Argos has just launched its first iPhone app, in response to 600% increased in traffic to Argos.co.uk from mobile devices. In December, Argos had 750,000 visits from iPhones and iPods, so the demand is clearly there.
The app, developed in-house, isn't a full mobile commerce offering, though that is something which may follow later. Instead, the app allows customers to browse and check stock levels at their local stores, before making a reservation for in-store collection.
The app initially asks you to set your home store to make subsequent reservations smoother. The app can also find the local store via GPS, or by entering the town name or postcode.
Results are shown via Google Maps, and details are provided on opening hours, as well as driving directions, and the option to set this as your store. You can then use the search icon to search for stock held at that store.
The stock checker works just like the machines in the Argos stores - simply enter the catalogue number for the product you want and the app provides information on current stock levels. If you don't have the catalogue number to hand, you can search by keyword instead.
Browsing and reserving
A few more options to filter and sort search results would have been useful on the app, since Argos has a large range of products (25,000) to view on the app.
For example, a search for 'iPod case' returns 155 items, with no adequate method of narrowing the selection:
Each product page comes with some detailed review information, which makes the app very useful for people to do some extra product research while in store:
Once you've selected a product, the reservation process is nice and easy, simply a case of entering an email address and mobile number:
The reservation is confirmed in the next step, along with the number you need to quote when you go into the store.
This will be emailed to customers, but the option of storing the reservation number within the app may be useful, just in case customers cannot get a mobile or 3G connection.
The Argos iPhone app is well designed and works well. Though, given the traffic numbers from mobile devices, it is likely that many customers would purchase items direct from the app for home delivery, it makes sense to develop a Check and Reserve app as a first step.
For a retailer that has been so successful in terms of driving its multichannel sales, this app is the next logical step in that strategy, and has the added benefit of being a useful product and price research tool for offline shopping.