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Argos fights e-commerce threat with TV channel

17 June 2011 - 09:52 by Mike Price

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Catalogue retailer Argos is launching its own TV channel in order to overcome a slump in sales which it sees as being caused by consumers migrating to safe shopping online and staying away from its high street outlets.

Although Argos itself has a popular e-commerce site which allows orders for delivery or to collect in store, the 8.1 per cent drop in year on year sales has caused something of a panic and it is hoping to rectify this with the creation of a channel dedicated to promoting its products and services.

Sky customers will be able to tune into Argos TV on channel 642 starting this week and it has a potential reach of up to 10 million. Argos is apparently going to test out the TV market for a year and then decide whether or not the venture is worth continuing in the long term.

While Argos still has a unique place on the high street with its catalogue-based sales, online it is far from the only firm competing in the market. Online-only companies like Amazon are causing many high street chains to try new things in an attempt to keep a grip on consumers who are continuing to turn to safe shopping online rather than the local town centre when they want a bargain.

Argos is taking its existence as a multichannel retailer to its logical conclusion with the launch of the TV station and spokesperson, Sara Well, said that social media tools were also important to the firm. She pointed out that the launch of the January catalogue coincided with simultaneous campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, a first for the retailer.

There is likely to be a significant degree of continuity between the Argos TV channel and both its online and in-store services, which is good news for consumers who want convenience and cohesion.