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Argos, Colchester 

Who’d have thought that a store that stocked virtually no product, had limited instore display units and relied wholeheartedly on a printed catalogue, would appear in this collection? Yet Argos is a very successful retail format that has recently developed a fabulous new ‘high tech’ store interior.

With both an online shop and bricks and mortar stores, Argos offers consumers the best of everything; peace of mind, convenience and keen pricing. I have to admit that, since moving to a rural area where an historic market town is full of independent gift retailers, Argos has become a very useful alternative and clearly I am not alone. There is an Argos store on almost every high street up and down our country and you can always rely on it to stock whatever it is that you can’t find elsewhere in town.

The retail giant has now upped its game incorporating a modern and sleek, digitalised instore experience. The new store design, currently launching throughout the UK, uses bold colours to direct the customer to the correct service and digital media, in all shapes and sizes, to convey its many messages and products. It even includes some whizzy new inspirational shop floor displays and shop-within-a-shop displays that will change regularly.

Immediately you enter the store you come face to face with the digital ‘welcome wall’ where the staff are introduced to you in an attempt to personalise your experience and initiate a connection between you. Banks of sleek iPads, mounted on white display stands, replace the old bulky catalogues, pencils and slips of paper. Large, round pendant lights are hung above for added impact. Free instore WIFI gives access to online shopping and expanded shopping applications. Further large digital screens are mounted on the perimeter walls on raised panels to deliver ‘to the minute’ price promotions, brand messages and customer information. These use eye catching moving imagery in place of old fashioned advertising banners.

There are two more new functions within the new look store; Fast Track with bright red signage for the collection of pre-orders, whether online, at home, or on the move and Pay and Collect podiums in vivid blue for the completion of the transaction in one stop. Not previously known for its customer service, Argos is now focusing on this element and staff will be armed with iPads for assisting customers throughout the store. A designated customer service desk, fashioned in bright yellow will be manned to educate the less digital savvy customers in online shopping (catalogues will also be available).

Dalziel and Pow has created an excellent digital concept for this popular household brand and one that should prove to be very popular with our increasingly digitally savvy public. So far, stores in London’s Old Street, Marble Arch and Old Kent Road have received this new concept. Colchester and Dunfermline are new store locations.

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