The concept will debut in six stores, with the first opening in London’s Old Street this week. Other digital stores will include Colchester and Dunfermline, which are due to open before Christmas.
Using what Argo describes as a ‘fresh and modern’ look, the new stores will offer a ‘60 second Fast Track collection service’, for customers purchasing goods online or via mobile devices.
The catalogues will remain in stores, though these are relegated to a newly designed customer service area within the digital stores.
Other new features include digital display screens to replace static sales literature and paper posters; in-store iPads with expanded shopping applications such as product videos and customer reviews and free WiFi in stores to allow shoppers to access the Argos mobile app on-site.
David Dalziel, creative director at Dalziel and Pow, says, ’This new Digital Store Concept for Argos is a revolution, a very significant development for the brand and its perception in the market. It’s about making Argos a cool, vibrant and relevant place to shop.
’It provides a flexible platform for future developments, able to respond to further technical advances that will further enhance the customer experience.’
The London-based digital concept stores will form the Argos ‘hub’ stores, according to the retailer, stocking an expanded range of around 20,000 lines, and run routes to deliver products in a van to its smaller ‘spoke’ stores. This aims to enable ‘either immediate, same day or next day access to an expanded range of products’.
John Walden, managing director of Argos, says, ‘We are seeking to reposition our stores to support a digital future – in which digital channels are the primary interface for customers, but stores continue to be critically important as a national network for product collection, and a local presence for local colleagues to provide customer service’.
He adds, ‘We anticipate that our digital concept stores, and the several features in trial, will prove valuable in instructing any future changes we may make across to our store estate to further the Argos transformation’.
According to the brand, Argos currently generates more than 40 per cent of its sales via digital channels, with revenue from mobile phones and tablets accounting for 16 per cent of total sales. Around 90 per cent of all customer transactions touch one of Argos’ stores.