29 April 2021
As the newly appointed Digital Area Lead in the Technology Tribe, Paul Wallace is focused on seamless experiences that add value for 7-Eleven’s customers. While these days he’s all about digital, he started as a layout coordinator.
“I started with 7-Eleven fresh out of university in 2007. I majored in marketing and really wanted a communications role, but a mentor wisely advised me to look for a big brand you could grow within, rather than the dream role to get started. 7-Eleven was the company I chose to learn and grow in,” Mr Wallace said.
“My first role was in marketing as a layout coordinator.
“Category profitability, store merchandising, layouts and product positioning I learnt so much about retail in that role.
“I then got the chance to move into a marketing coordinator role, where I was responsible for all of our corporate signage and got to manage a complete network refresh as part of the Mobil retail stores acquisition, transform the stores into new 7-Elevens.”
From there, Mr Wallace got the chance to step into more of a brand role, that had more scope to be part of digital marketing.
“I got the chance to work as Brand Activation Manager for our iconic Slurpee brand,” he said.
“It gave me the chance to get a strong grounding in retail and brand strategy by learning from the best, Lalena King.
“Working with the Slurpee brand, I got to be bold, and move quickly to respond to customer insights, and to push the boundaries a bit more.
“Slurpee was where I got to implement my first digital initiatives. It makes me feel old to say it, but we weren’t on Facebook, so I created the Slurpee Australia page, and the momentum built from there. BYO Cup Day also demonstrated the power of digital not only to drive brand experience but incremental sales, 7-Eleven now replicates this Australian first campaign in international markets.”
Mr Wallace’s next development opportunity came from outside the 7-Eleven business.
“I went to Europe, travelled and worked in London for two years. I landed a Senior Account Manager role at Sapient Nitro, which was a creative, brand and technology agency,” he said.
“Moving to agency side was a bit of a flip, but it grounded my skills in digital and strategy planning. Strategy planning was born out of advertising agencies in London, and those roles are on an equal footing with creatives.
“It was incredible to work with some great minds across an amazing range of brands including Samsung, LG, GSK Lucozade, Bacardi, Eurotunnel and Standard Chartered Bank.
“The scale of these brands and campaigns compared to the Australian market was significantly different. Working on pan-European campaigns meant I had to learn more about adapting campaigns for local markets.”
After coming back to Australia in 2014, Mr Wallace came back to 7-Eleven in a brand-new Head of Digital Innovation role.
“I got the chance with 7-Eleven to move out of my comfort zone of marketing, and into the Strategy and Innovation team as the Head of Digital Innovation.
“Our team and partners were responsible for bringing to life the world first 7-Eleven Fuel Price Lock, which is now part of the My 7-Eleven app.
“It was our first mobile app product, and the role evolved as we grew our capability to include not just customer awareness communications, but in personalised customer engagement.
“As we worked through evolving this app, it showed the business that our customers were open to a digital loyalty program; and it had potential to deliver strong returns to our business and our franchisees.
“Our app customers spend more than two times of a non app customer over the course of a year. They want us to make their lives easier by providing value that is relevant to them, and when we get that right, they’ll spend more of their dollars with us.”
As Digital Area Lead in the Technology Tribe, Mr Wallace plays a significant role in leading the delivery of 7-Eleven’s digital transformation.
“As a business, we want to deliver a billion customer moments a year, and we expect that 28% of those transactions to be digitally enabled,” Mr Wallace said.
“Digital is an enabler for the business. My role is to lead a clear digital vision, support my team to succeed, and create the right connections and support throughout the business to ensure we lead the market in delivering customer digital experiences.
When asked about what he loves about his role, Mr Wallace said digital and brand are two of his passions.
“We get to break new ground every day, and it’s really motivating for me to see the impact our work has with customers.
“I still love reading their comments on social media about experiences we’d delivered, and our customers are incredibly passionate.
“I love the 7-Eleven brand too. We are very lucky to be entrusted with a global icon brand that is the pioneer in convenience.
“We get to stretch into experiences and offers for our customers that our competitors just can’t – things like 7-Eleven Day, and BYO Cup Day. As a business, we’re willing to push the boundaries and innovate.
“Our ambition is aspirational, and we know that we will need to continue to innovate quicker and faster to deliver it. “It’s exciting as no ideas or opportunities are out of contention as long as they are going to make 7-Eleven more convenient for our customers,” Mr Wallace said.