7-Eleven: 40,000 stores and counting

7-Eleven is sending a clear message: We’re not just Slurpees and cheap coffee anymore and we’ve taken over the world. Recently, the company became the retailer with the most number of stores worldwide and unveiled an array of new offerings. The Dallas-based convenience store chain announced its global domination by opening its 40,000 store this week.

“This is a significant milestone,” said Joe DePinto, CEO of 7-Eleven. (www.CNN.com)

“We’re opening a new store every three-and-a-half hours,” he said, adding that the retailer isn’t done yet. (www.CNN.com)

“We’re only in 16 countries,” he said. “We’re not in India or Brazil. So the opportunity to get even bigger is tremendous.” (www.CNN.com)

The company is credited with introducing Americans to the concept of immediate consumption.(www.CNN.com)

Despite the fact that U.S economy is on downhill, 7-eleven is tremendously developing, improving, and expanding.  Just like Apple, they seeem to be less concerned about the economy because of their  growth. What is it that 7-eleven is differently positioning on consumers’ minds? They just seem to be where we could grab our snacks, slurpees, and coffees but actually they are more than the reputation usual consumers hold about 7-eleven.

As the store base grows, they now will be able to advance business processes that increase efficiency and simplify store operations, consolidate their purchasing power to reduce the cost of goods. According to the article, their expansion and improvements will also enhance the distribution systems so that they can efficiently and continually have the products their customers want.

According to the Vice President of 7-Eleve, Jeff Lenard,

“80% of what is bought in convenience stores is typically consumed in the first hour after purchase.”

7-Eleven’s steady stream of customers looking for cheap and quick convenience has made the company more recession resistant than its peers and resulting as outcompeting the other convenience stores.


Sony PlayStation2 Sales Reach 150 Million Units

In the Sony family of gaming consoles, the PlayStation2 is the awkward tween. At almost 11 years old, it gets little attention compared to its four-year-old brother, the PlayStation3. But give the kid some credit: After more than a decade in stores, the PlayStation2 has been a monster hit, and is still selling well.

According to figures released by Sony, cumulative sales of PlayStation2 systems reached 150 million units worldwide as of the end of January 2010.

That’s way more consoles than any other video game system still on the market, including the Nintendo Wii (85 million), Microsoft’s Xbox 360 (51 million) and Sony’s own PlayStation3 (48 million). Only Nintendo’s portable DS comes close (145 million units). (www.forbes.com)

More than 10,828 different software titles have been released for the PlayStation2, according to the company, and more than 1.52 billion units of software have been sold. (www.forbes.com)

The PlayStation2 was a big hit from the day it hit shelves in part because of strong support from software developers. Sony managed to lock in exclusive deals to publish big games exclusive releases from popular gaming franchises like Rockstar Games/Take-Two’s Grand Theft Auto, Square’s Final Fantasy and Konami’s Metal Gear. Those deals proved hugely important keeping gamers on Sony’s platform, instead of losing them to Microsoft’s new Xbox.

Consumers also bought the PlayStation2 in record numbers because it was capable of playing DVD movies; in many cases, it was the first DVD player in the house. And despite the fact that it’s now massively overpowered by current-generation consoles like the PlayStation3 and Xbox 360, the PlayStation2 is still selling: At just $99, it’s the cheapest game box out of any major console on the market.

As mentioned in above article, it has been 11 years since Sony has released their gaming hardware Playstation 2 and despite it’s old aged console, it is still selling widely across the country. Although there are other competitors such as Microsoft’s XBOX, and Nintendo’s Wii, Sony is running on the tyranny in the market of gaming system. Sony differentiated from the other competitors by earning the strong support from popular software developers and gaming franchisers. Sony’s exclusive deals to publish games and taking away the great games from other competitors kept Sony on the platform where they are today. Sony’s tyranny seems to be unstoppable as they are enhancing the system, implementing more tools, more options, and the entertainment to exceed the customers’ satisfaction.


It has to be better…

In our 21st century high technology society, it is critical for the companies to have loyal customer service and often, this is what most of the companies promise to consumers on the advertisements. However, majority of the companies often fail to keep their promises with their customers. Every consumer demands speedy reactions, especially when they are trying to reach customer services for an assistant. Despite the fact that the customers want greater, and faster services, yet, the companies are not trying hard enough.

The companies must work harder to provide faster and more genuine services but the interesting fact is that still, the faster way to reach customer services and get help from the companies is by the phone. If the online customer service system gets improved, I think that there would be much more customer satisfaction, hence, earning loyal customers.

Twitter has been hailed as the solution to all kinds of things. Want to stoke mass protests? Tweet it. Want to gather hundreds of strangers into a single space? Have a Tweet-up. Want to get fast customer service? Plenty of companies promise to solve your problem in 140 characters or less.

But a sampling of customer service channels conducted by Fortune.com suggests that despite some breathless media reports of a Twitter-driven customer support revolution, the companies aren’t there quite yet.

Not all firms interact on social media — not even ones that are known for being tech-savvy and having good customer service. Amazon won’t use them to respond to customer queries, and Apple reliably points users to its Genius Bar for help. Of the companies that do respond via Twitter, many of them still ask that official customer service questions be directed through more formal channels.

But which is better? To find out, Fortune conducted eight customer service surveys and put them to the test at companies that have promoted Twitter for customer questions. They compared responses through tweets, over the phone, and online. The results, though admittedly unscientific, were telling. In most cases the old-fashioned, often infuriating, customer service hotline was actually the fastest and most thorough means of solving a problem.

The reality is that only the simplest questions can be answered in 140-character bursts. And even then, you’re not guaranteed to get a response. So for the most of cases, we have to dial up the number for the assistance but in the near future, let’s hope that we won’t have to call them every time to be put on holds to speak with the representatives.

Americans earn and spend more, save less

As incomes slowly creep back up, Americans are spending more freely and saving less.

Personal income rose 0.4% in December, following a 0.4% increase in November and spending by individuals ticked up 0.7%, compared to a revised 0.3% spike the prior month according to data released by the Commerce Department. (CNN Money)

That’s good news for the recovery, because increased consumer spending will definitely  help to drive job growth in 2011 and decreased unemployment.

Meanwhile, Americans saved $614.1 billion in December, compared with $634.4 billion the prior month. And personal savings as a percentage of disposable income nudged down to 5.3% from 5.5% in November and Economists expect disposable income to increase further in January, boosted by the 2% payroll tax cut that started at the beginning of the year. (CNN Money)

It seems like more job opportunities should be available by 2012 as the economy is getting back up. It is a great news that Americans are earning more income now and able to spend more that the companies or businesses will grow more. It will eventually open more spots for the job opportunties. But personally, even if our economy is coming back and we are earning more, saving less shouldn’t be the right choice because we just never know if we would be hit by another recession unexpectedly. I would still strive to save more than I spend so that I will have enough on my bank accounts to avoid any kind of stress about money. Don’t be flabergasted if another unexpected economy down syndrome occurs. So we never should be off-guarded. But conclusively, I am very happy that our economy is creeping back up and I just hope that hard working employees’ effort will make a great contribution to economy growth in USA.