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How did 7-Eleven increase downloads of their app through an SMS marketing campaign?

6 minutes of reading
Publication: 10.20.2016
Última modificación: 06.28.2022


Not many brands can say that they have more than 50,000 points of sale like 7-Eleven, which equates to an enormous number of clients over the world and a valuable source of business.

For this reason, the brand’s promoters take care to look after their clients, current or potential, by offering them promotions through the campaign 7Rewards, which combines SMS marketing actions with the 7-Eleven app for mobile devices.

7-Eleven convenience stores are the most successful format in the retail industry today. Many of them are open at times when customers need things urgently and the majority of traditional stores are closed, and many are in places where there aren’t many other options for shopping. Perhaps 7-Eleven is one of the most popular chains of this type of establishment, and to maintain their position in the market, they often use campaigns in which sending SMS messages is just the first step.

One of these is their Free coffee week, when 7-Eleven sent an SMS with information about the campaign to all their customers over the United States who had previously provided the company with their mobile number. The objective was to increase downloads of the 7-Eleven app. Once the app was downloaded, customers had access to the benefits offered by the campaign not just on coffee, but also tea, hot chocolate and other coffee-based drinks like caffè latte or cappuccino.

The SMS text message in the 2015 campaign read:

        FREE COFFEE WEEK starts tomorrow. Download and scan the 7-Eleven app to get any size hot coffee FREE! Oct 12-18 only.

The message also contained a link to the 7-Eleven website which redirected consumers to the main platforms for downloading mobile apps: App Store and Play Store, from Apple and Google respectively, where consumers could find the link to download the app directly.

It’s important to mention that the message was sent on Sunday afternoon, because customers are used to going first thing in weekday mornings to a 7-Eleven store to drink coffee. This timing made it easy for consumers to get the coupon by downloading the app before the end of the weekend, ready for the next day.

The 7Rewards campaign by 7-Eleven also offers other promotions, like getting a seventh drink free after buying six after scanning the barcodes of each proof of purchase, a typical transactional marketing action.

Although the consumer has to be physically present in a 7-Eleven store, this campaign requires an initial SMS mobile marketing action. In order to participate in this campaign, valid only in the United States (except Hawaii), consumers need to send an SMS message with the word EARN to the premium 7-Eleven number, download the app and subscribe to the 7Rewards program.  

The number used by 7-Eleven for its SMS mobile marketing campaigns is 711711, completely personalized to the brand (once it has been dialed, it converts into 711-711). In the CSCA register (Common Short Codes Administration) it is listed as a method used by businesses to increase customer traffic to 7-Eleven stores, a thoroughly transactional objective. Declared uses include publicity or promotion of new products, as well as customer engagement through competitions and surveys.   

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