Established in 1972, Argos was founded in 1972. Argos is an UK catalog retailer that serves customers in the United Kingdom and Ireland through several shopping channels. In its 50-year history the retailer has experienced many transformations and is now serving as a popular shopping destination with more than 130 million customers every year. Argos is the fourth most visited retail site in the UK and is generating more than $5.2 million US dollar sales as of 2021. This case study reveals how Argos’ marketing strategy has been adapted from its humble origins as a retailer of catalogs to become a major retailer using an omnichannel strategy.
A trip through the past of the well-known UK catalog retailer
As Argos’ case study shows that the business was small when it first started and has since adopted a variety of strategies, including omnichannel marketing to expand. Over time, Argos has been recognized by numerous awards for marketing, including the 2015 Multichannel Retailer of the Year award from Retail Week. The Argos store was the first within the UK to surpass the PS1 billion threshold in sales.
Argos was founded around 1972, in 1972 by Richard Tompkins, a British businessman who founded Green Shield Stamps. These were stamps with promotional value that customers used to buy merchandise at participating stores. Argos was first referred to as”the Green Shield Gift House, catalogues where customers could spend stamps.
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The year 1973 was the first time he changed the name of the catalog, calling it Argos, later opening stores in the same year. In its first year the company made more than PS1 million in sales.
Expansion and development
UK tobacco firm BAT Industries purchased Argos in 1979, and managed the brand up to 1990. Then, Argos opened a jewelry counter, which grew until it became one of the largest jewelry stores throughout the UK. The company was sold several times from 1990 to 2016 , while remaining faithful to its brand.
Argos’ branding strategies build around value, choice and convenience — the exact attributes they have offered their customers since the beginning of its catalog. It provided internet-style shopping before the advent of the internet, and offered a wide array of products customers could buy and have delivered to their residences directly.
This retail chain has withstood multiple recessions before deciding to modernize its products in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown. Five years after the downturn in the economy, Argos had to close 75 physical stores, while testing new in-store tech at its Camden location. Customers could browse through the catalog via iPads inside the store and make purchases while browsing for other merchandise. In the end, this speedy and easy method of shopping and delivery led to growth. Argos’ marketing strategy was instrumental in helping the company grow and garnered praise from retail industry insiders who appreciated its omnichannel approach.
The year 2016 was Argos purchase by Sainsbury
In 2016, Argos was acquired by the British supermarket chain Sainsbury at PS1.3 billion. The acquisition widened 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 to ensure consistency of its brand and a seamless shopping experience regardless of which channel the customer uses.
Analyzing Argos’ marketing strategy
Argos has achieved a remarkable accomplishment through its strategy for marketing, remaining competitive against big eCommerce companies like Amazon. Argos market share has been steady throughout UK eCommerce and has increased at the beginning of its existence through expanding its product offerings and opening retail outlets in addition to catalog sales.
Argos’ online strategy is aimed at attracting customers with specific promotions based on the geographic place of residence and designing a straightforward website that is sleek and user-friendly. As you move on with this summary, you’ll find out more about how certain elements of Argos’ marketing strategy has helped to make it a success.
Argos target markets
As Argos can be described as a broad retailer which allows its customers to buy many different items and services, the target customers are households. The company ceased printing its catalogue in 2020, it did distribute it to millions of households throughout its home countries of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Additionally, Sainsbury frequently conducts Argos surveys of customer satisfaction to ensure that they are targeting the right consumers with the right items. The business has competitive pricing, which allows it to attract customers who are price conscious. Additionally, it launched its Homebase brand that offers items for the home to more wealthy customers.
Argos pricing strategies
The company keeps an eye at the market in order to provide competitive pricing. In order to keep its name on the market and give customers value Argos frequently provides promotions and sales, usually giving coupons and discount codes to customers who sign-up for email newsletters. Argos will also take into account production costs as well as location and other aspects when determining prices.
Argos distribution channels
The Argos marketing strategy is built around delivering its products via various channels. Following its acquisition by Sainsbury, a number of the stores that were standalone have closed and have been replaced with outlets inside Sainsbury stores. By 2022, the company still operates 253 standalone sites and 422 outlet outlets.
Argos distribution includes it’s website. It permits customers to have items delivered to their homes. It also operates multiple warehouses in the United Kingdom, so customers can place orders online and pick them-up in an Argos store.
Argos promotion strategies
In its beginnings Argos’s strategy for promotion primarily involved sending its catalog to households in its service area. When the company grew and became more competitive, it began running more targeted advertisements and promoted the Argos online. Argos is now using online ads, social media, videos, as well as content marketing, to highlight its services and draw people to the store.
Argos”s approach to omnichannel retail
When Argos introduced technology in its stores in the mid-2000s, very few stores were offering similar services. With iPad stations customers could browse catalogues to locate the items they needed in the store or buy items that might have been not in stock in addition to other things.
The company continued to develop its omnichannel strategies, with a focus specifically on its Argos website with an easy-to-use and contemporary design. For instance, visitors on the site can get reservations numbers that allow them to purchase items in-store without a hassle. Every element of Argos’ omnichannel marketing strategy has helped elevate the brand to its current level of success.
How Argos disrupted in-store user experience
Part of Argo’s marketing strategy is to provide a simple shopping experience to customers. Since 2013 Argos has discarded its laminated store catalogs for iPads, which customers could peruse and purchase items. In the last decade the retailer has vastly enhanced its store experience.
Customers can now open the 3D model of their store in Google Maps and walk through them in virtual reality. While in the stores they can even chat with virtual service assistants on large screens. Customers can also purchase items at a self-checkout station and collect them in-store.
