From batteries to gift cards, shoppers can find what they need at 7-Eleven, where the doors are open all holiday season.
The holiday season is bookended by two frenzied shopping periods. The first one begins with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and even Thanksgiving Day itself—the new Gray Thursday as some have called it.
This year it ends a few weeks later with what many unfinished shoppers might call OH NO MONDAY!
Or maybe it should be called Oh Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven Saturday … Sunday … Monday. Because that’s when the rubber meets the road, and last-minute gift purchases must be made. The merry green, red and orange lights of the retailer’s logo are a welcome sight for many last-minute shoppers scrambling to finish.
“Every year, we see a rush on a predictable list of items in our stores—gift cards, toys, candy, wireless phones, lottery tickets, batteries, missing recipe ingredients, beer and wine,” said Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven executive vice president of merchandising, marketing and logistics. “And, most all 7-Eleven stores are open 24/7 to fill these last-minute or emergency needs.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, male shoppers are the ones most likely to have forgotten someone on their list or waited until the last minute to finish their shopping.
Here are a few of 7-Eleven’s top-sellers as the shopping timer ticks down to zero:
Pick a Card, Any Card
For starters, there are gift cards. This year is shaping up to be a record-breaker in gift-card sales for retailers, anticipated to show a 10% increase over 2011. Almost everybody wants them, and 7-Eleven has them. The selection of cards the retailer is both targeted and popular and covers general purpose, music and games. Titles include Vanilla Visa, iTunes, Facebook, Xbox Marketplace and PlayStation.
Gift cards have topped wish lists for the last few years. Four out of five shoppers will purchase at least one gift card this year, according to the National Retail Federation, and spend more than $150 on average. General purpose cards are branded by major credit card companies like Visa, MasterCard and American Express and can be used anywhere. Card-buyers can load up to $500 on 7-Eleven’s Vanilla Visa card.
“Recipients can use general purpose gift cards for whatever they want … or need,” Delgado-Jenkins said. “They are not locked into one store or restaurant. The card can be used for necessities like gas and groceries, or fun stuff like movies, concert, ballgame or even a vacation. It’s a great choice when you don’t know exactly what the person wants or for the person who seemingly has everything.
With iPhones, iPads and the new mini-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. 7-Eleven also offers Microsoft Xbox Live Marketplace and Sony PlayStation gift cards. Limited edition Xbox cards feature Halo 4 artwork and bonuses like an extra month on a 12-month card or special clues and maps. Facebook gift cards offer 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.
Get Smart … Phones
For just $49.99, 7-Eleven customers can purchase a prepaid Samsung Android smart phone that offers unlimited voice, text and data for a low monthly charge of $55 through Boost Mobile. Even better, the Boost Shrinkage payment plan allows customers to lower their monthly payment even more. For every six on-time payments made, the customer’s monthly bill is reduced $5. Boost’s prepaid service can run as low as $40 after 18 months.
Boost’s feature-loaded smart phone—touchscreen display, QWERTY keypad, two mega-pixel camera with video support, wi-fi capable, stereo Bluetooth, Google browser and maps—regularly retails for $79.99.
Other wireless phone models are available at participating 7-Eleven stores, ranging in price from a T-Mobile Sparq retailing for $34.99, a 30% discount, to a PayLo Kyocera for just $9.99. Airtime cards for handsets are available at participating 7-Eleven stores.
Both kids and adults love remote-controlled toys. This year, participating 7-Eleven stores have two high-flying remote-controlled helicopters with a high “wow” factor without a “wow” high price. At just $29.99, the S107 model RC Helicopter has proved a hot-seller at 7-Eleven stores. It can fly 8-10 minutes and a distance of 40 feet. Comparable to ones seen on TV for $130, the Extreme S-46 RC Helicopter costs just $39.99 is a step up in quality and capabilities from the S107. Features include gyroscope-stability technology, four-channel, coaxial controller, USB charger and a built-in search light for night-flying.
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 from well-known domestic wineries. December is the top-selling wine and champagne month of the year. According to Nielsen, three times more champagne is sold in December as any other month.
Made from Scratch
7-Eleven sells more lottery tickets than any other retailer, and more lottery tickets sold can mean more lottery winners. December is one of the busiest months for scratch-off ticket sales with people buying them for stocking stuffers, gifts and for themselves, of course.
At 7-Eleven stores, whipping cream, sour cream and butter sales jump the week before Christmas. In fact, Christmas week is the biggest week of the year for dairy sales, 25% higher than the year’s biggest food holiday—Thanksgiving.
Does not Include … Batteries
Luckily, 7-Eleven does. Battery sales at 7-Eleven stores triple Christmas week, and with eight sizes of batteries, the retailer is ready to take a parent from zero to hero in one convenient stop. The most popular batteries sold are AA, most commonly used in videogame controllers, cameras, electronic handheld games, small toys and personal music players.
Hitting the Road
For those wanting to make a surprise trip to see the family, 7-Eleven offers a convenient way to purchase Greyhound bus tickets. Holiday travelers, who book reservations online for the 50%-off Web special rate at www.greyhound.com, can select cash as their payment option, placing the reservation on hold for 48 hours. Customers can print the confirmation slip and take it to any 7-Eleven store within 48 hours to complete the cash purchase and receive a printed ticket. 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.
Refuel and Refresh
Whether it’s a car or a shopper that needs fuel to keep going, 7-Eleven has that covered as well. In December, a large, fresh, hot pizza is just $5.99 and ready within minutes of ordering. Customers can grab one for the kids on the way home from a work or a long day of shopping. For those on the go early in the morning, they can stop by 7-Eleven stores to fuel with yogurts and fruit, or a savory breakfast taquito, or three mini-donuts for $1.
While millions got a head start on the
ir holiday shopping during the Black Friday frenzy, millions more won’t finish until the very … last … minute. Even on Christmas Day, 7-Eleven stores have a steady stream of customers purchasing everything from batteries to Big Bite hot dogs. “We know the holiday clock is ticking,” Delgado-Jenkins said, “but 7-Eleven will be open and ready whenever they are. And if it’s just a cup of coffee needed to keep going, well, we have that too. While we offer several last-minute gift options for procrastinating shoppers, it is our everyday categories – fresh and hot foods, bakery, dairy, groceries, batteries – where we see sales really jump.”