Even Argos is repositioning itself on the web
For anyone born in the UK since the 1970s it’s hard to imagine a high street without Argos having a presence. But that could be the case sooner rather than later as the catalogue retail giant signals a shift towards the digital world.
In a business review accompanying the October release of half-year financial results by parent company Home Retail Group, a ‘transformation plan’ was announced, “which will reinvent Argos as a digital retail leader and reposition it from a catalogue business to a digitally-led business.” This announcement was released alongside operating figures that reveal Argos as the UK’s second most visited internet retail site in the past year, and show that 7% of the Group’s sales were made through mobile shopping.
Argos turns the page
Amongst the changes taking place at Argos in the immediate future are the planned closure of at least 75 bricks-and-mortar stores over the next five years, the phasing out of the print catalogue, the introduction of a new digital catalogue in time for this Christmas, and collection of “customer data on a large scale.”
So what has caused Argos to make these dramatic detours away from the high street and onto the e-commerce highways of the internet? According to its Business Review, a growing amount of competition from online retailers (such as Amazon), has challenged “Argos’ historic advantages” and “elevated customer expectations”. The Review also concludes that consumers are increasingly preferring digital channels over high street stores and catalogues.
The benefits of digital
Argos’ announcement is a reminder that in 2012, an increasing number of traditional retailers are turning to the internet to compete, rather than standing to fight newer digital competitors on their home ground of the high street. It’s also a reminder of the benefits that retail businesses old and new are able to tap into by operating via the internet. These benefits include:
Lower overheads (and hence the ability to price more competitively) The potential to reach a nationwide or even global demographic Carrying a greater range of products Streamlined sales procedures The ability to keep the ‘shop’ open 24 hours a day, seven days a week Relatively easy and affordable for small newcomers to get started selling online
All of the above considered, it’s not hard to see why Argos have made the decision, and expect to see many other high street stalwarts following suit over the coming years.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Jon Celeste .