Ar­gos

Ar­gos , the Bri­tish cat­a­logue gi­ant mer­chant ‘s am­bi­tious plan to trans­form into a dig­i­tal re­tail leader is ar­tic­u­lated in its new dig­i­tal con­cept store at Colch­ester in UK . The new re­tail de­sign con­cept en­ables in­ter­ac­tive trial with cus­tomers on many p

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" We de­vel­oped a dig­i­tally in­te­grated space, from the shopfront, through to brows­ing, pur­chase and sup­port­ing tar­geted pro­mo­tions. We have de­signed a pared-back en­vi­ron­ment; the clar­ity of the space com­plete with raw and clean ma­te­ri­als pro­vides the per­fect foil for the rich and dy­namic dig­i­tal con­tent,” in­puts David Wright, Group Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor at Dalziel and Pow, the brain be­hind the store de­sign. The same con­cept is fol­lowed through six stores with four of them spread over Lon­don and two of them out of the city. This new con­cept re­volves around the no­tion of let­ting the cus­tomer de­sign his own ex­pe­ri­ence and moves away from the quite com­mon ap­proach of a 'pre-de­cided' re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence. It of­fers a new mean­ing to the idea of store de­sign through sev­eral fea­tures which serve as tools of shop­ping and the store is zoned ac­cord­ingly. On­line shop­ping is the pre­ferred ap­proach for cus­tomers of this brand. Ar­gos gen­er­ates 40% of its sales through dig­i­tal chan­nels. This store brings all cus­tomers; the on­line shop­pers and the in-store buy­ers to a com­mon podium. Also, with a new mask on, there is a third cat­e­gory of cus­tomers that the store in­vites: the in­quis­i­tive. The mul­ti­ple re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence op­tions that this store of­fers make for its USP which goes be­yond stir­ring the emo­tional chords by a phys­i­cal space walk-through. A 'Fast Track' collection sta­tion ren­ders speed collection ser­vice to cus­tomers pay­ing on­line. 60 sec­onds and you're on the go! This proves to be a con­ve­nient ser­vice con­sid­er­ing that

one third of Ar­gos cus­tomers pay on­line and col­lect in-store. Cater­ing to all needs, the in­store shop­pers also have en­hanced op­tions for their re­tail ac­tiv­ity. Ipads, put to commercial use, are sta­tioned in plenty for cus­tomers to dip into prod­uct re­views and videos to make an in­formed choice for their pur­chases. Free in-store Wi-Fi sup­ports the same through per­sonal mo­bile de­vices. Cat­a­logues, a vet­eran con­cept of the brand, still hang around for old school cus­tomers but are kept right next to an Ipad in the cus­tomer ser­vice zone to as­sist them to a newer and bet­ter dig­i­tal ter­rain. In­store dig­i­tal dis­play screens in­duce sales at the Ar­gos store which up­date the lat­est price pro­mo­tions, brand mes­sages and cus­tomer in­for­ma­tion via eye-catch­ing mov­ing im­ages. New in­spi­ra­tional shop floor dis­plays, and shop-within-a-shop dis­plays, will show­case spe­cific ranges such as toys, con­sumer elec­tron­ics and jew­ellery, or sup­port events with sup­pli­ers. This new fu­tur­is­tic arena is a whole­some ball of dig­i­tized op­er­a­tions. The store front as well greets you with dig­i­tal win­dow dis­plays man­aged cen­trally and splurge sea­sonal and cat­e­gory pro­mo­tions. The static paper posters are now his­tory. The repo­si­tion­ing at the re­tail store level comes with red Ar­gos brand­ing which takes over the blue brand­ing to cre­ate

a high street pres­ence like never be­fore. An in­te­rior en­vi­ron­ment is cre­ated with brick-ef­fect walls and light toned vinyl floor­ing to give sub­tle shades to bal­ance a heavy duty tech-savvy at­mos­phere. En­ergy ef­fi­cient LED lights re­place the func­tional strip light­ing to add an el­e­ment of taste. The aim is to court a larger cus­tomer base and lead them into the store. The ad­vanced con­cepts and an en­sem­ble of vir­tual and ma­te­rial in­gre­di­ents back the ob­jec­tive. An added dash of com­fort is the el­e­ment of hos­pi­tal­ity. With so many self-as­sist­ing dig­i­tal chan­nels op­er­at­ing, the store staff is rel­a­tively free to help cus­tomers. Their pres­ence in the store gives a sense of se­cu­rity for pur­chase sup­port to the cus­tomers. The store col­leagues have Ipads thor­ough with apps to ser­vice the cus­tomer in ev­ery pos­si­ble way in­clud­ing guid­ing them through prod­uct op­tions and in­for­ma­tion. This el­e­ment of hos­pi­tal­ity makes a huge dif­fer­ence to the ex­pe­ri­en­tial level in an other­wise im­per­sonal dig­i­tal trans­ac­tion. This idea of warmth is also con­veyed dig­i­tally through the 'Wel­come Wall'. On en­try, cus­tomers are fa­mil­iar­ized with the store staff via videos taken of all store col­leagues. One may say, this is an avant-garde idea es­tab­lish­ing a rap­port be­tween the brand and its re­ceivers.

John Walden, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Ar­gos,

said, “We are early in our am­bi­tious plan to trans­form Ar­gos into a dig­i­tal re­tail leader. We are seek­ing to re­po­si­tion our stores to sup­port a dig­i­tal fu­ture - in which dig­i­tal chan­nels are the pri­mary in­ter­face for cus­tomers, but stores con­tinue to be crit­i­cally im­por­tant as a na­tional net­work for prod­uct collection, and a lo­cal pres­ence for lo­cal col­leagues to pro­vide cus­tomer ser­vice. The new dig­i­tal con­cept stores en­able us to trial with cus­tomers sev­eral im­por­tant fea­tures of what we be­lieve a store should of­fer in a dig­i­tal fu­ture.” To sum up, this is an ex­am­ple of a fu­tur­is­tic out­look to ex­plor­ing re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence in a dig­i­tized form and yet in sync with spa­tial de­sign in­stincts. In­tri­cate at­ten­tion to the ty­pol­ogy of its tar­get base helps the brand de­sign ex­pe­ri­ences which deliver cus­tomers a re­tail en­counter that com­bines ease and speed of pur­chase with plea­sure and warmth!

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