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Argos launches voice shopping capability on Google Home Assistant

Retailer Argos has developed a voice shopping service so customers can reserve items for pickup using the Google Home Assistant app

Argos has launched a voice shopping capability on the Google Home Assistant app so customers can use voice to reserve items to pick up in store.

The service lets customers use voice and a quick confirmation to make a reservation to collect products from their chosen store the same day through their phone or Google Home device.

John Rogers, CEO at Argos, said that with the growing popularity of digital assistants in the home, voice technology “has the potential to revolutionise how we shop in the future”.

“Argos is a digitally-led business at the forefront of technology and it’s really exciting that we are harnessing the simplicity of voice ordering with the convenience and popularity of click and collect to make our customers’ lives easier,” he said.

“We predict that the Voice Shop service will be a big hit and we will develop and refine the offer further as we get feedback from our customers.”

Customers will be able to use voice to shop for 20,000 items, which can be collected from more than 850 stores nationally using the command, “Hey Google, ask Argos”, as well as use voice to ask questions about products and stores.

The launch comes after research from Kantar found 2.7 million households in the UK are using voice-enabled devices, and Argos has found its sales of smart speakers have grown by 151% year on year.

Dubbed Voice Shop, Argos is looking for customers to provide feedback on the technology during its initial roll-out to ensure the retailer can continually improve the customer experience.

Many retailers are now going out of their way to provide a good customer experience in an attempt to encourage brand loyalty, with some increasingly offering the opportunity to order products through voice-enabled mediums such as Siri or the Amazon Alexa.

A heavy focus on technology is becoming a huge part of retail as a result, as customers are using digital technologies and omni-channel behaviour to shop when and where they want to.

For Argos, 60% of sales start online, but 80% of orders are fulfilled in store through services such as click and collect and the Argos Fast Track service.

Naji El-Arifi, global head of innovation at commerce firm Salmon, said Argos’ adoption of voice shopping shows a growing trend in retailers trying to cater to consumers who want to expand their shopping into more channels.

“For Argos, this represents another channel through which they hope to stave off strong competition from Amazon as its Amazon Echo device moves into more homes,” he said.

Argos has been increasingly focused on providing a more convenient experience over the past few years, especially since it was bought by Sainsbury’s in 2016.

As well as the introduction of digital kiosks inside Homebase and Sainsbury’s stores, which allow people to order products for instant pick up, the firm recently announced it would be recruiting an extra 150 technology roles in the UK to focus on digital customer experience.

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