The Japan Convenience Store Phenomenon

Written by Lorna Shapiro

It happens to every Japanese woman who comes and stays with us. They enter a Canadian 7/11 with a set of expectations: a spotless facility, well lit and organized, filled with almost anything you might need for your daily living, fabulous take-out food options, lattes, and a staff who will bend over backward to be helpful. Then, the Canadian reality strikes them in their face and they quickly leave shaking their heads at what they’ve just encountered: dirty floors, dozy staff, junk food, and other stuff. So we had a little discussion when they arrive home, resetting their expectations of convenience stores, and paying homage to the Japanese convenience store. When I travelled in Japan with Hiroko this last time, she insisted I should take photos of the aisles of a Japanese 7/11 so my customers would know what a convenience store can be, and here are those images:

So when you travel to Japan, please don’t overlook the lowly convenience store and be aware that 7 & I Holdings, the Japanese corporation that is 7/11 in Japan, is the largest retail and distribution corporation there. Who knew????!!!!