7-Eleven Kiosks Will Target Individuals

The convenience-store operator will use virtual-commerce kiosks to deliver targeted goods and services to customers.
7-Eleven customers may soon get a more personal greeting from a souped-up ATM than they do from the checkout clerk. The convenience-store operator, which is preparing to deploy virtual-commerce--or Vcom--kiosks in 3,500 of its 5,400 U.S. locations during the next 18 months, will use BroadVision Inc.'s personalization and commerce technology to deliver targeted goods and services to customers who visit the terminals.

Cyphermint Inc., which is providing the kiosks' cash-payment capabilities and is serving as the project integrator, turned to BroadVision to speed up the E-commerce process by more effectively targeting offers. Vcom kiosks are in 98 stores in Texas and Florida, and they handle basic financial services such as money-order purchases, check cashing, and general ATM functions. Other services will eventually be added, such as bill payment, loan processing, and E-commerce offers from more than 30 merchants. General Web browsing won't be an option.

Personalization will occur on two levels: Customers who opt-in to direct personalization will receive content aimed at them once they swipe their Vcom cards through the machine, while store-specific offerings will reflect the habits of a particular location's clientele. In other words, if a certain store sells more money orders than it cashes checks, the machine will know to place a premium on offers related to money orders. The machines also will offer local news, weather, traffic, and driving directions. The overarching goal: to give customers additional reasons to frequent the stores. But the kiosks also could become a significant source of revenue. Each year, 7-Eleven sells $5 billion worth of money orders, and its rudimentary ATMs perform 110 million transactions.