In contrast to the downturn of visits in the restaurant industry in Vietnam that occurred in the first quarter of 2017, one segment of the industry, convenience stores, managed to achieve stability and even gain market share of overall out-of-home visits in Vietnam.

Take 7-Eleven as a perfect example of this observation. Here are the chain’s three market entry tactics to try and establish a competitive advantage in the current market.

Localize its products for the Vietnamese consumer

The chain strategically stirred up the public’s attention with the introduction of the “Fresh Convenience” concept and was able to offer many ready-to-eat Vietnamese dishes. Consumers can pick up options including spring rolls (goi cuon), beef in wild betel leaves (bo cuon la lot), Vietnamese mixed rice, etc., that are convenient yet satisfy every Vietnamese person’s endless craving for local cuisine.

Target every meal segment by providing an abundance of choice: from main meals to snacks and small bites

7-Eleven Vietnam differentiates itself by offering many varieties of food options and most are ideal for any meal time. For example, many foodservice operators might overlook the importance of afternoon snacks to drive traffic. According to Decision Lab’s Foodservice Monitor data, afternoon snacks account for more than one-fifth of all visits to convenience stores, making it the most important occasion for this channel. It would seem that consumers are always looking for their energy boost to fight the midday slumber at work and school. Most importantly, Decision Lab’s Foodservice Monitor data has indicated that consumers are more likely to save on lunch and splash out their spending for afternoon snacks.

Engage consumers with a rewards system

In the digital era, 7-Eleven Vietnam is attempting to enhance the consumer shopping experience by providing an innovative solution for customer loyalty in Vietnam: the mobile application “7REWARDS”. The app allows consumers to collect loyalty points, use coupons and complete quests to receive exclusive gifts. These initiatives should help drive repeat purchasing behavior and increase consumers’ average spending per head on every visit.

7-Eleven Vietnam has made many strategic moves in the overcrowded market to gain a competitive advantage. However, this might raise a challenging question in the minds of many foodservice experts – are these tactics long-term growth drivers or just short-term boosts to the bottom line?