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Argos and B&Q shortlisted for IRIS award at the 2014 Internet Retailing Awards

The IRIS Award recognises those retailers who are the forefront in the fast-developing trend to take the range and depth of ecommerce technologies into the store.

This award, in the world of Internet Retailing editor-in-chief Ian Jindal, recognises the “renaissance of the store and in-store experience as a vital component of multichannel retail.”

He added: “IRIS (Internet Retailing In-Store) is a new segment within Internet Retailing to consider the people, process and technology implications of the digitally-enabled store fully of digitally savvy and connected customers engaging with digitally-empowered staff selling digitally-enhanced products and services.

“This award will recognise retailers who have moved beyond digital displays and point digital offerings to create an immersive, connected and compelling realisation of this next iteration of retail.”

The distinguished panel of judges has narrowed down a field of seven nominated retailers to reach a final shortlist of five: Argos, B&Q, Burberry, House of Fraser and Thomson (TUI).

Argos was shortlisted for the awards in recognition of its new digital store concept, which reimagined the high street shop in the light of ecommerce. The company’s first London-based digital stores experiment with a reality in 90% of its shoppers come into the store at some point during a transaction, whether or not they bought online. The new store gives it the ability to showcase digital to its not-yet-digital customers while also showing those who buy from eBay, which is using Argos stores for Click and Collect services, how stores can be a modern hub for the multichannel way we shop today.

B&Q wins through to the shortlist after a year in which it has successfully leveraged digital assets to offer in-store service. Customers are brought into B&Q’s pilot Manifesto stores when they order online for in-store pickup. Once there, shop assistants can use iPads to show and sell the online range of products, with recommendations based on a customer’s past purchase history, linked through the B&Q loyalty card. Shoppers can also use in-store kiosks to access and email themselves how-to guides for DIY projects, or to order goods to be brought from the store room.

House of Fraser took the notion of internet retailing in-store to its furthest extreme when it launched were effectively internet retailing only shops. Those shops have proved a success and the department store has gone on to take its learnings into its other branches. In its Edinburgh store, for example, one of the five floors has been given over to online, as a hybrid online and personal shopping model extends the range offered elsewhere in the shop. Elsewhere, Order In Store terminals increase the yield of underperforming floor space by increasing the range. The model is working: buy and collect sales are up by 80% while sales density is up by 115%, and multichannel customers have also risen by 18%.

The eventual winner of the award will be named at the Internet Retailing Awards 2014, to be held at One Mayfair on June 26. The winner will be the retailer that seamlessly incorporates digital technology into the store, linking the customer’s online and offline experiences. But they’ll also be the retailer that most successfully empowers their staff to use technology in-store to its best effect, creating a service that is both usable and elegant.

Source : Chloe Rigby

28 May 2014
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