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Argos will be trialling new delivery options from today, offering same day delivery to customers in the London area, something which could give the retailer a real advantage over its competitors.
The new delivery options will be provided by startup Shutl, which aggregates same day delivery capacity across a range of couriers, and can deliver stock from stores to customers within 90 minutes. Customers will also have the alternative of selecting a one hour delivery slot with a 48 hour reservation window.
Argos has already had plenty of success with its Check and Reserve service. It accounted for 22% of the retailer's total sales last year, and this channel grew by 36% for the second year running.
By adding these extra delivery options, Argos can expand the appeal of its Check and Reserve service, and offer something that most of its competitors cannot. At £4.95, the same day or nominated time delivery is also cheaper than Amazon's equivalent service.
Argos will also be able to reserve items so customers can select a one hour delivery slot within 48 hours, a service which operates seven days a week.
As Shutl's Tom Allason told Econsultancy last year, the delivery options offered by the company represent 'a significant game changer for e-commerce, as it shifts power back to multichannel retailers'.
Since the Shutl service requires that retailers have stores within five to ten miles of customers, this service allows multichannel retailers to offer something that pure plays cannot.
The link up with Argos is also a massive step forward for Shutl. According to Tom Allason:
From every angle, Argos are the ideal partner for us, with the customers, systems and stores required to propel Shutl into the national mainstream. It is, however, still early days and while I can't see why anyone would ever choose to wait for a courier... we know that we have a lot to prove.
The trial will initially last for six months, and if successful, we my see this service extend beyond London, as Shutl plans to cover all major UK cities within the next 12 months.
According to Snow Valley's Delivery Report earlier this year, just 14.4% of etailers offered the choice of a specific delivery date, while only 15% provided customers with the option of a specified time slot, and many of these were grocery retailers.
Offering to deliver items on a particular days can be a compelling prospect for customers, who may be either be impatient to get hold of their purchases, or else have work commitments that mean they cannot wait in all day for delivery.
Providing this kind of flexibility gives Argos the chance to appeal to more potential customers by providing a unique and persuasive selling point. It should also be especially useful at Christmas, making last minute shopping much easier.