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A journey through the history of the renowned UK catalog retailer Argos

Established in 1972, Argos was founded in 1972. Argos is founded in 1972 and is a UK catalog retailer, serving the United Kingdom and Ireland through several shopping channels. Over its fifty-year history Argos has seen numerous changes, and is now known as a top shopping destination with over 130 million customers every year. Argos is the third most popular retail site in the UK and is generating more than $5.2 millions US worth of sales in 2021. This case study explores how Argos’ marketing strategy was adapted from its humble beginnings as a catalog store to a retail giant using an omnichannel strategy.

A journey through the history of the well-known UK catalog retailer

As this Argos’ case study shows that the company began small but has since implemented a variety strategies, including omnichannel advertising in order to grow. Through the years, Argos has been recognized with multiple marketing awards such as the Multi-Channel Retailer of the Year award from Retail Week. Argos is the first store one in the UK to surpass the PS1 billion amount in sales.

Early days

Argos was founded in the year 1972 by Richard Tompkins, a British entrepreneur who started Green Shield Stamps. These were promotional stamps customers purchased at participating stores. Argos was initially called the Green Shield Gift House, a catalog where people could redeem stamps.

The year 1973 was the first time he updated the catalog, naming it Argos which was later followed by stores in the same year. The first year of operation the company made more than PS1 million sales.

Development and expansion

UK tobacco firm BAT Industries purchased Argos in 1979 and operated the brand up to 1990. During this time, Argos opened a jewelry counter which later grew and became one of the largest jewelry retailers in the UK. The company changed hands several times between 1990 to 2016 while staying in line with its brand.

Argos’ branding strategies build on value, choice, and ease of use — the exact features it has offered its customers since its catalog beginnings. It was the first retailer to offer online shopping before the age of internet shopping, providing an extensive selection of items customers could purchase, and had delivered directly to their homes.

This retail chain has withstood several recessions, and then decided to upgrade its products following the 2008 crash in the financial markets. Five years after the recession, Argos had to close 75 stores in its physical locations, and was testing new store technology at its Camden location. Guests could look through the catalogue on iPads inside the store, and then place an order when they were shopping for other products. Then, this quick and easy way to shop and delivery helped drive growth. Argos’ strategy for marketing helped the company grow and garnered praise from retail industry insiders who appreciated the company’s omnichannel approach.

2016: Argos’ acquisition by Sainsbury

In 2016, Argos was acquired by the British brand of supermarkets Sainsbury in exchange for PS1.3 billion. The acquisition broadened Argos customers and also gave Sainsbury the benefit of a wider delivery network. Since 2016, Argos has continued to modify its website and mobile apps for better brand consistency and seamless shopping regardless of which channel a customer is using.

Analyzing Argos’ marketing strategy

Argos has achieved a remarkable achievement through its marketing strategy, remaining competitive against Amazon and other eCommerce giants such as Amazon. Argos’ market share has remained consistent throughout UK eCommerce, and grew at the beginning of its existence, by expanding its offerings of goods and services and opening retail outlets to complement catalogue sales.

Argos’ online strategy involves focusing on customers with specific deals based on their geographical area and a custom website that is stylish and easy to use. As you move on with this overview, you can know more about the different aspects of Argos’ marketing strategy has been instrumental in its success.

Argos target markets

Because Argos can be described as a broad retailer that allows customers to purchase many different items, its target customer base is households. The company ceased publishing its catalog in the year 2020, it did distribute it to millions of households throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Additionally, Sainsbury frequently conducts Argos customer satisfaction surveys to ensure that they are targeting the right customers with the appropriate products. Sainsbury provides competitive pricing, which allows it to reach out to price-conscious consumers. Additionally, it launched its Homebase brand to provide home goods to more affluent customers.

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Argos pricing strategies

The company keeps an eye on the market to ensure prices that are competitive. In order to keep its name on the market and give customers value the retailer often offers promotions and sales, usually giving coupons and discount codes to those who sign-up to receive emails. Argos additionally considers the cost of production as well as location and other factors when setting prices.

Argos distribution channels

Its Argos business model is built on the concept of delivering goods through several channels. After its acquisition by Sainsbury, a number of the stores that were standalone have closed and have been substituted with outlets inside Sainsbury stores. As of 2022, the company still operates 253 standalone locations as well as 422 outlet locations.

Argos distribution includes its website, which allows customers to receive items to their homes. Argos also has multiple warehouses across the United Kingdom, so customers can order items online and pick them up in an Argos store.

Argos promotion strategies

In its early days Argos’s strategy for promotion primarily was to send its catalogs out to customers in its service area. As the company grew and was faced with increased competition, it started running more targeted advertisements and advertising the retailer online. Argos today uses online advertising as well as social media, videos as well as content marketing, to highlight its products and draw customers to its Argos store.

Argos” approach to the concept of omnichannel retail

When Argos began using technology in stores around the middle of 2000, few stores were offering similar services. With iPad stations, customers could look through the catalog to find what they were looking for in the store or browse for items that may have been not in stock in addition to other purposes.

The company continued to develop its omnichannel strategy, focusing specifically on its Argos website that has modern and user-friendly design. For instance, visitors who visit the website are provided with reservation numbers to buy products at the store with no hassle. Each aspect of Argos’s omnichannel marketing plan has helped elevate the brand to the current position.

How Argos disrupted in-store user experience

Part of Argo’s marketing strategy is to provide a simple shopping experience to customers. In 2013, Argos ditched its laminated in-store catalogs and replaced them with iPads that customers could use to peruse and purchase products. Over the past decade Argos has substantially improved its experience in stores.

