Argos Ideas Could Shake Up The UK Omnichannel

This blog is by Liz Parry, Strategic Account Director at Teleperformance UK.

The UK Takeover Panel has recently given Sainsbury’s more time to consider their offer for Home Retail – owner of the Argos chain. This is because a South African retail group, Steinhoff International, has tabled an alternative offer that is slightly higher than the deal offered by Sainsbury’s.

The various actors in this drama now have until March 18th to decide what they will do. On this day both Sainsbury’s and Steinhoff need to decide what their final offers will be, allowing Home Retail to make a final decision.

Steinhoff has some UK presence already with brands such as Harvey’s Furniture and Bensons Beds, but they are not as widely visible on the High Street as the Sainsbury’s brand so there will be some tough conversations going on in all these various boardrooms. 

Whoever gets to own Home Retail is going to find that they can do a lot with the organization – which is clearly why major brands like Sainsbury’s have been pursuing the company. Argos has been a UK leader in exploring omnichannel retail. Their warehouse format for the in-store experience has made it easier for them to introduce concepts such as online stock checking and click-and-collect compared to other retailers with a more sophisticated in-store environment.

This is where I see the real value of this deal. I imagine that if a company like Sainsbury’s can integrate the experience and ideas that Argos has then they could overhaul the entire supermarket sector in the UK. Perhaps Steinhoff could do something similar, but their existing range of stores in the UK is mainly focused on furniture and is therefore far more niche than grocery retail.

Whoever wins in March is going to have a very interesting opportunity to take the way that Argos works and to apply this experience to other brands. I think we will see some really big omnichannel experiments in retail in the UK in 2016 and this deal is just the start.

What do you think of some of the recent UK omnichannel developments? Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn. 

Argos,EC1

Photo by Sludge G licensed under Creative Commons.

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