Argos opens doors on first digital concept store

Argos has unveiled the first of six digital concept stores that aim to ‘redefine the role of a store for a digital future’.

The first of the six new Argos stores has launched at 189 Old Street in the capital, with further London stores in Marble Arch, Old Kent Road and Chancery Lane. Others will open in Colchester and Dunfermline. The London stores are remodels of existing stores, while Colchester and Dunfermline are new store locations.

The new shops offer a 60 second Fast Track collection service for customers purchasing goods online or via mobile devices.

Customers shopping in-store will use iPads with expanded shopping applications such as product videos and customer reviews, or personal mobile devices via free in-store WiFi, rather than Argos’ laminated catalogues, pencils and stock checker machines. But catalogues are not disappearing in the near term; they will still be available to collect or as shopping aides in the newly designed customer service area.

Behind the scenes, the new London-based digital concept stores will also trial Argos’ hub & spoke distribution model. The larger ‘hub’ store will stock an expanded range of around 20,000 lines, and run routes to deliver products in a van to its smaller ‘spoke’ stores. This will provide all stores with either immediate, same day or next day access to an expanded range of products.

Argos managing director John Walden said: “We are early in our ambitious plan to transform Argos into a digital retail leader. 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.

“The new digital concept stores enable us to trial with customers several important features of what we believe a store should offer in a digital future, such as a modern and universally appealing environment, a fast and digitally-enabled shopping journey, market-leading fulfilment options for an increasing range of products, and friendly colleagues that provide a human touch in an otherwise impersonal digital transaction.

“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.”

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