Home Retail Group is going head-to-head with Amazon and other retail rivals after announcing that Argos will offer same day delivery and collection from all of its UK stores.
From today, customers will be able to order online by 6pm and get an item delivered by 10pm the same day, including Sundays, Argos said. The retailer will charge £3.95 for the service, which is available on around 20,000 products, and offer four different time slots starting at 7am.
Customers can also pick up their orders from any of its 840 stores the same day free of charge, it said.
Argos’ move comes hot on the heels of Amazon announcing yesterday that it is extending its Prime one-hour delivery service to further postcodes across the south east after launching the service for the first time in June.
Home Retail’s chief executive John Walden denied its move into same-day delivery was an assault on Amazon. But in a dig at the cost of its Prime service, he said: “You don’t have join a £100 membership service to get it.”
The company has hired around 3,300 drivers to cope with the extra demand, of which up to 1,000 are currently being recruited ahead of Christmas and Black Friday, its busiest time.
Walden said he was confident it could cope with the huge surge in demand for goods over Black Friday, despite the promotional day sending many retailers into meltdown last year.
He declined to say how much the new service and the hiring of extra staff will cost: “We are certainly investing in launching the service but it is not a big percentage.”
“We believe we have got the lowest cost in the market to get customers their products. That allows us to charge a compelling rate and still make money on our orders”.
Argos is halfway through a five-year plan to transform itself from a tired high street chain into a digital-led retailer. It has ditched its laminated catalogues in favour of tablets. Meanwhile while its stores have taken on a new guise as collection hubs as more customer shop online.
Walden said fulfilment has become “the new battleground” in the race to get products to customers faster, at a lower cost and with the best service.
The retailer stands out among its peers in offering free click-and-collect, with many companies including John Lewis now starting to charge for the service.