The company has been using geographic information system (GIS) analytics software from Esri to gain an insight into customers and competitors alongside a review of its property portfolio strategy.
Argos is to cut up to 10% of its 750 stores in a move to reposition itself from a catalogue-led business to a digital retailer.
The software analyses any type of location-based data, such as where shoppers live, competitor sites, demographics, loyalty card data and transport links. It works on desktops, tablets and smartphones.
Patterns and anomalies are then displayed on maps, which would previously have remained hidden in databases, business intelligence (BI) software or spreadsheets, providing business insights.
Andy Stringer, location planning manager at Argos, said the software has enabled the company to segment its customer base and appraise its stores and the catchments they serve when leases are due for review.
Argos’s digital operation works alongside its store network by offering click and collect, with the GIS tool helping it to focus on ways to strategically support best supports online offers, he said.
“More bespoke projects have seen the business able to prioritise store investments based upon demographics and sales benefits at a local level.”
He said: “With the geographic insight offered through the software, we have been able to open stores in convenient and profitable locations. As a result, the Location Planning team who offer the geographic insights are seen as vital to both BAU and strategic aspects of the business.”
The firm had previously been using the GIS tool as part of its historic strategy of opening new stores.
“Over the past decade, location analytics have helped us to identify new store locations, which increase customer convenience. The technology has also helped with prioritising store refits, using detailed drive time and postcode analysis.
“We have also used the technology to help with operational efficiencies and to inform other divisions in our business, such as helping our distribution team to pinpoint key locations from which to grow the delivery operation,” he said.
Once the latest phase of the 2011 census is released, the store will use the information to refine its models and ways to serve customers in the future.
“Going forward, the data will be used to drive bespoke promotional and advertising projects," said Stringer. "Alongside this, the software has helped us to focus our store strategy in what is a rapidly changing property market."