230 square meters, rather than that in America with no less than 455 square meters and a car-park available (Taiwan Institute of Economic Research). Because of this, the property zoning in Taiwan was vertical unlike that of horizontal in the U.S., and it was a central characteristic to the evolution of the convenience store industry by attracting footfalls naturally. Besides, according to the joint investigation by National Association of Convenience Store in America and Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, differences among convenience store concept between the U.S. and Asian markets (Japan and Taiwan) not only existed in store structure but also the goods provided. For example, in Taiwan, food supplies were required to be more than 50% of the total products, while there was no such need in America but regulation for selling alcoholic beverages. Additionally, thanks to the obsession with immediacy by Taiwanese as well as the tradition of street vendor food serving, the convenience store industry developed flourishingly.

The convenience store: 7-Eleven
The development of this convenience store in the U.S. insisted on the business format standardization, namely the strict norms of store logo, store location, product offerings and merchandising as well. When the floor plan made by new franchisees, positions of store’s physical components should be in conformity with guidebook provided by U.S....
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