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Main Topic: Convenience Stores Are . . . Convenient

Hosts: James Stanworth , Clyde Warden

7-Eleven Promotion
Classic Inside Out Retailing
Taiwan has the highest density of convenience stores on the planet, with one store for less than every 2500 people (the number is difficult to pin down because so many stores open every day)! The main players in this market include President Chain Store Corp. with their 7-Eleven stores, Taiwan FamilyMart Co. stores, Hi-Life stores, and Taiwan Nikomart Co. While prices are higher, and hypermarkets not far away from any convenience store, economic analysis in Taiwan has found that there is a benefit to consumers. Convenience stores like 7-Eleven are replacements for refrigerators, food storage areas, and cooking equipment. In other words, a just-in-time food supply that outsources the whole program.
OK-Mart Coffee Bar
Coffee Bar

If having a store on nearly every corner is not convenient enough, stores often undertake promotions such as moving inventory out into the street and handing products to, and taking money from, passersby on motorcycles and in cars. These products will often be a kind of just-in-time last minute purchase on the way home, while the store is able to move perishable product out the door. The first photo here is an example of this, and a classic case of what Clyde calls Inside Out Retailing, which is so common in Chinese cultural settings.

This first example is classic renao (熱鬧) retailing, while inside, stores have set up quiet eating areas and freshly made coffee bars. This approach addresses the peaceful, quiet side of consumers in Greater China, what Clyde has called xianjing (閑靜) marketing. These two approaches address different market segments, but they also address consumers who have seek different formats at different times, depending on their mood and their shopping goals.

Increased emphasis on dining areas is a recent development that has been emphasized in advertising campaigns that combine an emphasis on ready to eat food quality (see videos 3, 5, and 7 below). These combined marketing efforts are aimed to help busy consumers who may not feel comfortable with the idea of eating meals in a convenience store. Coffee shops in Greater China are often about business meetings (formal & informal), but convenience stores are offering the chance to get something quick to eat. This means the experience can be much more basic and rushed, but the mental picture of eating in a rush in a bare-bones location is not very attractive. Thus, the marketing effort on expanding the image--it's not a convenience store, it's a restaurant.

Convenience stores in Greater China are VERY convenient.

Listen To The Show (Audio Only):

Length: 3 minutes. Download MP3 1.39MB (Right click->Save As).

On Location

Watch The Show (Video & Audio):

From a convenience store in Taichung, Taiwan, Clyde and James have a coffee in between video shoots. A perfect chance to look at one of the most common, and certainly the most visible, retailing formats throughout Greater China.
Length: 3 minutes.

iPod Download MP4 12.61MB (Right click->Save As).
QuickTime Download MOV 21.11MB (Right click->Save As).
Windows Media Download WMV 11.19MB (Right click->Save As).
High Quality mp4 H.264(640x480) Download high quality mp4 23MB (Right click->Save As).


Consumer Cam ConsumerCam:

Vid. 1) FamilyMart fresh coffee purchase.
Vid. 2) A small independently standing 7-Eleven in Singapore.

Vid. 3) Dining areas, both inside and out employ XianJing (閑靜œ) retail metaphors in an attempt to make consumers feel more comfortable with the idea of eating at a convenience store.
Vid. 4) Clyde's kids were crazy over this FamilyMart commercial that was a take on a popular group game (it looks a lot easier than it is).

Vid. 5) A FamilyMart spot emphasizing their eating area and the quality of their ready to eat meals.

Vid. 6) FamlyMart's TVC for the MSN promotion (seen in photos 16 and 17).

Vid. 7) 7-Eleven has led in the area of ready to eat, and here the TVC is almost exactly the same as FamilyMart's--the emphasis on ready to eat and eating area (here we also get a celebrity encorsement--Jerry).

Show Links:

Bottom Line:

  • Convenience stores in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore are everywhere.
  • Innovations such as wide product lines in drinks and ready to eat foods have had great success.
  • Store designs and locations fit the Asian lifestyle well.
  • New formats, such as coffee bars, are constantly being tested out.
  • Convenience store prices are higher, but when factoring in other costs, these are reasonable ways to outsource a consumer's food/drink storage, especially when rent prices are high.
Category: Videocasts

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