Earlier this year, it was announced that Argos may lose its in-store ‘laminated books of dreams’ (catalogues, for the non-Bill Bailey fans among you) and switch to having customers browse iPads. These iPads, presumably somehow rendered indestructible and un-stealable, will be trialled in a number of concept stores in the coming months. Upon release of the news, some hand wringing ensued, some nostalgia, some nonsense about lost revenue from browsing.
But frankly, Argos needs to move even faster, or risk missing a trick. In an age when there’s demand for the likes of eBay and Amazon to open High Street presences – and Amazon is even considering drone delivery – to get orders out faster, a network of well-supplied mini-warehouses on every High Street is an asset and a half for Argos to own. But unlike eBay and Amazon, the order process remains full of redundant steps and pain.
This week, on the return from a dentist appointment, I passed my local Argos. I needed two Christmas gifts and couldn’t face the ‘Sorry you weren’t in’ delivery cards that ordering these bulky items online would entail. I’d already done my research and knew I’d buy them from Argos. I’d been planning to ‘click and collect’ at the weekend, but at 10am on a Monday morning, the store was deserted and the thought of return trip in the next month of shopping hell was unappealing. I nipped in.