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Argos: A joined-up approach that delivers

Argos is thriving via a multichannel strategy that today offers customers a superior and seamless experience across various channels.

Two-thirds of its sales are still made in-store, where a serious investment in tech – notably replacing its laminated catalogues and pens with tablet devices – has delivered an updated store experience. Rather than have customers write out an order slip and queue to pay a cashier, customers now buy items via a digital kiosk and then await collection.

Alongside this streamlined offer, employees are armed with portable devices to provide help finding product and stock information quickly and easily – while warehouse staff use headsets to collaborate on what tasks should be prioritised.

Next to this, an area where there is online and offline alignment is the company’s click-and-collect service, used by about three-quarters of customers. And there’s a ‘Fast Track’ service that takes this even further, allowing customers to order and pick up from a store on the same day.

Another factor in the Argos strategy is the aim of offering its customers optimum convenience. Research has shown, for example, that nearly a fifth of consumers would change their minds about a purchase if click and collect was not available, so it’s a highly effective way of reducing basket abandonment. Click-and-collect customers have also been found to spend substantially more than regular shoppers.

The integration of the offer means Argos generates half of its sales online, but what’s distinctive is how three quarters of those online orders are collected in stores.

The one-off £3.95 cost for same-day delivery is also a good option for some customers, going head to head against a service like Amazon’s Prime next-day and same-day offer, for an annual fee.

Somewhere else Argos has delivered is in mobile. In 2015 it was the first multichannel retailer to generate £1bn of mobile commerce revenue in a single year, boosted by sales on mobile devices growing 38%. A user-friendly mobile site and a slick and functional mobile app are the two mainstays of this offer, while Argos’s dedication to the channel allows the retailer to closely align its digital and physical worlds. In other words, the app acts to connect the two, so customers can switch from one device to another with ease – reflecting the increasingly fractured path to purchase consumers now take.

The Argo app has also let users streamline the in-store experience by providing a reservation number for collection. Similarly, features such as geo-location technology allow the retailer to target customers with relevant and location-related messaging, and a barcode scanner lets customers instantly bring up more information about items in the catalogue.

In short, Argos might not necessarily have the most attractive UX, but in functional terms it shines.

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