Argos is showing other multichannel retailers how it's done, with its multichannel sales reaching £1.9bn in the last financial year.
According to the company's results (pdf), multichannel accounted for 43% of Argos' sales, and justifies the company's investment in services such as reserve and collect.
What is Argos doing to drive sales across channels?
Reserve and collect
The Check and Reserve feature on the Argos website was responsible for a whopping 22% of the retailer's total sales last year, and this channel grew by 36% for the second year running.
This shows the value of providing this feature for customers, who clearly appreciate the convenience of being able to check stock online before making the journey to the store.
Crucially, Argos executes the service well, providing accurate and up to date information on stock availability and, while some retailers make customers wait for in store collection, items reserved on the Argos website can be collected straight away.
Argos drives sales both online and in-store through catalogues, and according to a recent Royal Mail study, this combination of catalogues and the internet for research and purchase has been a growing trend from 30% of shoppers in the 2005 study to 43% in 2009.
Retailers that use catalogues have an excellent opportunity to get their products in front of customers while they are in the research phase.
Extending range of available products
Multichannel retailers like Argos can extend the available range of products available to shoppers by providing extended ranges on their websites, and Argos plans to add 10,000 online only products.
Kiosks / in store ordering
Allowing customers to place orders in store for items that are out of stock or only available online is another effective method of driving sales, and offers multichannel retailers an opportunity to capture sales there and then which may otherwise be lost.
According to the company's results, more than 40% of home delivery sales came from orders placed in stores. Argos plans to add kiosks to make this offline to online ordering easier.
Argos already has a text and reserve service for mobile users, but hasn't done much else with mobile commerce up to now, though an iPhone app is on the way.