Customers can now access the 3D layout of their stores via Google Maps and walk through them virtually. In the shops customers can interact with virtual service assistants on large screens. Customers can also pay for items through a self-checkout machine and pick them up in the store.

In keeping with in line with Argos business model, every store functions as a digital center with a clear layout, making it simpler for customers to find an online catalog and search for the items they want. They also offer free in-store Wi-Fithat customers can utilize to browse the catalog through their mobile apps to buy items that aren’t available in the stores.

Incorporating new technology to the digital experience for users

Argos opened its first self-service retail store in 2019, and now, many of its outlets located in Sainsbury stores offer self-service. Argos recently launched visual search on its iOS app, allowing customers to search for items by using photos. In 2019, the store also introduced Voice Shop, which enabled customers to make use of voice searches to browse the catalog using Google Assistant. Google Assistant platform. It was one of the first retailers across the United Kingdom that had this feature, providing another level of ease for customers.

Analyzing Argos eCommerce website

Argos has been consistently recognized for its shopping experience across multiple channels and is among the most highly evaluated brands in eCommerce. We’ve examined the templates on four pages of the site to discover eCommerce top practices and mistakes to avoid.

A. Analyzing Argos’ home page

Argos homepage has been through many changes during its time and is now offering an improved design and is easy to navigate. It’s also getting a new look in 2023.

We liked what we liked

The categories are easily found they are well-presented on the site.
Banner ads on the homepage are targeted at viewers using geolocation and their past purchase history.
Offers are prominently displayed over the fold.
It’s easy to search for the item you want to purchase.
The website is mobile responsive and simple to navigate.

What did we not know?

A few of the offerings on the homepage were irrelevant.
The sheer number of choices could be overwhelming: since it was initially catalogs, there are many categories and advertisements to peruse.

B. Analyzing Argos” category page

Argos category pages are the equivalent online to walking through a big box shop.

We liked what we liked

Categories are easy to find.
In the mobile application, each category’s page contains different subcategories for filtering product results.
The site stops before it gets too long, making it less daunting.
The sticky cart function can help users keep track of items they might need to buy.

What we didn’t know

Other item statistics pop up when shopping to create a sense of urgency, an aspect that can distract the buyer from their shopping experience.
Subcategories won’t be visible on the homepage.

C. Analyzing Argos’ product page

Since the original Argos marketing strategy is built around making their products look appealing in catalogs The retailer designs attractive product pages.

We liked what we liked

Prices are prominently listed under each item, helping customers locate the best prices.
Users can easily add products to carts , without having to click on a product.
The most important features of the product are presented in a clear and simple manner.
Customers can check estimated delivery times dependent on their location.

What did we miss?

Each product’s website has an offer to apply to the Argos credit card. This can be distracting.
It is necessary to scroll through a large amount of information to access details and reviews.

D. Analyzing Argos”checkout” procedure

A checkout procedure is a different way Argos makes shopping convenient for its customers.

What we liked:

The trolley is easy to access.
Storage of payment details speeds up the checkout process
It’s simple to manage and track existing orders

What we didn’t

Some of the offers which are available on the site have expired
The touch screen may not always function correctly
The checkout page is frozen occasionally.
You need to create an account before you can checkout.

The impressive stats from Argos that you need to know

Despite all the difficulties in recent years, Argos is still able to maintain some impressive figures:

Argos The market share of Argos is high. Argos was responsible for five percent of digital transactions in the United Kingdom in 2018 (Statista)
More than half of UK furniture buyers go to Argos (Statista)
Around 40% of furniture shoppers are likely to use Argos (Statista)
Argos boasted 49.336 million visits on January 20, 2023 (Sem Rush)
Argos had the highest sales of sports products and outdoor equipment within the UK in 2020, beating other retailers such as Sports Direct and Nike (Computer Weekly)
Argos customers have read 35% of the emails the company sent in 2016, which is high for the retail sector. (Internet Retailing)
Argos The top categories at Argos for 2021 included toys hobbies, and DIY (eCommerce DB)

Latest news about the UK retailer

With such a large brand’s awareness, Argos’ Argos marketing strategy seems to be effective. Even a brand which has established itself as an iconic brand should be committed to maintaining its branding. It is a part of making news. Here are some of the latest news stories on Argos.

Argos is closing all stores in Ireland

Since its inception, Argos has not picked the same amount of popularity in Ireland. One reason could be that the company isn’t closed on Sundays as is the norm for Irish businesses. The main reason for businesses to close in Ireland is the fact that they needed to modernize or the stores would be insufficient. Argos is still keeping locations open across Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK. Its remaining 34 Irish locations will close in June 2023.

Bestway acquired a 3.45 percent stake in Sainsbury

The privately-owned group Bestway has taken a 3.45% stake in Sainsbury which also owns Argos. This allowed the price of its stock to climb, which placed management in a position to execute the Argos’s marketing strategy.

Argos customers are going wild over a fan heater

When winter brings cold snaps across the UK, Argos sells multiple small fan heaters. These heaters, which cost PS40 are efficient in keeping customers warm and happy. They are able to warm rooms within minutes, which makes them ideal for UK families that are struggling to make ends meet due to inflation.

What we’ve learned from Argos”marketing strategy

Argos has been around for more than half a century, partly by recognizing what customers want and shifting in line with the current trends. Argos’ retail innovation strategy has been to experiment with the new trends and release them once they’re popular, for example:

The company has opened several locations to complement its catalog.
It was an early adopter of technology that was used in store which replaced large catalogs by introducing iPads, which gave customers access to an endless database of products.
The Argos online marketing strategy involves creating ads that are tailored to the right customers based upon their location and their preferences.

In contrast to Argos competitors it has remained afloat during COVID-19 , and is now poised to come back stronger. It’s not the right time to be relaxing and unwinding.