Argos is to extend its Fast Track delivery and collection service to cover the whole UK, offering same-day delivery seven days a week, coming hot on the heels of new delivery service announcements from other major retail names.
Offering four delivery slots in all, and priced at £3.95, the new service will mean orders placed by 6pm can be with the customer later that same evening.
Fast Track started life as a trial in the south of England, allowing customers to order and pay online, then collect in store from a queue-busting till-point, or receive their goods within hours. Argos is now offering four home delivery slots on around 20,000 products across the UK: 7am-10am, 10am-1pm, 2pm-6pm and 7pm-10pm. Customers can order by 6pm to get an item delivered by 10pm the same day.
Orders placed before midnight will be delivered between 7am-10am, or 10am–1pm the following day.
You can read a full interview with Andy Brown, central operations director of Argos Stores in the next print edition of eDelivery Magazine (EDM03) which is being distributed to readers now. He will also be speaking at eDelivery Conference (EDC15) next week.
Orders can also be routed for in-store collection via Fast Track, and Argos claims customers will get their hands on their goods within 60 seconds, although in one ad hoc trial of Fast Track by eDelivery it took considerably longer than that. It is, however, a free option and available in all 800 Argos stores.
According to Argos, Fast Track has led to the creation of nearly 3,300 driver jobs, 1,000 of which are currently being recruited for the peak season. They are employed directly by Argos, based at stores and must have strong customer-facing capabilities, Argos said.
John Walden, chief executive of Home Retail Group, said: “Argos led the way with click & collect 15 years ago – and customers can continue to shop with us in the traditional ways if they choose to. But we believe Fast Track is the next big innovation and brings shopping into the digital age for customers, allowing them to get up to 20,000 products in their hands faster than ever before. No other retailer can offer the breadth of products immediately or at that speed.”
Bryan Roberts, Senior Vice-President & Knowledge Officer for EMEA at Kantar Retail, said: “Delivery has emerged as one of the key battlegrounds for UK retailers, as customers increasingly look for multiple delivery slots that allow them to shop how and when they want on the same day.
“In terms of customers being able to order online as late as 6pm and receive products on their doorstep that evening, Argos is showing its rivals a clean pair of heels with this new speedy nationwide service. While having the right offer at the right price will be crucial as ever this Christmas, there will also be a sprint finish on the nation’s roads to deliver the goods the same or next day.”
Finding alternative ways to get purchased goods into shoppers’ hands remains one of the sector’s chief concerns, and although Fast Track certainly sets the bar high for retail deliveries, it still relies heavily on the existing network complete with all its attendant bottlenecks … there are only so many vans, drivers, and warehouses, and a limited number of roads for them to drive down when making deliveries. Making it easier for people to buy and request same-day delivery is one part of the equation. Whether Fast Track will hold up under fire during the twin peaks of Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Christmas remains to be seen.
Pictured: Olympic sprinter Iwan Thomas, MBE, launches the Argos Fast Track delivery service, at North Weald Airport in Essex. Thomas represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the Olympic Games in the 400 metres, and Wales at the Commonwealth Games. He is a former European and Commonwealth Games champion, and - sadly - is unlikely to be delivering your shopping from Argos. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo: David Parry/PA Wire