DALLAS — 7-Eleven Inc. is making space for more lockers at a number of its North American stores, in a bet that growing e-commerce volumes will help drive Slurpee sales, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The company has added lockers where customers can pick up packages from FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. over the last year, and announced in October that it would install Wal-Mart lockers in six locations in Toronto, as well. The additions mark a significant expansion in scope of a program first piloted with Amazon in 2011.
Now, any retailer that ships via UPS or FedEx has the lockers as a delivery option.
Customers in the United States and Canada who don’t want packages left on their doorsteps can arrange to have online orders from retailers delivered to lockers at 200 locations so far, which they open by scanning bar codes sent over email to their smartphones. The scan automatically opens the locker containing their purchase.
It is a risky move for 7-Eleven, the newspaper said. Each locker unit takes up about the same amount of space as one large shelf, holding dozens of lockers, which by some estimates could represent thousands of dollars in lost sales each year.
To 7-Eleven, the lockers are part of a larger strategy to keep customers coming to its stores as more commerce moves online, said the report.
“The locker program is another segment of our omni-channel strategy of delivering what people want, when and where they want it,” 7-Eleven spokesperson Margaret Chabris told CSP Daily News.
Fees from the lockers and the additional foot traffic they bring could also help the chain carve out a small slice of e-commerce business, even if 7-Eleven is largely a brick-and-mortar business, Raja Doddala, vice president of new ventures, told the Journal.
7-Eleven officials didn’t disclose the fees it charges partners for the lockers, nor how franchise owners are compensated. They said the locker program is still in the testing stages, and it is too early to tell if the added fees and customer traffic will make up for the sacrificed space.
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