Innovation Report

Brought to you by Retail Insider and Webloyalty

In a new regular series we ask members of the Advisory Panel of the ‘Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations 2014’ report (sponsored by Webloyalty) to take a look at some specific innovations within the report.

Craig-SmithFirst up is Craig Smith, e-commerce programme manager, Marks & Spencer, who casts his eye over Argos’ digital stores:

1. How innovative do you find the Argos digital stores?

The stores aren’t doing anything that hasn’t been previously done, however they are bringing the stores up-to-date with a digital lick of paint in a way to genuinely improve the customer experience, improve efficiencies and reduce cost.

2. What is most interesting about them to you?

The look of the store now looks fresh and modern. The use of video walls will help keep the stores bright and lively.

3. How strong commercially could it be – roll-out potential to other Argos stores?

Very strong. It will reduce print costs and staff costs as well as providing the customer with a slicker purchase process. Argos claims that the collection process for customers who have pre-purchased online will be reduced to under 60 seconds.

4. What could other retailers learn from them – what impressed you most?

Just as Argos has done in this case, retailers should look for a genuine business challenge before implementing digital experiences in-store.

5. What do you think could be improved with the next iteration?

Allow the customer to tap their phones in order to pay, which would make the payment process even faster. The Argos mobile shopping app could be recognised by the in-store tablets through either iBeacon, NFC or the scanning of a QR code on the screen.

Customers should also be able to order and pay from one place using Chip & PIN, making the stores compliant with payment regulations.

6. What are the key benefits to customers – what is the customer experience you like?

The customer will ultimately have a faster purchase process. Because the catalogue is digital, it will mean it is up-to-date and won’t disappoint the customer when they browse it and realise the item they want is not in stock.

7. How cutting edge are the ideas/innovations in them?

The ideas aren’t cutting edge but the embracing of digital into its stores is a bold move .

Click here to view the full Digital Retail Innovations 2014 report.