7-Eleven Builds Out Delivery Capabilities as Merchants Escape Reliance on Aggregators


As retailers and restaurants improve their direct delivery channels, aggregators are challenged to work harder to draw consumers to their marketplaces. Convenience store giant 7-Eleven, for one, has been especially proactive in developing its delivery capabilities, making on-demand fulfillment part of the brand’s value proposition for consumers.

The retailer has acquired white-label on-demand delivery provider Skipcart, according to a report from The Information Thursday (Aug. 4) that cited two unnamed sources “with knowledge of the deal.” Per the delivery startup’s site, its notable customers include not only 7-Eleven but also Panda Express, Applebee’s, Quiznos, Albertsons and many others.

7-Eleven’s efforts to build out its delivery capabilities to rival the on-demand convenience offerings of leading aggregators and of digitally native convenience retailers such as Gopuff have been in the works for some time now. For instance, at the start of this year, the retailer announced the launch of its 7NOW Gold Pass subscription offering free delivery, among other benefits, $5.95 per month, incentivizing frequent ordering through the company’s app.

See also: 7-Eleven Launches Subscription to Make Delivery Economics Work in All Parties’ Favor

The convenience retailer has ties to leading third-party aggregators, with many of its locations selling their hot food and packaged product offerings on DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub. In fact, the retailer’s ties to the latter extend beyond just being available on the aggregator’s marketplace — in February, Grubhub announced the launch of its Grubhub Goods digital convenience store, made possible via the delivery service’s partnership with 7-Eleven. The digital convenience store features popular 7-Eleven products and extends to “the vast majority” of Grubhub’s customer base.

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7-Eleven is far from the only merchant building out its direct delivery capabilities after having relied on third parties to meet demand, though many restaurants and grocers leverage these aggregators’ white-label solutions to do so. For instance, quick-service restaurant (QSR) giant McDonald’s announced back in November that it would fulfill delivery orders placed through its app via DoorDash Drive.

Still, aggregators benefit the most when orders come through their marketplaces, and as such, the increasing number of consumers ordering direct poses a threat to their business model. Research from PYMNTS’ July study, “The ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report: The Rise of the Smart Home,” which drew from a May survey of roughly 2,700 U.S. adults, found that 43% reported having ordered food from an aggregator that month. In contrast, 45% had ordered delivery directly from the restaurant brand.

Read more: New Data Shows Convenience Drove Smart Home Upgrades for 83M Consumers in 2022

One of the ways that aggregators have sought to differentiate their offerings in the face of increasing competition from direct channels is by offering subscription services, promising free delivery and other deals for a set monthly or annual fee. However, with merchants such as 7-Eleven offering the same, and now with the shift toward not even relying on third parties for fulfillment, aggregators may have reason to be anxious.