Argos has decided to launch a standalone site selling just CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs, though confusingly, DVDs can still be purchased through the main website.
WHSmith announced a similar move a few weeks ago, moving its entertainment range to a separate site after already reducing the number of DVDs, CDs etc sold in its stores. Like the new Argos site, it was designed and operated by The Hut, which also took over the Zavvi website recently.
I've been seeing how the new site shapes up...
Though customers are actually transacting with The Hut Group on Argos Entertainment, the look and feel matches the original site as closely as possible, and you will only find out that the site has been outsourced if you look at the terms and conditions.
The only products exclusive to the new site so far are CDs; you can still buy DVDs from Argos.co.uk, while unlike WHSmith, the retailer has kept its stock of games on the main site.
The new site is well laid out with simple navigation and is easy to use, you only really notice the differences when you reach product pages and the checkout process.
Since you can buy DVDs from both sites, I compared the product pages. For this DVD on the main Argos site, the page contains plenty of information, including a product description and user reviews to help shoppers decide. It can also tell you whether the item is in stock and available to collect at your local store:
On the new Argos Entertainment site though, product pages are sparser and contain just the basic product details; user reviews and other potentially helpful information is missing, and the DVD is more expensive:
When looking at the issue of registration on some of the major UK online retailer's sites last week, I praised Argos for being one of the few that didn't make its customers register before entering the checkout process. However, on Argos Entertainment, registration is compulsory:
This places an obstacle before purchase that isn't strictly necessary; users can always register voluntarily later in the checkout process, which Argos does on its main site.
On the whole Argos Entertainment is an easy enough site to use, registration issues aside, the checkout process is smooth enough, and the site is easy to navigate.
Though it does direct customers to Argos Entertainment from the main site, you could easily miss the link (it's below the tent) and it seems a half-hearted effort:
Perhaps, like WHSmith, Argos has found that CDs and entertainment items aren't the most profitable products they offer, and have decided that it's easier to outsource instead. Essentially though, it is a slightly inferior version of Argos.co.uk, and the fact that is is a separate site may be confusing for some customers.