Page 4: Extended marketing mix
As shown earlier, Argos places great emphasis on training staff and ensuring they provide a good customer service. If staff are friendly, know what they are talking about and are eager to serve their customers this can provide an important competitive advantage in retailing.
Process (i.e. the buying process)
In 2002 Argos introduced 'Text and Take Home' which allows potential buyers to text at any time to discover if a product is available in their local store and, if they wish, reserve it to pick up later. The company expects 700,000 users per year for this service. Over 40 million text messages are sent in the UK every day so the potential is huge and Argos is tapping into this growth area. Alongside the Argos website and telephone service, 'Text and Take Home' is designed to make buying from the company more convenient.
Argos has also improved the in-store buying experience by introducing 'Quick Pay'- a system that enables customers in store to check availability, order and pay for goods themselves by credit or debit card, thereby avoiding the tills. This service makes shopping easier for customers and reduces the queues in-store in the busy periods; it currently accounts for 6% of all Argos sales.
Given the growth of Internet shopping, where customers can buy direct at any time of the day or night, Argos has responded by being technologically innovative to ensure the process of buying its products is as easy as possible. The success of these developments has been recognised with many top awards.
In retailing, the look and layout of stores can be an important factor for attracting customers. Argos has invested heavily in store improvements to ensure customers are attracted by their shops and walk in. Between 2002 and 2003 Argos refurbished over 100 of its stores.