March 18, 2003, 12:00 AM

7-Eleven broadens retail scope with in-store kiosks

7-Eleven Inc. is increasing the range of products and service shoppers can access through its network of web-based in-store kiosks. For example, shoppers can pay bills online, get insurance quotes, and buy from online retailers.

Expanding the role of a convenience store, 7-Eleven Inc. is increasing the range of products and service shoppers can access through its network of web-based in-store kiosks. Going beyond the initial kiosk service of cashing checks, shoppers can now also pay utility bills, get insurance quotes, and buy from online retailers.

 

"We hope it`s a convenience for all customers, but it brings in new customers who want to perform several transactions at one time," CIO Keith Morrow tells Internet Retailer. The additional services bring 7-Eleven multiple benefits, he adds. It provides its customers with cash to spend in the store; it earns the retailer transaction fees; and it gives customers additional reasons to visit a 7-Eleven more often.

 

The new kiosk-based services include: accessing mobile telephone account services, including bill-payment, through direct connections with Verizon Communications; and connecting directly with Public Access Insurance for getting quotes and paying bills on automobile insurance polices offered by Instant Auto Agency. The Public Access service will also allow Vcom users to communicate online with customer service reps. Public Access and Instant Auto Agency are subsidiaries of Instant Insurance Holdings Inc.

 

And in a retailing service currently under development, Vcom users will be able to make online purchases of jewelry and assorted other types of products directly from Internet retailers through an arrangement with Cyphermint Inc.

 

The Vcom kiosks, operating on Windows NT servers with Internet protocols for data transmission, are on pace to be in 1,000 stores by June, followed by another 1,500 in the second half of this year. Eventually, the company expects to have Vcom in all of its 5,800 North American locations.

 

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