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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.