Shop Around The Clock

7-Eleven has an array of gifts for last minute shoppers this holiday season.

With retailers opening their stores even earlier for Black Friday door-buster sales, shoppers started the hunt for December holiday deals as early as Thanksgiving evening, jockeying for flat-screen TVs and fighting over waffle irons.

But shopping in the middle of the night is nothing new for 7-Eleven customers. They’ve been doing it for years. And while they won’t find gigantic electronic gadgets or kitchen appliances in the little store on the corner, they can still do plenty of shopping – just on a smaller scale and with a lot less stampeding and shoving.

“7-Eleven is a great place to multi-task when the days—and nights—don’t seem long enough, and the shopping days are dwindling,” said Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven, Inc.’s senior vice president of merchandising, marketing and logistics. “Fill up you car, grab a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich, and while you’re at it, scratch off a couple of things on your holiday shopping list. No lines and no worries. It’s about convenience, and that’s what we’re all about.”

So what can one find – even last minute – at a 7-Eleven store?

For starters, gift cards. Almost everybody wants them; 7-Eleven has them. The list of cards the retailer is carrying this year is short and sweet, essentially music, games and general purpose gift cards. Titles include: Vanilla Visa, iTunes, Facebook, Zynga, Xbox Marketplace and PlayStation.

Just a few years ago, gift cards were third on people’s wish lists behind media and clothing, now they’re the leader of the pack. Eight in 10 shoppers will purchase prepaid cards as gifts this year, and almost half will spend more than $100. General purpose cards – those branded by major credit card companies like Visa, MasterCard and American Express – are growing in popularity while store-specific branded card sales fell last year.

“Recipients can use general purpose gift cards for whatever they want … or need,” Delgado-Jenkins said. “They can split it up among their favorite stores, put it toward necessities like gas and groceries, or even use it for something experiential, like a trip. They’re not locked into one store or restaurant.”

With iPhones and iPads at the top of millions of Christmas lists, iTunes gift cards are a great choice to give new users of the latest Apple devices. Apps, songs, movies, TV shows, audio books – the online iTunes and App Stores have something for everyone. 7-Eleven carries $15, $25 and $50 iTunes cards.

Or give the gift of game. Each month, more than 230 million play Zynga online games like FarmVille, Mafia Wars, CityVille and Words with Friends. While the games are free to play, players can purchase virtual goods to enhance the experience and fun. Zynga cards purchased at 7-Eleven unlock an exclusive, free in-game item – the Polar Bear Globe. Facebook introduced its own gift cards last year, offering a safe and easy way for Facebook users to pay for digital and virtual goods in games and apps across mobile, desktop and videogame systems. 7-Eleven also carries Microsoft Xbox Live Marketplace and Sony Playstation gift cards.

Give a Jingle
Wireless handsets have become extensions of computers, with people wanting to be socially connected 24/7. As an alternative to high-priced smartphones, 7-Eleven offers cost-saving, no-contract options on feature-rich phones that include texting, social networking, web browsing, camera, voice dialing, Bluetooth, games and apps.

One such handset is Virgin Mobile’s PayLo Kyocera 2300. Currently available online and in most stores for $49.99, the phone is available through December at participating 7-Eleven stores for just $29.99. The Kyocera comes preloaded with Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and games. The $30 monthly fee includes 1,500 minutes of talk time, 1,500 texts and 30 megabytes of data.

For heavier wireless and data users, 7-Eleven offers the T-Mobile Nokia X2 handset, available with unlimited monthly data plans. During December, the retail price of the handset is discounted $20 to $59.99. The Nokia X2 handset is also pre-loaded with social media apps, email, instant messaging, an MP3 player and games. Users can also download other mobile apps from the TMobile Mall. Unlimited phone, texting and web access is just $50 per month.

Airtime cards for both handsets are available at participating 7-Eleven stores.

A (Angry) Bird in the Hand
Who knew birds taking shots at pigs would become such a gaming phenomenon? In just two years since being introduced, the Angry Birds game has been downloaded more than a half-billion times. Even 7-Eleven has gotten in the game, offering a variety of Angry Birds merchandise from bird and pig plush toys to magnets, key chains and wrist bands. Items retail from $3.99 to $9.99.

Pillow Talk
Pillow Pets just may be the next “As Seen on TV’s” Snuggie. Full-size Pillow Pets are part plush-toy, part pillow. For tiny tykes, participating 7-Eleven stores have Pillow Pet Pee-wees, an affordable mini-version of the popular full-size pillow pet. This small-size companion folds out to a pillow and is great for nap time, road trips and airplane rides. Suggested retail price is $12.99.

A Remote Possibility
Kids, and adults, love remote-controlled toys. Be a hero Christmas morning with a remote-controlled race car or helicopter designed exclusively for 7-Eleven and with an affordable suggested retail price of $12.99 and $19.99, respectively. Comparable to ones costing $30 or more at other retail outlets, these toys are sure to be a hit with kids, young teens … and dad.

The Right Time
The time is right to purchase an affordably-priced watch. 7-Eleven is carrying a selection of trendy, bright-colored watches. All designs retail for only $9.99 and are great for kids, teens and adults alike.

Tool Time
Mr. 7 Hands Multi-End Screwdriver with Flashlight is a convenient and practical gift. With its unique folding arms, this screw driver keeps both Phillips and slotted bits in multiple sizes at your fingertips. An attached flashlight handily lights the work area. Suggested retail price is $14.99.

Light Her Fire
At least, warm her heart with a cute LED holiday candle. Each of the three flameless snowmen gives off a welcoming glow and retails for just $4.99.

Wine Down
Entertain on a budget with 7-Eleven’s value-priced Cherrywood Cellars or Sonoma Crest Cellars Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines. Award-winning and recognized as “good buys,” 7-Eleven’s private-label wines outsell vintages for well-known domestic wineries.

Sweet!
More boxed chocolates are sold during the winter holidays than any other time of year, including Valentine’s Day, and this time of year is the third-biggest for candy sales, coming in behind Halloween and Easter, according to the National Confectioners Association. 7-Eleven stores will stock a variety of sweets, perfect for gift-giving or stuffing stockings – Skittles Holiday Banks, LifeSavers Heritage Tins, Hershey Giant Kisses and 5-pound chocolate bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Snowmen and Trees, Snickers Nutcrackers and Ghirardelli chocolates.

Hitting the Road?
For those wanting to make a surprise trip to see the family, 7-Eleven now offers a convenient way to purchase Greyhound bus tickets. Holiday travelers can book reservations online at greyhound.com and select cash as their payment option, placing the schedule on hold for 48 hours. The customer prints the confirmation slip and takes it to any participating 7-Eleven store within 48 hours to complete the cash purchase and receive a printed ticket and receipt. At the station, riders can proceed directly to the bus terminal without waiting in line at the ticket counter. The technology behind the transaction is powered by the PayNearMe cash payment network.

While millions got a head start on their holiday shopping during the Black Friday frenzy, millions more won’t finish until the very … last … minute.

“We know the holiday clock is ticking,” Delgado-Jenkins said, “but 7-Eleven will be open and ready whenever they are.”

 

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