Is Argos multi-channel’s first success story?

23rd Jul 2015

Bertrand Bodson of Home Retail Group. Photo credit: Home Retail Group

Argos has revealed it is the first retailer to reach £1 billion in sales made by mobile devices.
The high street and catalogue retailer achieved over £1 billion in m-commerce last year, with sales on mobile up 38 per cent to 28th February.

Speaking at parent company Home Retail’s Christmas in July event, chief digital officer Bertrand Bodson said the figures included any sale starting on a mobile device, including home deliveries, click and collect and reserve in store.

Looking ahead, Bodson forecast another strong peak festive period for mobile at Home Retail:

“We have seen astonishing growth in m-commerce in the past three years,” he said. “At Argos, we recognised this trend early on and invested in agile teams focused on optimizing apps that work for customers.”

Bodson added that his group were beginning to see the true value of mobile as a ‘connector between the virtual and the physical world’, instead of purely a means of transaction.

“Our customers like to shop cross-channel and 90 per cent of purchases touch a store, with 35 per cent using the convenience of check and reserve,” Bodson continued.
“It also works in reverse, with the new in-store browsers giving a real sense of the digital experience and encouraging them to try it.”

The progress puts Argos well in the lead on the high street as retailers continue to grapple with what it really means to be multichannel. It’s possible that Argos customers are more open to the businesses’ changing platforms, having grown accustomed to their catalogue and in-store ordering that they remained largely unique to Argos.

Speaking in 2013, Matt Rubin, a retail analyst at Verdict, warned Argos would face a ‘learning curve’ over turning around its ‘out of date stores’, adding that "Argos is such an institution that everyone knows what they are doing. The company will have to learn a lot about how they can introduce a new way of doing things".

Yet it looks like the home and electronics retailer may finally be reaping the rewards of its turnaround. Home Retail Group confirmed Argos had achieved a second year of like-for-like sales growth for the 2015 financial year. In that time it completed the national roll-out of its ‘hub & spoke’ distribution network, enabling same day collection of 20,000 products, as well as operating 60 digital stores trading across three different store formats. E-commerce sales count for 46 per cent of total sales, with mobile sales representing 25 per cent of total sales.

While investment in previous quarters might have dented growth for Argos, this continual push to multichannel has meant the group is finally reaping the rewards of a long journey to modernisation. The brand that hit the recession as arguably one of the most dated retailers on the high street is back on track with a whole new box of tricks to boot.

Ava Szajna

My Retail Media

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