It’s been 40 years since 81-year-old Toshifumi Suzuki revolutionized the convenience store game by bringing in 7-Eleven across the Pacific and kickstarting the Japanese retail dynasty. Now he wants to marry the more than 50,000 brick and mortar stores in Japan into portals for his growing online retail empire.
Now the chief executive of department store to mail order retailer Seven & I Holdings Co, Suzuki is looking at making the 7-Eleven stores pick-up points for the products people order online from Seven & I’s department stores and supermarkets and even other partners. He is looking at inspiration from how U.S. retailers are doing it, and so he sent 50 heads of his different companies abroad to learn more about “omnichannel” integration and how they can apply it to the Japanese market.
They are now in discussions with several Japanese online retailers on details of their point-of-pickup arrangements. 7-Eleven is a natural option since they are open 24-7 after all and are practically everywhere. Suzuki said they have been approached by a lot of retailers who are willing to partner with them. Just don’t expect Amazon to be one of them. Despite the fact that Amazon already does it with 7-Elevens in the U.S., although in a limited capacity only, in Japan, they have point-of-pickup arrangements with 7-Eleven rivals Lawson and FamilyMart.
Despite his age, Suzuki isn’t ready to step down anytime soon. In fact, he is still coming up with innovative and pioneering ideas for 7-Eleven, including the prepared bento box meals and banking and bill payments round-the-clock. They’ve also recently acquired a 49.9% stake in ten Barneys New York stores in Japan.
[ via MSN ]