Argos pushes for same-day-delivery

<p>The company’s Fast Track scheme will be the first available across the UK, seven days a week.</p>

Online retailers are looking for new ways to attract customers and Argos has stepped up to the challenge of how to deal with home deliveries by becoming the first British retailer to offer a same-day service across the UK up to 22:00, seven days a week, 364 days a year.

Called Fast Track, the service will cover the company's 20,000 most popular products. Customers will have the choice of four time slots throughout the day and there will be a flat delivery rate of £3.95.

The firm believes this "ultra-fast" service will be particularly popular in the run-up to Christmas.

John Walden, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, which owns Argos, said the company has been an industry leader for years. 

"Argos led the way with Click & Collect 15 years ago," he explained.

He said that customers can continue to shop in the traditional ways if they choose to, but that Fast Track is the "next big innovation" and brings the firm's offering into the digital age. "No other retailer can offer the breadth of products immediately or at that speed," he added.

Delivery costs

Critics question whether the Fast Track service from Argos will be successful – and if the company can afford it.

In July, Tesco became the second big retailer to start charging customers for in-store collection. John Lewis switched to charging for the service on orders worth less than £30, saying it could no longer absorb the cost of free deliveries.

However, Argos says it has the necessary infrastructure to keep costs low.

The firm rolled out a new UK-wide delivery system last year. It has big warehouses and around 150 larger hub stores, which can quickly replenish smaller stores with the most popular stock.

Argos is also in the process of hiring nearly 2,300 permanent drivers to make home deliveries from the hub stores. The company is also recruiting 1,000 temporary drivers for the peak Christmas period.

While the Argos scheme may be the biggest – it's not the fastest. Earlier this year, Amazon launched Prime Now, which offers shoppers in parts of London and Birmingham to order via a mobile app and get products within an hour. However, the service is only available to Amazon Prime members.

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