New service enables eBay merchants to offer collection at Argos stores through trial national service offering click & collect opportunity
UK general merchandise retailer Argos
and global online marketplace eBay
today announced a tie-up to offer a new joint click & collect
In a first for the UK, at least 50 eBay merchants will participate in this trial, which will enable shoppers to purchase products from these merchants on eBay and pick them up at Argos stores throughout the country.
The two companies said the offer would enable a wide range of merchandise to be readily available for collection by customers at a time and location convenient to them from around 150 Argos stores in primary locations nationally.
Embracing omnichannel model
Devin Wenig, eBay Marketplaces president, stated that the move reacted to how the distinction between offline and online shopping continues to blur. “At eBay we continue to find new ways to connect buyers and sellers,” he said. “Our mission is connecting people with the things they need and love.”
Moreover, he asserted that “traditional retail isn’t going away; it is transforming”. “Smart retailers are innovating, reimagining the store and what it means to shop. We’re proud to join Argos on this journey. Their unique store network and operating model is fit for serving customers in a digital future. This exciting pilot takes us one step nearer to our goal of offering customers an inspired and seamless shopping experience,” he added.
John Walden, Argos managing director, picked up on Wenig’s laser-focused customer strategy. “With the continuing growth of online shopping, customers increasingly expect faster, cheaper and more convenient fulfilment of their orders,” he stated.
Proven retail distribution capabilities
Walden pointed to the volume of products Argos moves through its national network of local stores, served by “friendly and well-trained” colleagues and the fact that Argos operates an online outlet channel through eBay
. “Having pioneered click & collect in the year 2000, it now accounts for around a third of our business and continues to grow,” he added.
“EBay, an innovator in digital and leading online marketplace connecting sellers and consumers, is already a strong partner with Argos and a logical partner for the trial. We look forward to assessing the opportunity for Argos to provide fulfilment for eBay’s merchants, including the operational requirements, attractiveness to sellers and consumers, and opportunity for increased customer footfall.”
The online marketplace also today announced all of its retail partners who have an existing click & collect capability will be able to offer this service to their eBay customers from some time during the fourth quarter of this year. But it did not reveal if it is paying Argos for the use of its shops in the trial.
New venture will lead the way
One retail industry research expert, Dr Scott Dacko, said the Argos-eBay deal highlights the importance of pursuing omnichannel retail strategies. Dr Dacko, who is associate professor of marketing and strategic management at Warwick Business School
, said: "Whether this exact set-up is going to be the model or not, the integration in online and off-line sales is the future for retail.”
He said the deal was likely to be a “win-win-win arrangement,” with both partners and UK consumers benefiting all round. And he added: “I am sure the arrangement will prompt a host of competitors to move more quickly into not only seamlessly integrating their online and brick-and-mortar operations, but also looking into similar partnerships as well.”
Explaining the opportunity, Dr Sacko concluded: "Argos could well get more people in their stores. Any concerns about cannibalisation in sales would depend on the uniqueness of the offerings and as we don’t know which eBay merchants will be involved, it could be ones who are not in direct competition with Argos. A partnership like this can be a low cost way of attracting more consumers.”