How convenience retailers big and small are changing the game across the globe

Here at iSEE, we’re all about innovating to create value for our retail and CPG partners—and by extension, their customers. Which is why we love seeing retailers around the world taking that same innovative spirit and applying it in new and surprising ways.

Here’s three innovations we’re keeping our eyes on:

  1. 7-Eleven Tests CBD-Dispensing Robots: As the convenience industry ponders the best way to bring increasingly popular CBD products into stores, 7-Eleven is piloting a tech-savvy potential solution. As reported by NACS, the retailer is testing vending machine-like robots that verify IDs and allow customers to purchase various CBD products at seven of its Colorado locations. Kenny Monfort, whose Monfort Companies owns and operates one of the 7-Eleven pilot stores, said the company is “always on the lookout for innovative technology that will optimize our portfolio of businesses.” He added that the machines provide additional protection against theft of high-priced CBD products.
  2. . A Seattle Independent Reinvents the General Store: Every year, our friends at CSP profile the many independent retailers driving innovation in the convenience industry in the “Indie Influencers” list. There’s no shortage of impressive retailers on the list, but we were particularly struck by Dani Cone, founder and CEO of Cone & Steiner. Cone says she based her three Seattle locations on the general store her great grandfather ran 100 years ago—with modern-day amenities, including an in-house delivery service with no minimum and plans to open “micromarkets” and unstaffed stores in office buildings and hotel lobbies. “The convenience store is not a brand-new model,” she says, “but we’re asking what people want conveniently these days, and where and how.”
  3. Australian Grocer Goes Cashless: The Australian grocery chain Woolworths is testing a stripped-down, smaller footprint, and—most importantly—cashless retail model called MetroGo. The first MetroGo location opened in Sydney with the goal of making shopping “as seamless as possible” for inner-city workers. NACS reports shoppers are expected to spend three minutes or less in the store and have the option of pre-ordering food an coffee via an app.