Argos has announced an annual rise in like-for-like sales for the first time in five years, as its plan to transform itself from a catalogue-led business to a digitally-focused one looks to be bearing fruit. Multichannel sales grew to £2 billion, representing over 50% of Argos’ total sales, with online sales growing by 10%.
In the face of intense competition from the likes of Tesco and online retailers such as Amazon, Argos has embarked on an ambitious transformational plan to reinvent its business from traditional catalogue retailer to digital retail leader. Its plan is to target a 15% rise in sales by 2018 with a focus on online, mobile and tablet transactions. As part of their brand overhaul, Argos will replace its laminate catalogue with web-based touchscreens.
The general merchandise retailer also aims to tackle the growing trend of showrooming head-on by introducing Wi-Fi into its 700+ stores later this year, enabling shoppers to browse the internet in-store to seek out the lowest prices. Teddy Duddy, Chief Executive of Argos owner Home Retail Group, believes retailers need to provide improved price transparency as consumers are increasingly taking control of technology.
The issue of showrooming is fuelled by the growing dominance of web giant Amazon, which without physical overheads is able to undercut the competition on price. However Argos is planning to go head-to-head with Amazon by investing in its physical store locations around the UK where customers can collect orders, and in its customer service: shoppers can receive advice from customer service assistants in-store, something Amazon cannot offer.
The increased dominance of Amazon is impacting all retailers. Read how Tesco Direct worked with Profitero to monitor its prices across Amazon UK’s 18 million products to effectively compete against the web giant.
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