British general merchandise retailer Argos has announced plans to create digital stores inside existing branches of UK-based supermarket Sainsbury’s in a drive to reach more customers. The new stores will be open by summer, although locations have not been revealed yet.
Argos has decided to trial 10 stores, ranging from 1,000-to-5,000 sqft, where customers will be able to purchase non-grocery items from a selection of 20,000 products that can be bought instantly or reserved, while an additional 40,000 products can also be ordered in-store for home delivery. “Our new distribution model allows us to provide customers in any Argos location with a choice of around 20,000 lines within hours, regardless of the size or stocking capacity of the store,” says John Walden, chief executive of Home Retail Group, which owns Argos.
Argos has been on a drive to revolutionise its customer experience and experiment with its store format, gradually phasing out its traditional laminated catalogue. Over 40 of its stores now offer free Wi-Fi and 60 second collection for online orders. It has already opened up concessions stores inside branches of Homebase and launched its smallest shop in its 42-year history at London Underground station Cannon Street last year.
The tie-up with Sainsbury’s will offer the supermarket’s customers greater convenience, believes Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s. “They will bring something new and different to our customers, and fit well with our strategy of making our supermarkets more convenient. As well as looking at carefully selected partners, we continue to roll out our ranges of own brand clothing and general merchandise in our supermarkets to give customers even more choice and value.”