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7-Eleven teams up with Microsoft to empower field employees

7-Eleven Inc. is using modern workplace solutions, data services and devices from Microsoft to empower field employees and provide better business insight to franchisees.

The convenience store operator is equipping these field employees, who serve as the connection between headquarters and its franchisees, with Microsoft Surface devices that use Microsoft 365 and Power BI.

This provides franchisees with better insight from corporate into their store’s performance, purchase trends and other data to help them grow their business.

“Franchisees have a significant role to play in our transformation, and empowering them with the right information is critical,” said Gurmeet Singh, 7-Eleven executive vice president, chief digital, chief information and chief marketing officer. “Our collaboration with Microsoft enables us to get data out to Franchisees through our field employees that they can use to make better business decisions.”

Power BI dashboards help field employees to spot trends and visualize insights from point-of-sale data stored and analyzed by Azure Data Lake and Azure SQL Data Warehouse. This enables them to recommend actions to franchisees, boosting sales and ensuring the right products are stocked to meet customer demand, the company said.

Additionally, franchisees can take pictures of their store’s schematics using the Surface camera, which allows them to quickly identify differences from the planogram that they can use to analyze sales opportunities.

“Unlocking the power of data is the key to reinventing the future and delivering amazing customer experiences in the retail industry,” said Shelley Bransten, corporate vice president of worldwide retail and consumer goods industries, Microsoft Corp. “We’re thrilled to empower 7-Eleven’s field and franchisees with the services, knowledge and devices to innovate on behalf of their customers wherever they are in their shopper journey.”

Field employees will be able to use Surface as their mobile office; use Microsoft OneDrive to give them real-time access to the latest corporate assets; and use Microsoft Intune to provide the security capabilities needed for a mobile workforce, with the ability to remotely manage devices and protect data.

7-Eleven is also migrating its infrastructure to Azure and leveraging advanced technologies such as AI to power enhanced customer experiences. The companies expect to apply future collaborations across intelligent and emerging technologies such as AI, data analytics and blockchain to drive even greater insight, efficiencies and customer experiences across its business, the convenience retailer announced.

Irving-based 7-Eleven operates, franchises and/or licenses more than 68,000 stores in 17 countries, including 11,800 in North America.

Originally published at Convenience Store News.


How c-store chains are using technology to connect with employees

labor-technology-teaserOver the past several years, there have been countless conversations around technology in the convenience channel.

However, many of the conversations revolve around consumer-facing technology. How can convenience store retailers tap into innovation to reach their shoppers? Is it through digital signage? Messaging at the pump? Loyalty programs? A mobile app?

Yet, there is another side to the tech coin: employee-facing technology.

A growing number of c-store operators are turning to tech solutions to manage everything from communicating with employees to scheduling.

“In technology, you are always chasing the bouncing ball because consumer expectations, and client expectations, change fast and get more demanding every time. We clearly see that in our industry. Consumers have ever-increasing expectations of what retailers can do for them,” said Rick Sales, president of Abierto Networks, a digital engagement technology provider.

“But what I think is interesting, and what we are discovering, is that sometimes retailers forget that their employees are consumers, too,” he added, noting that retailers also need to look at their employees as consumers of the information they are trying to get across.

“If you look at your employee as a consumer of information, then you can appreciate that, with information presented at the right time and in the right way, you can modify the behavior of an employee just as you can modify a behavior of a consumer,” Sales explained.

Here’s an insider look at three U.S.-based c-store chains using technology to connect with employees:

SHEETZ INC.

The Altoona, Pa.-based convenience store retailer is utilizing Abierto Networks’ employee engagement kiosks. The kiosks are deployed at all Sheetz stores as a key piece of the retailer’s employee engagement and internal communications strategy. Through the kiosks, Sheetz can relay store metrics to employees and mix that in with other messages — such as store meetings, uniform ordering, training tips, and employee recognition like birthdays and anniversaries.

KUM & GO LC

The Des Moines, Iowa-based convenience store chain is partnering with Branch, a mobile-first technology provider that helps organizations increase schedule and financial flexibility for hourly employees. Through Branch, Kum & Go associates can now find coverage for their shifts by sending notice out to everyone in the district. Since deployment, general managers have gone from covering two to three extra shifts a week to maybe one per month.

GOLDEN PANTRY FOOD STORES

The Watkinsville, Ga.-based operator of 37 c-stores earlier this year selected HotSchedules, a provider of workforce and back-office solutions for the retail, restaurant and hospitality industries, to support its scheduling, forecasting and labor management initiatives. Employees can leverage HotSchedules — whether through the app or online — to request time off, trade shifts and change availability. Managers can build schedules based upon employee availability. In addition, built into the platform are compliance needs specific to state regulations like overtime, child labor or predictive scheduling.

Originally posted at Convenience Store News.