By JONATHAN FINE
The 42-year-old catalogue retailer Argos has continually evolved its customer experience by experimenting with its store format, gradually phasing out its traditional laminated catalogue.
Today a large number of its stores have free WiFi and one-minute collection for online orders. At the same time Argos has opened stores within a store at Homebase and recently demonstrated its pioneering spirit with a unit inside London Underground station Cannon Street.
However, the big news is the deal Argos has just signed with Sainsbury’s to trial 10 stores where customers will be able to purchase almost any grocery and non-grocery items in the same building.
Why does this matter to dentists?
We all know retail is in massive change. Shopping habits have been dramatically impacted by the web. Argos comes from a pedigree of mail order which for those of you that are less than 35 years old is how people bought stuff before the web if they preferred for whatever reason not to visit shops.
All of the valuable heritage of mail order can be applied in most respects to web shopping. In mail order data is king as is an understanding of purchasing patterns, and yet Argos still sees the critical importance of physical representation and the physicality of a shop.
We also know that it is now generally accepted that there are too many giant supermarkets in the UK and that big is not best. Supermarkets are in the process of reinventing and re-engineering themselves to re-engage with customers who have largely become disillusioned.
Dentists should begin planning to take advantage of a new kind of shopping centre, not vast out of town locations, more anchor stores like Sainsbury’s with a number of essential stores; Argos, hairdresser, optician and a range of mini Apple/H&M/ Accessorize etc pods.
It’s a natural place for dental practices with the same kind of service delivery as the retailers, whether they’re private, NHS or mixed. There will of course be many iterations of these neighbourhood super-centres; big, small, posh, low cost etc, but I do believe they will begin to happen quite quickly.
There will be significant first mover advantages for the brave dentists who take advantage of the big shift in retail purchasing formats. Let me know if you would like to take advantage of this change – I have been doing quite a bit of work on it.
Telephone Jonathan on 07860 672727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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