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Argos' use of mobile to bridge the gap between store and digital takes it to £1bn annual m-commerce sales

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Argos' use of mobile to bridge the gap between store and digital takes it to £1bn annual m-commerce
Argos' use of mobile to bridge the gap between store and digital takes it to £1bn annual m-commerce
Enabling shoppers to move between sales channels, using mobile devices as a bridge between the store and online has helped Argos to a record £1bn in m-commerce sales.

The retailer, judged an Elite retailer both in Internet Retailing's wider IRUK 500 research and specifically in the mobile and cross-channel performance dimension, believes it is the first UK retailer to achieve the goal.

In April, Argos parent company the Home Retail Group reported sales of £4.01bn in the year to February 28, of which 25% of sales started on a mobile device. That followed a year in which mobile sales grew by 38%. Argos' definition of an m-commerce sale includes check and reserve sales as well as those made on a mobile device for home delivery – and sales that included other channels along the way.

Indeed, it is mobile's ability to cross the channel, says Betrand Bodson, chief digital officer at Argos' parent company the Home Retail Group, that has helped Argos develop its position in m-commerce.

“Mobile is a gift for us in a world where customers increasingly want to shop on the move, and we have seen astonishing growth in m-commerce in the past three years," he said. "At Argos, we recognised this trend early on and invested in agile teams focused on optimising apps that work for customers, like Gift Finder and Kids App. As a result, in the past financial year we saw growth of 38%, and achieved for the first time over £1 billion of sales that start on a mobile device.

“However, I think the true value of mobile is as a connector between the virtual and the physical world. At Argos, our customers like to shop cross-channel and 90% of purchases touch a store, with 35% using the convenience of Check and Reserve. It also works in reverse, with the new in-store browsers giving a real sense of the digital experience and encouraging them to try it. The big focus for us is to create a seamless journey which works for customers, however they choose to shop.”

The news comes six years after Argos' internet sales first passed £1bn, but has been achieved, says Argos, in just over three years.

Georges Berzgal, managing director Europe at Bronto Software , congratulated Argos on the milestone.

“The 38% year-on-year increase is impressive," he said. "It speaks for the successful multichannel experience this retailer has developed in recent years. By truly connecting online and mobile with a large network of physical stores, Argos' consumers are able to choose how, when and over which channel they want to buy products and have them delivered.

"Revealingly Argos also reported that 90% of purchases that started on a mobile device have still involved a physical store at some point, with a large portion using the retailer’s check and reserve service. This is striking evidence that it is key for retailers to understand the consumers' evolving behaviour and to cater to their needs for channel choice and convenience. A connected commerce environment proves to be a real revenue raiser."

Ian Jindal, editor-in-chief of Internet Retailing, interviews Georges Berzgal on mobile and cross-channel retail here, while we talked to Vikki Kirby of Home Retail Group on its mobile and cross-channel successes here.

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