7-Eleven’s New ‘Lab’ Store Is Experiment in Convenience

Our take: Store chain plans to integrate brands and services as part of commitment to disrupt the industry... | -------------

Convenience has always been about experimentation. (Today it’s called “disruption.”) 7-Eleven, as it came to be known, was born in 1927 when the Southland Ice House in Oak Cliff, Texas, started selling grocery staples such as bread and milk from its ice docks.

This new way of reaching consumers was a retail experiment that led to the creation of the convenience-store industry itself. With a history of adaptability, 7-Eleven has never been shy about experimentation.

Over the years, it added gasoline and expanded its hours. It debuted the Slurpee frozen drink and coffee to go in 1965 and the Big Gulp and the self-service fountain in 1976.

The chain has been experimenting with online ordering and delivery and is at the forefront of testing drones. And it is piloting a new, frictionless mobile checkout app.

In March, 7-Eleven took its penchant for experimentation to another level with the grand opening in Dallas of its first “lab” store.

The 6,000-square-foot retail space is less than two miles from the original Southland Ice House.

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