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Argos leading the charge


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Who can forget that feeling of flicking through the Argos catalogue; choosing your Christmas presents and hoping that this year Santa would deliver an irritatingly chirpy Furby and the obligatory Boxing Day board game (I never did manage to assemble that Mouse Trap). While this might make us feel and warm and fuzzy inside, Argos is in the midst of launching a digital revolution that leaves no room for nostalgia.

Internally, Argos are expanding their multi-channel strategy with the implementation of the ‘hub and spoke’ system; larger stores hold more stock which is delivered to the ‘spoke’ smaller stores as and when necessary, saving space and improving efficiency. This has led to the development of smaller stores at around 3,000 to 5,000 sq. ft.; a drastic decrease in floor space from a standard 15,000ft Argos. New smaller stores are based around the digital concept where customers browse the range on iPads and if in stock at the hub store, order items for same or next day delivery to their choice of spoke store.

90% of Argos transactions are now completed in store.

So with all this talk of digital and multi-channel, why such a focus on stores? Well Argos believe that while customers like the ease of online shopping, they prefer to reserve or buy an item online and then go on to collect it in store. The fact is they are right – is there anything more annoying than a missed delivery? Customers today are busy, and the ease of popping into the local Argos on the way home in the knowledge your item is waiting is highly appealing – the proof is in the figures: 90% of Argos transactions are now completed in store. The integration between Argos’ physical presence and their online services is key in their transformation, and the focus here is all on the customer. Smiling human beings, local networks and local people, and a superior digital offering is what they believe will differentiate them from high street competition.

Future developments include Fast Track – customers order online, likely through mobile web or app, and are able to collect from their chosen store no longer than one minute after arriving. The Argos we knew and loved all those years ago may be on the way out, but they are inviting the catalogue faithful on the digital journey – and with the ability to order and collect the reincarnated Furby in a short 60 seconds, how can we refuse?

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