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How 7-Eleven took over Japan

The first 7/11 and convenience store opened in Japan in Tokyo, in May, 1974. 7/11 is basically a retailer that operates more than 60,000 convenience stores, mostly in North America and Asia. The typical outlet is small in size, and carries a limited stock of food, drinks, and other high-turnover products, but stays open for much longer hours. Despite being a subsidiary of the Tokyo-based Seven & i Holdings, 7/11 is headquartered in Dallas.

The first 7/11 store in Japan began the greatest konbini takeover era. There are more 7/11 locations in Japan than there are anywhere else in the world, not making it a surprise that the Japanese 7/11s are far better than their counterparts in the other nations of the world. 7/11s are scattered across the globe, and each one of them has their own unique characters and charms, and Japan is not different. What makes one’s heart tingle and go mad about 7/11 is the aesthetic of the perfectly lined shelves, the beautiful greeting jingle, and the acoustic rendition of the ABBA- Mamma Mia among other things, with the most important thing being the thousands of products available!

Conbini or Konbini means convenience store in Japanese, but when you are in Japan and enter a 7/11 Konbini, it is a gateway into convenient heaven. You can easily find here, amazing food quality, abundance of snacks and drinks, easy access to the services, and the elusive public bathrooms, which, normally, are incredibly hard to find. While it might be true that for the first time, they may feel a bit disorienting, but konbinis will cater to every need of yours, every want, even the whims, at absolutely any time of the day!

And, as of now, in Japan, there are 20,988 7/11 convenience stores present, which are spread all across the major cities, the towns, and countrysides. And for the question of how they took over Japan, the answer lies to a great extent in “why” they took over Japan. Well, for one, konbinis are convenient. The Japanese are oen stereotyped as being workaholic, and, fortunately or unfortunately, that is true to a great extent. There are long and hard working hours in Japan, short breaks, and in general, there exists a fast-paced lifestyle. This means that there isn’t really enough amount of time to be convenient. 7/11 is open 24 hours, 365 days a year, and that is one thing that makes one’s life a wee little bit easier. Apart from being able to buy delicious snacks and drinks, the popularity of konbinis is due to a whole lot of other factors, which include but

are not limited to access to wifi, payment of bills, reservations of tickets, ATMs, scanners, printers et al. Konbinis are hence a paradise for locals, travelers, and tourists alike.

With great quality, however, there comes a great responsibility as well. Konbinis in Japan surpass the greatest of quality food with awe-inspiring prices, but there is nothing better than the absolute convenience of the corner konbini. The fact that this is being said is proof in itself about how popular 7/11 is in Japan, and ensuring that these things happen, step-by-step increasing the commodities available and accessible in their stores, improving the quality and the number of stores, and catering to the demands and needs of the people is how 7/11 essentially took over Japan, and is gradually looking ahead to conquering the world in its wake as well.

Aayushmaan Jha
BTech Electrical Engineering IIT Mandi

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