In the News

Argos dips a toe in the water with a voice app

Penny Brooks

7th September 2018

Argos has to find a way to fight back against Amazon, if it is to survive alongside the giant tech business whose record profits were fuelling it to a stock market value of over $1trillion this week. Argos Chief Exec John Rogers still believes in the power of the paper catalogue. "We still distribute millions of catalogues to people's homes,"he told the BBC. "We all know that the catalogue on the coffee table, as a means of browsing, is really good - and it's hard to replicate with today's technology."

Nevertheless, the company has decided that it needs a "voice shopping" service to let people reserve products in a local store, and is the first retailer in the UK to do so using a Google Home smart speaker.

It will also work via Google Assistant on smartphones, so it is not necessary to own the Google Home speaker, making it much more accessible for people who want to check availability of Argos products, but it won't allow them to browse the catalogue.

You can see that Sainsbury's, as the owner of Argos, would be interested to see how successful a voice-operated ordering system might be, as they too struggle against the power of Amazon's grocery delivery business.

Ironically, Argos sells the Amazon Alexa device, but their app won't operate on them. Now they say they are dipping their toe in the water of voice ordering via an app - but it will be interesting to see whether they are correct in believing that their customers still prefer to browse the paper catalogue first.

Penny Brooks

Formerly Head of Business and Economics and now Economics teacher, Business and Economics blogger and presenter for Tutor2u, and private tutor

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