Case Study Pages:
Researching the Slurpee brand
Businesses must undertake ongoing market research to keep pace with market trends. The constantly evolving retail convenience sector, as well as the entry of Woolworths and Coles-branded fuel and convenience outlets, meant that 7-Eleven Australia needed to research ways to retain existing customers as well as grow their customer base.
7-Eleven already knew that Slurpee was a destination driver attracting customers into the store. Given the product’s iconic status, they embarked upon a quantitative and qualitative market research campaign to discover customer perceptions related to the Slurpee brand.
One of the strengths of 7-Eleven’s retail operations system is its in-built capability to monitor sales in real time. This quantitative research tool allows sales levels for particular products to be tracked on a daily and even hourly basis. Using this information 7-Eleven Australia built a clear picture of current sales patterns and consumer behaviour.
- Overall Slurpee sales were steady, they were not increasing
- Each store sold an average of 60 units a day but with little annual growth
- Sales of Slurpee grew from Wednesday, peaked on Friday and remained high into the weekend
- The majority of Slurpee customers tended to arrive after school hours, with most sales occurring between 3 and 6pm
- Consumers preferred to buy larger serves and these were more likely to be bought during the peak time of 4 and 6pm
Other quantitative research reinforced that Slurpee acted as a destination driver. Fifty percent of all 7-Eleven customers reported Slurpee as, “one of the main reasons why they visited 7-Eleven.” In particular 72 percent of those aged 15 to 24 years old reported that the Slurpee was the reason that they visited a 7-Eleven!
Focus groups are an extremely important part of qualitative market research. 7-Eleven used extensive focus group sessions involving those key consumers who were in target segments that purchased the Slurpee. 7-Eleven classifies these segments as the ‘Junior Junk Junkies’, males and females aged between 16 - 21, and the ‘Fast Fixers’, males and females aged between 18 to 35.
The participants were asked a series of questions about 7-Eleven’s Slurpee and other product ranges as well as more general lifestyle information, e.g. what they did in their spare time, their employment, the sorts of food they ate, the music they liked as well as other brands they would use. Focus group interviews help retailers construct a profile of their target demographic and also to gain direct feedback about their customers’ product and purchase experiences 7-Eleven Australia’s market research identified that the target segments identified consisted of customers who were local to the area and that these customers valued freedom, fun, independence and a quick, convenient fast food fix. Consumers of the Slurpee saw it as a treat or a pick-me-up, which was also reflected in the quantitative research that showed that sales peaked after school hours and on Fridays and into the weekend.
One of the main points to emerge from the market research was that customers felt ownership and control of the brand. This ownership was reinforced by the selfservice experience associated with the Slurpee.
7-Eleven has identified four major target segments in its customer profile.
- Fast Fixers: Younger, 18 to 34, more likely to be males in blue-collar employment, SINKs (single income, no kids)
- Junior Junk Junkies (Subset of Fast Fixers): Younger, 16 to 21, SINKs
- Go-Getters: Younger, 18 to 34, more likely to be males in white-collar employment, both SINKs and DINKs (double income, no kids)
- Relaxed Run-Abouters: 18 to 44, more likely to be males in white-collar employment, middle-income families
- In transit top-ups: 18 to 34, more likely to be females, DINKs and younger families.