In 2013, Argos announced the opening of its first small-format digital concept store. For its time, this was a momentous step forward for the brand and the technology has only gotten better. The company has since opened seven additional concept stores across Britain with about 200 more reportedly planned for the coming years. As one of the largest high-street retailers in the United Kingdom, Argos’ move toward a digital-first store makes a big impact on retail as a whole.
Argos’ new stores feature an updated design with brighter lighting and fewer products presented on the floor for a cleaner, more streamlined look. New in-store tablets replace the infamous laminated paper catalogs and large dynamic displays communicate information like time, weather, deals, and even who’s on staff each day. These technologies effectively transform how Argos has adapted their store operations to the conditions in the market, leading to smarter and more efficient stores.
Similar to many retailers, Argos said at the time that around half of its total sales started online, with around 90% of customers visiting a store to continue shopping and/or pick up their goods. This demonstrated clearly the need for the retailer to bring that technology to the forefront in order to enhance the physical experience.
“With around 90 percent of all sales still involving a store, the Argos store estate remains a key component of the Argos multi-channel model,” said Argos in a statement.
Today, the in-store tablets act primarily as a simple digital catalog for a shopper. They provide more in-depth product information than the traditional catalog including item specs, inventory, and updated pricing. They also help store associates in being more proactive in helping shoppers navigate the new system.
Where the concept store really shines is Argos’ usage of their dynamic screens. They’re powered of personalized of some intelligence that allows them display appropriate items at the appropriate time, update prices on screen in real-time, and only show items that are in stock.
“The whole of the perimeter wall can change the store environment in a moment, which is really powerful,” says David Dalziel of Dalziel & Pow, the creative agency behind the stores.
We love to see major retailers like Argos taking their offerings to the next level because we think it proves the need for traditional retailers to make digital their highest priority in a way that incorporates their physical locations, not ignores them. We’re excited to see how Argos will continue to innovate as these concept stores become more prominent.