Argos, the household goods retailer, is replacing the traditional with a digital alternative as it focuses on its place in the digital age.
Over all it is investing £300 million to reinvent itself from an old-style catalogue-led to a modern digitally-led business. Part of its plan are small format digital stores, with the first recently opening in London, setting a trend for local, convenience stores that cater for online orders over large format hub stores.
Argos sees convenience of a pickup point for goods ordered online as an important part of its customer appeal. “We think the stores are an advantage and it’s not just because we’ve got them. It’s because we think that’s what customers will need,” said Managing Director John Walden.
The small stores also replace the traditional paper catalogues with iPads while wall-mounted digital screens replace paper posters. The stores are supplied by the larger hub stores allowing customers to browse the full catalogue online and request product collection. In store collection is preferred by many of Argos’ customers who find delivery slots quite inconvenient (less then 15% of its customers opt for home delivery), but like the convenience of online ordering.
Walden said 90 percent of all Argos’ sales still involve a store at some point, while a third of its business was “click and collect”. Argos is also trialling fast-track collection within one minute for customers who have pre-paid for products online or via a mobile device.
Argos was only recently named a winner in the Innovation of the Year category for the Retail Week Technology Awards 2014. Following this news it has launched more innovative technology in the form of an augmented reality catalogue app ‘Argos Scan’ that works alongside its paper catalogue
More than 300 pieces of augmented reality content have been built into the new Argos new Autumn / Winter 2014 catalogue giving customers with smartphones or tablets access to extended ranges, product videos, special offers and quizzes online.
They simply need to look for the special Argos Scan icons within the latest catalogue, open the Argos Scan function within the Argos app and scan the corresponding page / imagery using the camera on their smartphone or tablet device to launch product videos and 3D models, games and competitions.
Bertrand Bodson, Chief Digital Officer at Home Retail Group that owns Argos, said: “Customers can get a much richer shopping experience with us online including twice the range of products, the latest offers and ability to check stock levels in stores, so building a bridge between our physical and digital channels remains a key priority for us”.
Sources: Retail week, Reuters, Argos