With the increasing popularity of online shopping, retailers are racing to improve the digital and physical selling experience into one seamless customer experience with cross-channel inventory visibility.
Today we will be looking at Argos, who was traditionally a British catalogue retailer, specialising in home retail goods. Over several years, Argos has now become an omnichannel retailer, selling both in-store and online. As an example of their business innovation, with only several weeks till Christmas, the Old Street Argos store has upgraded their in-store experience to encompass all things digital, and is now one of the six ‘digital concept’ stores located around the UK, four of which are in London.
Below is a photo of the new digital Argos store on Google maps. Customers can view the inside of the store online from Google maps.
The digital store can be found on Google maps, where users can see inside the store in virtual 3D.
Below are two infographics, one is showing the old catalogue experience, and the second infographic shows a new in-store experience and multiple channels allowing customers to purchase products.
The old catalogue shopping experiences relies on going in the Argos store, this means the customer purchasing is confined to store opening hours. When looking through the catalogue at home, customers still have to travel to stores and check which stock is available, with a potentially wasted journey if items aren’t.
In the new store some of the processes such as stock check, order, payment and product delivery have been streamlined into one process. Customers now have the option to purchase any time and anywhere through various channels and are not limited to going in store to purchase items.
We tested the new purchase journey through the online and in-store channels.
Old Street Argos ‘digital concept’ store
The days of paper slips and pens are gone. Instead we have rows of iPad catalogues, much in the similar vein of the Apple Stores. The design of the tables and browsing is a clean and clutter free.
iPad catalogues allow rich media viewing, allowing users to watch videos of product and reviews
Harder to do comparisons in prices and in the iPad compared to the paper catalogue due to the 7 inch-real estate on the iPad, which only shows 8 in a grid.
‘Pay and collect’ points means the end for its long collection counters that involved customers waiting for their number to be called by shop assistants.
- The new in store experience is clean with the iPad catalogue. It’s now a digital hub with free wifi access for customer wishing to buy on their mobile phones.
- The old catalogue hasn’t been phased out yet which allows existing customers who are not tech-savvy and don’t have access to their own web accessible devices, to browse goods in paper form.
- Online catalogues enabling customers to view and share customer reviews and rating for products, informing customers to make a product choice decision.
- However purchases cannot be made with all items. Whilst trying to buy a washing machine I got told to go to a till point, which meant I would still write the code on a slip, except I didn’t have one and had to use my mobile phone to take a picture of the code.
- Can self-service stock checker, no need to manually type in the item code. Input method removed from the old process, saving time.
- The Argos website allows customers to purchase at any time and anywhere from any device. This means Argos store is operating 24 hours non-stop which lets customers browse and buy out of store hours at their comfort and during their free time.
Overall Argos has improved the in-store experience, however improvement could be made on the catalogue with bigger screens, and the ability to pay and buy products straight from the iPads, or print out the code as a receipt for the till point. The online experience was excellent, and improved over the previous purchasing at home experience where customers were still tied to coming in store to paid for their items for their reserved items. They can now pay for it online and collect it instore ‘as a pick up’ service which needing to go to a till point.
Ben is on hand to answer your questions.