ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Mobile Marketer site for the latest mobile marketing news.

7-Eleven drives consumers in-store via augmented reality app

To strengthen its outlet promotion strategy and enhance consumer engagement, 7-Eleven has launched the 7-iCollection iPhone application featuring augmented reality.

Mobile services consultancy Green Tomato Ltd. developed 7-Eleven Hong Kong?s first iPhone application. The 7-iCollection application makes use of location-based augmented reality technology to let fans collect virtual promotional items via iPhones at or near 7-Eleven stores in Hong Kong.

?The strategy of this campaign is twofold: No. 1, leveraging the increasing popularity of iPhone to engage our customers on the mobile platform,? said Rose Yeung, head of marketing at 7-Eleven Hong Kong and Macau, China. ?This can further enhance the success of our licensed premium collections, which is a significant part of our marketing strategy.

?No. 2, the augmented reality game can only be played near 7-Eleven stores,? she said. ?It is indeed a deliberate design to attract crowds to the storefront, hence benefiting sales

?The traffic drawn to the shops has already created buzz and viral effect throughout major forums locally.?

7-Eleven augments reality via iPhone app
Collecting premiums is popular across Asia, per GreenTomato.

The current series 7-Eleven is offering in-store is Paddington Bears collectibles.

To strengthen this promotion, virtual Paddington Bears can be collected through the game inside the 7-iCollection application.

Fans can carry their premium collection library in their pockets all the time.

Launched on Sept. 18 and kick-started with the Paddington Bear World Tour Art Jam Collection, 7-iCollection is targeted to the iPhone-savvy generation, which happens to be enthusiastic collectors of 7-Eleven?s ?premiums.?

Updates of the virtual premium items will be synchronized with every new premium collection promotion from 7-Eleven.

After opening the application?s ?AR Catcher? feature, promotional premiums are shown on users? iPhone screens once they aim the camera lens at a 7-Eleven storefront. Here is a screen grab:

To ?catch? a premium item, users slightly shake their iPhone and the collected item will be stored in ?Collections.?

Different items are hidden at different 7-Eleven stores. This is to encourage customers? visits to more stores to collect full sets.

Application users can also exchange items among friends via Bluetooth. Here is a screen grab:

A special virtual edition is rewarded to users who have successfully collected a whole series.

There is a "What's new" section in the application where special promotions are listed.

Also, push notification is used to notify users who are willing to receive special-offer messages from 7-Eleven.

?The 7-iCollection is targeted to iPhone users who are also attracted to the 7-Eleven's licensed premium characters,? Ms. Yeung said. ?There is also a social appeal of the 7-iCollection game.

?To cite one example we found on a forum, some creative users shared how they have turned 7-iCollection into a competition,? she said. ?It's a challenge among colleagues?those who collect the fewest virtual Paddington Bears in a two-week time period have to buy the whole group lunch.?

Ms. Yeung said that 7-iCollection is a response to changing consumer behavior, as much of their attention nowadays is drawn to mobile.

7-Eleven has rolled out high-profile advertising campaign for the launch of 7-iCollection, including magazine ads, social media and mobile advertising.

The 7-iCollection application is compatible with iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 and can be downloaded for free from Apple?s App Store. 

GreenTomato has helped 7-Eleven to place mobile banner ads across Hotmob's mobile ad network, including top-ranking applications such as Hong Kong Movie and Openrice.

?The location-based AR game is what makes this app so fun to play with, hence the testing phase is a crucial stage,? said May Cheng, business development director at GreenTomato, Hong Kong.

?We strived to make sure locations of the 900-plus 7-Eleven stores in Hong Kong are correctly input so that when users open the app near 7-Eleven stores on the street, the AR Catcher can detect the virtual premium items smoothly,? she said.

Final Take

Subtitle translation of the 7-iCollection teaser video:

(0:10 - 0:13)
Free Download, 7-iCollection app
Go to, 7-Eleven stores.
Catch the virtual premiums, AR Catcher.

(0:20 - 0:26)
Different items are hidden at different 7-Eleven stores.

(0:27 - 0:32)
Central Store

(0:33 - 0:42)
Tsim Sha Tsui Store

(0:43 - 0:50)
Yuen Long Store

(0:57 - 1:12)
Exchange items with friends via Bluetooth.

(1:16 - 1:17)
Bluetooth connected, exchange items

(1:20 - 1:23)
Come and play 7-iCollection at 7-Eleven stores.

(1:24 - 1:26)
Collect all nine characters to get a special virtual edition of Paddington Bear.

(1:32 - 1:33)
Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong
Second stage: Asia series
Redemption begins on Sept. 15.