Retailer Argos has teamed up with Transport for London (TfL) to launch its first Underground store at Cannon Street tube station.
The new ‘Argos Collect’ digital store, which officially opened today (November 25), will offer a choice of up to 20,000 products to buy or reserve in advance online, for easy for same or next day collection. Customer orders will be fulfilled via Argos’ ‘hub and spoke’ network, with twice daily routes from a larger nearby ‘hub’ store using a fleet of new Argos vans and drivers. The store covers 650sq ft in total with a sales floor of 170sq ft. It will be open from 7.30am to 7pm from Monday to Friday and 9am to 6pm on Saturday.
Argos said: ‘TfL’s network is responsible for an average of around 11 million journeys every day, and with the rise in smartphone use and the availability of Wi-Fi at London Underground stations, it’s now easier than ever for busy commuters to make an online purchase as they travel around the transport network and collect it at the most convenient time for them.’
The Cannon Street ‘Argos Collect’ digital store is one of four new digital formats that the chain, which is part of Home Retail Group, is currently trialling. A total of 32 ‘traditional’ sized stores have been refitted in a contemporary new style. Customers shopping at these new stores use tablets with additional shopping information, such as product videos and customer reviews, or personal mobile devices via free in-store Wi-Fi. Measuring around 15,000 sq ft each, these converted stores hold 15,000-20,000 product lines for immediate pick up.
Meanwhile, five smaller sized digital stores of 2,000-4,000sq ft are being trialled in Liverpool and London’s Cheapside, Clapham, Fulham and Stratford, with plans to open an additional store on The Strand in the capital later this year. Customers can access Argos’ full 20,000-strong range by using online pre-pay or Check & Reserve for same or next day collection. The stores hold around 6,000 product lines for immediate pick up.
In addition, there are 15 concessions of around 1,000 sq ft inside Homebase stores, which is also part of Home Retail Group. Customers can access the full 20,000 product range by using online pre-pay or Check & Reserve for same or next day collection. The concessions hold around 5,000 product lines for immediate pick up. Five more concessions are planned by early 2015.
John Walden, chief executive of Home Retail Group, said: “Digital shoppers are increasingly demanding improved choice, convenience and speed in the fulfilment of their online orders, especially via ‘click and collect’ (the collection of online orders from a conveniently located shop).
“Argos has been a click and collect leader, and we continue to innovate our offer with our new digital stores. They represent what we believe will be the role of the Argos store in an emerging digital future: modern and energetic, with larger ranges available within hours, tablets for easy browsing and ordering, streamlined in-store customer journeys including 60-second fast track collection of online purchases, and a friendly human face to provide personalised customer service.”
The stores are the latest initiatives in Argos’ five-year plan, announced in October 2012, to reinvent from a catalogue-led to a digitally-led business.