Shoppers could soon collect eBay buys at Argos
IRISH shoppers could soon be able to pick up their eBay purchases at their local Argos store.
At least 50 eBay merchants and around 150 Argos stores in Britain and Northern Ireland will take part in the six-month pilot. Consumers who buy from this select group of eBay merchants will be able to pick up their order straight away at one of the participating Argos stores.
The scheme is based on Argos' successful Click and Collect service, which allows users to buy through its website and collect in-store.
Rolled out in 2000, Click and Collect accounts for a third of Argos sales.
This shopping model is seen by many retailers as the saviour of the high street, bringing customers into stores to pick up internet purchases.
One study found that two-fifths of all British consumers used some form of the service over Christmas 2012.
"Whether this exact set-up is going to be the model or not, the integration in online and off-line sales is the future for retail," said analyst Scott Dacko yesterday.
This move brings together two substantial customer bases. In the UK alone eBay has 18 million active users, while Argos has 124 million customers a year and a network of around 735 stores.
It represents a serious challenge to Amazon, one of Argos and eBay's main competitors. In several markets Amazon operates a locker delivery service, which allows shoppers to order online and collect their package on the same day from a secure locker in a convenient location like a railway station.
"With the continuing growth of online shopping, customers increasingly expect faster, cheaper and more convenient fulfilment of their orders," said Argos managing partner John Walden.
Argos parent Home Retail has posted five straight years of profit decline and is currently reinventing Argos from a catalogue-led business to a digitally-led operation, targeting a 15pc rise in sales to £4.5bn (€5.3bn) by 2018.