Argos launches first self-service digital store

Argos has opened its first self-service digital store, as the retailer reaches over £2 billion sales generated through customers shopping on mobile devices, while across Sainsbury’s Group £4.7 billion sales are now generated online.

Argos’s first self-service store in Sainsbury’s Dulwich sees customers pay at the same tablet they use to browse the catalogue’s 20,000 products - removing the need to visit a separate checkout area to pay - before picking up their order at new collection pods.

The quicker payment process frees up staff to be on hand to help customers at the Pay@Browse areas and bring products to collection pods. The Pay@Browse areas will also include tills to support anyone who wishes to pay with cash or cards.

Customers shopping on smartphones and tablets now account for more than 70 per cent of all Argos online sales, making it the retailer’s fastest growing channel.

Sainsbury’s Argos chief executive John Rogers, said: “Having launched nearly 300 Argos stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets, we’re making it easier and more convenient for customers to do more of their shopping under one roof.

“We’re continuing to test innovative new formats and with the launch of our first self-service digital store we’re offering shoppers a speedier way to pay and giving our colleagues more time to serve and help customers.”

Last month Argos launched a new visual search service in the Argos iOS app, enabling customers to shop for homewares and furniture using images on their smartphones. In September last year, Argos also became the first UK retailer to offer a shopping service via the Google Assistant platform, with the launch of Voice Shop, enabling customers to reserve Argos products using voice technology.

Also announced today, Sainsbury’s full year underlying pre-tax profit increased by 7.8 per cent to £635 million, although pre-tax profits were hit by charges relating to its proposed merger with Asda.

The retailer attributed the uplift to a “solid” food performance, delivery of £160 million Argos synergies nine months ahead of schedule, and reduced interest costs.

However, the year to 9 March saw pre-tax profit decline to £219 million from £309 million in the previous year, as the supermarket was hit by charges relating to legislation on guaranteed minimum pensions, retail restructuring, the integration of Argos and costs relating to the Asda deal – scuppered earlier this week by the Competition and Markets Authority.

Sainsbury’s stated that it experienced growth across all of its channels in the year. Online grocery sales grew by 6.9 per cent, while wider supermarket sales edged up by one per cent.

Group chief executive Mike Coupe promised to increase and accelerate investment in the core business, investing to improve over 400 supermarkets this year.

He added: “£4.7 billion of our revenue now comes from our online businesses and we are increasing investment in technology to make shopping across Sainsbury’s, Argos and Sainsbury’s Bank as quick and convenient as possible.”

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