Living in a city with many 7-Eleven locations within walking distance, I view the iconic convenience store as a place to buy three things: Slurpees, lottery tickets and Red Bull. Although I have always known that there is beer and wine for sale, it has never occurred to me to buy those items there. After all, that is why there are liquor stores. Not to mention, it is hard to imagine that any of the wine for sale at 7-Eleven could be very good.
Apparently, that is all changing.
Fine Wine at 7-Eleven
Although wine has been available at 7-Eleven for decades, the go-to adult beverages for most customers were cheap beer and malt liquor.
After the recession hit, 7-Eleven noticed that more customers were buying wine than ever before.
7-Eleven is starting to sell “ultra-premium” wine ($15.99-19.99 per bottle) in an effort to illustrate to customers that “in their time-stressed world their neighborhood store has what they need and want.”
Convenience Brands Go Upscale with Mixed Results
7-Eleven is far from the first convenience brand to try to go upscale. Most notably, Starbucks locations across the country are attracting evening clientele with fancy small plates as well as a selection of suitably hip wine and beer. Despite the success of Starbucks’ classification efforts, other brands have not been so lucky.
McDonald’s tried to reach out to more upscale diners with their “Angus Third Pounders.” The expensive burgers did not resonate with consumers and have since been replaced with new Quarter Pounder flavors.
Some grocery stores have also tried to upgrade their images with poor results. For example, Dominick’s, a Chicagoland institution, will close at the end of the year. Experts say that the store’s efforts to provide shoppers with a classier experience alienated loyal customers without attracting any new ones.
If you have a stable and well-loved brand, you will want to think carefully before you make an effort to take things upscale. You will need to ask yourself the important questions: How will my loyal customers respond? Will this move bring in enough new customers that I can stand to lose a few old ones? Will people be willing to pay me more for this? Additionally, you should have a plan for what you will do if your upscale efforts do not work. Look at McDonalds. The Angus Third Pounders did not pan out, so they turned back to the extremely popular Quarter Pounder.
Have you ever tried to make your brand more upscale? How did it work out for you?
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