Convenience Store Expert Recommendation of Exceptional Products from the Three Major Convenience Stores
Currently, there are about 55,000 convenience stores in Japan, with a total of 15.5 billion customers per year. This means that each citizen visits a convenience store 129 times a year, or once every three days, making them an indispensable part of Japanese people’s lives.
To compete for a piece of the 15.5 billion pie, the three convenience store operators, Seven-Eleven, Lawson, and FamilyMart, have been constantly developing new products.
In 1973, 7-Eleven launched “Oden”; in 1986, 7-Eleven introduced “Sea Chicken Mayonnaise (now Tuna Mayonnaise)” onigiri; Lawson introduced “Kara-Age Kun”; in 2006, FamilyMart introduced “Famichiki”; in 2009, Lawson introduced ” Premium Roll Cake” in 2009, and “Frappe” by FamilyMart in 2014. Even with a brief description, there is such a long history of product development.
Recently, competition to develop not only products but also combination apps has been intense.
In this issue, Shinji Taya, a convenience store researcher who has been actively involved in the convenience store industry, including lectures and seminars as well as appearances on TV and radio programs, will explain recommended convenience store products and convenience store apps, based on his on-site experience working as a headquarters employee.
Convenience stores offer a wide variety of food-related products, and recently they have begun to release new products that are on a par with those of specialty stores. This is possible because of the unique business practices of convenience stores, which create new products every week.
We would like to introduce the top two recommended products from each company for such convenience store products.
Convenience store researcher Shinji Taya explains! Recommended products that take advantage of the strengths of the three major companies
Seven-Eleven recommends frozen foods!
Seven Premium Gold Tomita Tsukemen
This frozen food is a reproduction of the famous “Chinese Soba Noodle Tomita” restaurant. The thick pork bone and seafood broth and firm, thick noodles are well mixed and addictive.
Seven Premium Gold Golden Bolognese
The rich demi-glace and meaty Bolognese spreads the flavor of meat, creating a level of pasta that is hard to believe it is a frozen food.
These two products are definitely products you should stock at home.
Family Mart recommends coffee!
“Chestnut Zammai Marron Frappe” made with a coffee machine
This chestnut-flavored product is made with three kinds of marron dice, marron paste, and marron-flavored cookies, and is available in limited quantities. You can enjoy the feeling of being in an authentic café at the office or at home.
Cafe Latte Bitter
This product was jointly developed with Mr. Satoshi Kasuya, a world champion barista. The coffee beans used in this latte are blended in a special ratio for “Cafe Latte Bitter,” making it easy to drink and affordable, making it a good choice for office workers.
Lawson offers a great selection of sweets!
The dough ingredients, which include milk, eggs, canele flour mix, fermented butter, rum, and vanilla seeds, are allowed to rise before being placed in canele molds and slowly baked for an extended period of time, resulting in a product with a crispy outside and a chewy texture on the inside.
Uchi Café Fresh Custard Eclair
A custard eclair made with premium eggs. The custard cream has the sweetness and richness of eggs, and the addition of brandy as a secret ingredient gives it a taste that you will never get tired of. The mouth-watering chocolate gives the eclair a luxurious texture. This is a convenience store sweet that only LAWSON, which has a strong female following, could make.
Convenience store apps are hot right now!
In order to save even more money at convenience stores, it is essential to use cell phone apps. Currently, these apps are used by heavy convenience store users, but the benefits are so great that we encourage those who have not yet used them to give them a try.
Now, we would like to share with you the deals of each company’s apps.
(1) You can search store inventory of products.
(2) There is a game-like badge system that shows how many items you have purchased.
The badge system, in which customers are ranked according to their frequency of use, is for convenience store enthusiasts, but it is an interesting idea. The ability to search the inventory of products is helpful because you don’t have to look all over for the item you want, such as an onigiri or a sandwich. Also, the large display of discount and free coupons on the top screen is easy to see and very user-friendly.
1) FamilyMart Bottle Keepers
2) On the 2nd and 4th Friday of every month, you can get a free coupon for products when you charge over 3000 yen.
The app has a purchase screen that allows users to save 2 bottles of Famimaru Natural Water and Famimaru Tea if they purchase 12 bottles, and 5 bottles of Famimaru Tea if they purchase 24 bottles. The coupon is valid for 91 days including the day of purchase, so if you buy drinks at FamilyMart, you will definitely save money by using it!
1) Trial vouchers can be issued and reserved.
(2) There are free coupons that you can get every month.
The smartphone checkout function is convenient.
“First of all, it’s nice to be able to reserve a trial voucher. The smartphone cash register is a system that allows customers to start the app, scan the barcodes of products in the store, and pay for them on the app. When the reading is complete, a QR code is displayed, and the convenient accounting system allows you to simply scan the code into the store’s dedicated terminal. Although there are only a few stores that offer this service, we hope to see it expand rapidly in the future.”
The Future of Convenience Stores
The three major convenience store operators will begin to use apps to attract new customers among the younger generation, who cannot live without their smartphones, and will further pursue the provision of affordable and tasty products for customers in their 40s and older, who are more frequent users of convenience stores and are more likely to become regular customers.
Since foreign visitors to Japan also recognize that convenience store products = Japanese food culture, the three major companies are making various management efforts to attract inbound customers. Keep an eye on the trends of convenience stores as they continue to develop new products for all users.
Text： Shinji Taya
Graduated from the Faculty of Commerce and Economics at Kinki University. He learned the trade in his childhood at his family's small toy shop.
Later, he worked at 7-Eleven and Lawson, and also at a consulting firm.
He is familiar with convenience store products and sales areas in general, and spends his days visiting stores, shopping and tasting from a consumer's perspective.
He has also appeared on TV and radio programs, from lectures and seminars on convenience stores, using his field experience working as a headquarters employee.
He has also been interviewed for articles on the subject of convenience stores. He has also been asked by many Asian companies to give corporate lectures on convenience stores.
He is the author of several books, including "Working at 7-Eleven.
He is the author of several books, including "How Does Working at 7-Eleven Make You a Seller?
He has also published several books.
He is also the author of "How Does Working at 7-Eleven Make You a Seller?
He is also the author of "LAWSON Style: Part-time Workers Grow into 'Shokunin'" (Transworld Japan).