Argos introduces the digital concept store

Image courtesy of Home Retail Group, Argos

Image courtesy of Home Retail Group, Argos

Argos has taken another step towards being a leader in digital retail by opening a selection of digital concept stores across the UK. The leading UK online and high street retailer aims to redefine the role of a store for a digital future.

The first of six new Argos digital concept stores is open to the public at 189 Old Street, with further London stores in Marble Arch, Old Kent Road and Chancery Lane. Others will open in Colchester and Dunfermline. The stores are set to transform the Argos shopping journey for consumers through the offer of consistent experiences with Argos’ internet and mobile shopping channels, and either immediate, same day or next day fulfilment on an expanded range of around 20,000 products.

John Walden, Managing Director of Argos, commented: “We are early in our ambitious plan to transform Argos into a digital retail leader. We are seeking to reposition our stores to support a digital future – in which digital channels are the primary interface for customers, but stores continue to be critically important as a national network for product collection, and a local presence for local colleagues to provide customer service.”

Technology has greatly influenced the new store design which includes a 60 second Fast Track collection service, for customers purchasing goods online or via mobile devices; iPads for customers shopping in-store with expanded shopping applications such as product videos and customer reviews, as well as personal mobile devices via free in-store WiFi. Dynamic digital display screens will also replace static sales literature and paper posters, and together with flexible product displays will offer innovative ways to inspire customers and support suppliers. Sales floor staff, that may usually be put behind a counter, are now able to actively serve customers and help them to use the digital resources in order to make a purchase.

“The new digital concept stores enable us to trial with customers several important features of what we believe a store should offer in a digital future, such as a modern and universally appealing environment, a fast and digitally-enabled shopping journey, market-leading fulfilment options for an increasing range of products, and friendly colleagues that provide a human touch in an otherwise impersonal digital transaction,” Walden continued.

Argos currently generates over 40 per cent of its sales via digital channels, with revenue from mobile phones and tablets accounting for 16 per cent of total sales. Around 90 per cent of all customer transactions touch one of Argos’ stores.

Clearly, as Argos embraces the digital era and it is also aware that while shoppers increasingly browse and buy online, there is still a place for the local store. Its stores test the balance of consumer need for both technology and personable, human service when making a purchase. Walden added, “We anticipate that our digital concept stores, and the several features in trial, will prove valuable in instructing any future changes we may make across to our store estate to further the Argos transformation.”