In line with to the Argos advertising mix, every store acts as a virtual hub that has a neat layout, making it easier for customers to find the catalog station and search for products they’re looking for. They also provide free in-store Wi-Fi, which customers are able to utilize to browse the catalog on their mobile application for items that are not available in retail stores.
New technology is being added to the digital user experience
Argos introduced its first self-service retail store in 2019and, as of today the majority of its outlets located in Sainsbury stores are self-service. Argos recently added visual search to its iOS app, allowing users to look up items using a photograph. In the year 2019, the retailer also introduced Voice Shop that allowed customers to use their voice to browse the catalog using their Google Assistant platform. It was among the first stores within the United Kingdom that had this feature, adding another layer of convenience to its customers.
Analyzing Argos eCommerce website
Argos has consistently been recognized for its multichannel shopping experience and is one of the most highly rated brands in eCommerce. We have analyzed the four-page template of the site to discover eCommerce most effective practices and mistakes to avoid.
A. Analyzing Argos the homepage
Argos homepage has undergone many changes over its history and now features an improved design and is easy to navigate. The site is also undergoing a revamp in 2023.
What we enjoyed about
Categories are easy to find in the site and are prominently highlighted on the site.
Banner ads on the homepage are targeted at viewers using geolocation and their past purchases.
Offers are prominently displayed above the fold.
It’s simple to find something.
The website is mobile responsive and simple to navigate.
What did we not know?
Some of the advertisements on the homepage were unrelated.
The number of categories available can be overwhelming. Considering that it began as a catalog, there are many categories and ads to peruse.
B. Analyzing Argos”category page
Argos category pages are like the online equivalent of walking through the aisles of a large box retailer.
What we liked
It is easy to find categories.
In the mobile application, each category page features several subcategories that can help you filter results for products.
The site shuts down before it gets to long, making it less overwhelming.
The sticky cart function helps users keep track of items they might want to buy.
What we didn’t
Other information about the item pops on the screen when you shop to create an impression of urgency an effect that distracts users from their browsing experience.
Subcategories aren’t displayed from the home page.
C. Analyzing Argos’ product page
Since the original Argos marketing strategy was based around making products look attractive in catalogs Argos creates attractive product pages.
What we liked about
Prices are prominently listed under each item, helping customers find the best deals.
The customer can put items in their shopping carts without having to click on any product.
The key features of the product are easily read and illustrated.
Customers can check estimated delivery times based on their location.
What did we miss?
Every product page has the opportunity to apply for an Argos credit card, which can be distracting.
You have to scroll through a lot of information to gain access to details and reviews.
D. Analysis of Argos the checkout procedure
Checkout is an additional way Argos helps customers shop more conveniently for customers.
The trolley is easily accessible
Stored payment information speeds up the checkout process
It’s simple to manage and track existing orders
What we didn’t
A few of the deals accessible on the website have already expired
The touch screen can’t always work correctly
The checkout page freezes occasionally.
You have to create an account before you can checkout.
Impressive Argos stats you should be aware of
Despite all its problems in the last few times, Argos has maintained some impressive stats:
Argos Market share is a hefty percentage. The store made up 59% of all online sales in the United Kingdom in 2018 (Statista)
More than half of UK furniture buyers go to Argos (Statista)
About 40% of online furniture shoppers use Argos (Statista)
Argos recorded 49.336 million visits during January of 2023 (Sem Rush)
Argos was the top retailer of sporting products and outdoor items in the UK in 2020, beating competitors like Sports Direct and Nike (Computer Weekly)
Argos customers have read 35% of the emails sent by the company in 2016, which is quite high for the retail sector. (Internet Retailing)
Argos The top categories at Argos by 2021 was toys, hobbies, along with DIY (eCommerce DB)
Latest news on the UK retailer
With such a large brand’s awareness that it is evident that the Argos marketing strategy is believed to be effective. Even the brand that has made itself an iconic brand should be dedicated to maintaining its brand. One of the ways to do that is by getting into the news. Here are some of the latest news stories on Argos.
Argos is closing all stores in Ireland
Since its start, Argos has not picked up the same level of momentum in Ireland. One reason is that the company isn’t closed on Sundays, which is common for Irish companies. However, the primary reason for closing businesses in Ireland is the reason that the money necessary to modernize or to expand the stores wouldn’t be viable. Argos keeps its stores open across Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK. Its remaining 34 Irish locations will close in June 2023.
Bestway purchased an 3.45% stake in Sainsbury
The privately held company Bestway acquired the 3.45% stake in Sainsbury which is the owner of Argos. This move allowed the stock price of the company to rise, which put management in a better position to execute the Argos’s marketing strategy.
Argos customers are going crazy over a heater fan
When winter brings cold snaps across Britain. UK, Argos sells multiple small fan heaters. These heaters, which cost PS40 are effective at keeping customers warm and happy. They are able to warm rooms in minutes, making them perfect for UK families that are struggling to make ends meet in the wake of inflation.
The lessons we’ve learnt from Argos’ marketing strategy
Argos has been in operation for more than half a century partially due to recognizing what customers are looking for and adjusting in line with the current trends. Argos’ retail innovation strategy has been to test new ideas and roll them out when they’re successful, like:
The company opened locations to supplement its catalog business.
It was among the first users of technology that was used in store which replaced large catalogs with iPads that gave customers access to an endless catalog of items.
The Argos marketing strategy online involves creating ads that are tailored to the most relevant customers based on their location and preference.
Contrary to some Argos competitors The store has remained afloat in COVID-19 and is poised to bounce back with a greater force. This is no time for idleness and relaxation.