Argos is almost unique in its position as a high street vendor that doesn’t actively promote customers to touch and feel products, instead it offers a catalogue or online experience in store for consumers to have a wide choice and either purchase at the till or click and collect. With more than seven million consumers not online the argument for this service makes sense, however as more and more households accept a device that allows them to get online, smartphone, tablet, connected TV, games station etc. the argument starts to fall down.
A dip in profits motivated Argos management to take these steps however at least they are willing to change. The likelihood is that the seventy store closures or relocation will grow to around 50% of the current retail premises as more consumers accept accessing the retailer online and collecting products from centralised depots.
Is there a lesson for all mixed channel retailers?
Unless your business is based around a strong customer interaction with the products and you can add genuine value to the sell from your sales team then online is where you should concentrate your efforts. Immersive technologies can provide an environment akin to the in-store experience and virtual assistants can guide a customer through their purchase when required. Brand presence on the high street will always present an appeal to the casual consumer and allow for passing traffic, however the cost involved per sale in comparison to an ecommerce site is in most cases to great a barrier to success.
The high street still has a place for niche products and impulsive purchases however the majority of the goods bought and sold can and are done more successfully in an online environment.