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London, UK – Oct. 31, 2012 – Argos, the leading multi-channel retailer, has seen a record 79 million of its online visitors engage in conversations about the brand since implementing Bazaarvoice’s Conversations, a social platform for consumer-generated content; introduced to develop a genuinely customer-centric multi-channel strategy and create a human touch throughout the brand experience.

On average these visitors converted into buyers 51 per cent more often than customers not using these services. The question and answer and social alerts features of the Conversations solution enable Argos’s online customers to ask questions about products and receive answers via an email, helping Argos to acquire 300,000 weekly visitors back to its site.

Since implementing Bazaarvoice solutions in 2010, Argos has seen value in having consumer-generated content such as customer feedback and product reviews. The company’s multi-channel sales now represents 51 per cent of total sales.

A long-standing part of Argos’ multi-channel strategy is the “Check & Reserve” service that allows customers to view real-time stock levels in local stores, and reserve their order for in-store pickup as soon as they need it. The service represents 85 per cent of online transactions, and 100 per cent of mobile transactions. An SMS service reminds customers who don’t collect their reservations, bringing them back into the purchase process.

Jim Bassett, Multi-channel Operations Manager at Argos, commented: “There is tremendous interest in customer-generated content, and based on our analysis it is now critical for Argos to make this information available to customers in every channel. Our “Check & Reserve” service incorporates all of this valuable feedback, and we’ve seen mobile sales increase by a staggering 215 per cent as a result of this integrated multi-channel approach to customer engagement and sales.”

Buying teams at Argos use customer feedback to determine which items to restock, using real-time analysis of the online channel to improve their offline channels. Teams also analyse customer feedback by segments in order to better understand the different personas of their shopper population, and define the multi-channel strategy accordingly.

Jim Bassett added: “We have collected over 1.6 million pieces of customer content in just over three years and have seen those customers who interact with Q&A show a 31 per cent higher conversion rate to sales; and those who read reviews showing a 50 per cent higher conversion rate. With intelligence to support our multi-channel efforts, we are determined to ensure that customer content is made available to all customers in every channel whether it’s online or offline.”

To help familiarise in-store shoppers with its online functionalities, Argos launched a pilot campaign placing iPads in selected stores. Following the success of the campaign, Argos plans to offer iPads in many more stores soon to offer a more dynamic in-store experience and to help boost online sales.

“Customer-generated content is transforming the way people make purchasing decisions, and we’re increasingly seeing retailers such as Argos embrace a multi-channel strategy. Shopping conversations take place daily whether it’s online, in store or face-to-face; and for retailers like Argos the sooner that you can help instigate conversations between like-minded customers about your brand and products, the sooner you can create a customer-centric multi-channel strategy that drives real business insights,” concluded Richard Anderson, VP of Client Services, EMEA, at Bazaarvoice.

-ENDs-

About Bazaarvoice
Bazaarvoice brings the voice of customers to the centre of business strategy, transforming business performance for nearly 2,000 clients globally, including over half of the Internet Retailer 500 list of the world’s largest retailers, over 20 per cent of the Fortune 500, and over one-third of the Fortune 100 brands. Bazaarvoice social software helps clients like John Lewis, Costco, Dell, Macy’s, Argos, P&G, Panasonic, QVC, Travelocity and USAA create social communities on their brand websites and Facebook pages where customers can engage in conversations. These conversations can be syndicated across Bazaarvoice’s global network of client websites and mobile devices, making the user-generated content that digital consumers trust accessible at multiple points of purchase. Through Bazaarvoice, manufacturers can also connect directly with consumers on retail sites to answer questions and respond to reviews about their products. The social data derived from online word of mouth translates into actionable insights that improve marketing, sales, customer service, and product development. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Bazaarvoice has offices in Amsterdam, London, Munich, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Stockholm, and Sydney. For more information, visit www.bazaarvoice.co.uk, read the blog at www.bazaarvoice.com/blog, and follow on Twitter at @BV_Intl.

About Argos
Argos is the UK’s leading multi-channel retailer, offering more than 33,000 products from around 740 stores throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland, online at www.argos.co.uk, over the telephone and uniquely, through Argos TV. Argos continues to be the UK’s largest high street retailer online with over 430 million website visits annually. Argos serves around 130 million customers a year through its store network. In the financial year to February 2012, Argos sales were £3.9 billion and it employed some 31,000 people across the business. Argos is part of Home Retail Group, the UK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer.

Published on: 8:42AM on 31st October 2012