eBay shoppers will soon be able to pick up their online purchases from branches of Argos, thanks to a trial announced today.
Buyers will able to pick up the products they have bought from about 50 selected eBay merchants from some 150 Argos stores across the UK during the pilot.
In a brief statement, Argos parent company the Home Retail Group said the trial was expected to last for about six months, and was “not expected to materially impact the financial performance of Home Retail Group in the current financial year.”
The move gives eBay merchants access to Argos’ wide-ranging store network, which serves the whole of the UK, and means Argos will potentially share the bricks and mortar advantage with online traders of all sizes.
In return, Argos brings online shoppers into its stores and will hope that they are tempted to buy while they are there.
The news comes at a time when Click & Collect services are soaring in popularity. Next recently reported in its half-year results that 38% of its online sales were collected in store, and anecdotally, other retailers are seeing up to 60% of their online sales collected in store.
Dr Scott Dacko, associate professor of marketing and strategic management at Warwick Business School, said: “Whether this exact set-up is going to be the model or not, the integration in online and off-line sales is the future for retail.
“The new ebay-Argos partnership announced today, where certain eBay purchases can be collected from Argos shops in the UK, is clearly being driven by the irreversible trend of increasing consumer demand for convergence in online and store-based retail shopping environments.
“It is likely to be a win-win-win arrangement, with both partners and UK consumers benefiting all round. I am sure the arrangement will prompt a host of competitors to move more quickly into not only seamlessly integrating their online and brick-and-mortar operations but also looking into similar partnerships as well.
“Argos could well get more people in their stores. Any concerns about cannibalisation in sales would depend on the uniqueness of the offerings and as we don’t know which ebay merchants will be involved, it could be ones who are not in direct competition with Argos. A partnership like this can be a low-cost way of attracting more consumers.”