Argos Case Study: Mapping The Consumer Journey To Purchase

This case study exam­ines how Argos reach­es, influ­ences, and engages con­sumers via dig­i­tal chan­nels through­out the online pur­chase jour­ney.

Pat Hong By Pat Hong from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 2 comments

Con­sumers today con­duct a great deal of research about the prod­ucts they are buy­ing and brands are being asked to ful­fill a mul­ti­tude of infor­ma­tion­al needs. Argos, a UK-based con­sumer goods and ecom­merce retail­er, is excep­tion­al in that they main­tain an active pres­ence oper­at­ing across a large range of touch­points, both dig­i­tal­ly and via tra­di­tion­al media. This case study takes a close look at how Argos reach­es, influ­ences, and engages con­sumers as they go through their pur­chase jour­neys.

Introduction: How brands are making the most of every moment

At times, momen­tol­ogy – the study of con­sumers and the dig­i­tal media they use and engage with through­out the pur­chase fun­nel – can be beau­ti­ful­ly sim­ple. Momen­tol­ogy, at its essence, means embrac­ing change, striv­ing to become more con­sumer-cen­tric, and deliv­er­ing bet­ter, eas­i­er expe­ri­ences for con­sumers through­out the entire online pur­chase jour­ney.

Momen­tol­ogy can also be quite com­plex. To real­ly per­form as a brand, there needs to be an under­stand­ing that no one cam­paign can tru­ly impact results, or covert con­sumers in indi­vid­ual light­bulb moments (at least at scale).

Instead, cam­paigns help to influ­ence con­sumers, nudg­ing them along the pur­chase fun­nel in a series of coor­di­nat­ed moments that even­tu­al­ly con­verge to form a com­plete cus­tomer jour­ney.

Suc­cess requires brands to come across per­sua­sive and vis­i­ble at touch­points that span the entire user jour­ney, guid­ing con­sumers through chan­nels and mul­ti­ple inter­ac­tions to form a sin­gle inter­con­nect­ed expe­ri­ence. Fail­ing to ful­fill an impor­tant touch­point or to ser­vice a par­tic­u­lar need, can result in a dis­con­nect, and poten­tial­ly a lost cus­tomer.

So to real­ly excel, brands need to prac­tice inte­grat­ed mar­ket­ing, and have cross-chan­nel col­lab­o­ra­tion between teams in place in order to pro­vide the lev­el of con­sis­ten­cy that con­sumers have come to expect. Ulti­mate­ly, rev­enues gained will be a con­se­quence of the sum of a brand’s equi­ty across a range of the touch­points they are able to ful­fill.

Argos is a great exam­ple of a brand that deliv­ers cus­tomer-cen­tric moments through­out the pur­chase jour­ney. This Argos case study will exam­ine what a typ­i­cal jour­ney might look like, from the moment a con­sumer may encounter a brand or prod­uct, right through the site design, con­tent, and con­ver­sion rate opti­miza­tions that brands employ to max­i­mize busi­ness rev­enues.

Brand Profile: Argos

  • UK ecom­merce and high-street retail.
  • Stocks a com­pre­hen­sive range of con­sumer goods.
  • One of the brand’s main strengths is their endur­ing pres­ence – it’s esti­mat­ed that 96 per­cent of the UK pop­u­la­tion is with­in 10 miles of an Argos store, and the brand has con­tin­ued this com­mit­ment with their dig­i­tal strat­e­gy, main­tain­ing strong vis­i­bil­i­ty online.
  • Recent­ly invest­ed heav­i­ly in dig­i­tal strat­e­gy and rebrand­ing, affirm­ing their place as an unlike­ly leader in speed and ease of ser­vice, with inno­va­tions in Click-and-Col­lect and Fast­Track ser­vices, as well as their new con­cept stores mean­ing they have been set­ting the pace in dig­i­tal ser­vice deliv­ery expe­ri­ences.
  • Com­peti­tors: Ama­zon, Cur­rys / PCWorld, John Lewis, Tesco, Hal­fords, Toys R’ Us

Argos’ oper­a­tions span from offline adver­tis­ing media such as TV and print, to grow­ing dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives includ­ing organ­ic search, paid search, social media, and PR.

The Argos Customer Journey

Where Argos is a British brand, for this case study we’ll look at the most typ­i­cal of British needs. A prod­uct every house­hold like­ly has and no British per­son should live with­out. After all, you can’t make a cup of tea with­out a ket­tle.

Tra­di­tion­al­ly, one of Argos’ strongest val­ue propo­si­tions has been in home appli­ances, and the abil­i­ty to pick up the prod­uct from a high-street store rather than wait­ing in for a deliv­ery bodes well for the brand.

How well does Argos pro­vide for dig­i­tal cus­tomers in search of a ket­tle?

Be Considered

The typ­i­cal con­sumer jour­ney today starts at the search engine. For many rea­sons it has become the go-to por­tal for any prod­uct con­sumers want to research. A con­sumer might be look­ing for a new ket­tle after their cur­rent appli­ance devel­oped a fault, and they might be look­ing for a mod­el with a rep­u­ta­tion for reli­a­bil­i­ty (and at a com­pet­i­tive price too).

Let’s see how Argos checks out in the search engine results.

Organic Search


What a result! Top of the organ­ic results, Argos do excep­tion­al­ly well for the typ­i­cal keyphrase “buy ket­tle”.

There is how­ev­er, plen­ty of com­pe­ti­tion from a selec­tion of oth­er big hit­ting ecom­merce retail­ers (e.g., Currys/PC World, Tesco and John Lewis), how­ev­er some of these have had to resort to paid ads to retain strong vis­i­bil­i­ty on Google’s first page.

A quick check of the mobile search results yields sim­i­lar­ly great results:


Paid Search

Let’s look a bit clos­er at the inter­ac­tion between organ­ic search and paid adver­tis­ing.

For Argos, a suc­cess­ful keyphrase such as this one demands less of an empha­sis on paid adver­tis­ing:


Argos’ paid list­ing for the key­word doesn’t show up until more than halfway down the page (and below the fold). It shows that a PPC spend is there, but at a low­er pri­or­i­ty.

Aggregated Search & Price Comparison

For price con­scious con­sumers who may be look­ing for the best val­ue, com­pet­i­tive pric­ing in the Google shop­ping results ensures they main­tain a pres­ence in the price com­par­i­son pages.

In the fol­low­ing two exam­ples, Argos doesn’t pos­sess the fea­ture list­ing, but they have man­aged to match the price of the fea­tured retail­er, which at least ensures they are in the mix as con­sumers con­sid­er which retail­er to buy from:

argos-kettle-agg argos-kettle-agg2

Lower Ranking Keywords

Before we move on, let’s see how Argos tack­les a prod­uct key­word that per­forms slight­ly less well in the organ­ic search results.

For the key­words “children’s bikes”, Argos faces tough organ­ic com­pe­ti­tion from Hal­fords (those who live in the UK will know that bicy­cles are very much Hal­fords’ niche).


In order to remain vis­i­ble for this niche, Argos put greater invest­ment into Prod­uct List­ing Ads (PLAs) and PPC adver­tis­ing, ensur­ing they give their com­pe­ti­tion a run for their mon­ey.

The prod­uct list­ing ads espe­cial­ly gives the brand’s vis­i­bil­i­ty a valu­able boost, and help make up for the fact that they face con­sid­er­able oppo­si­tion from Hal­fords in the num­ber one posi­tion organ­ic search result, as does the above fold PPC posi­tion.

The Google Shop­ping price infor­ma­tion pro­vides con­sumers with a quick indi­ca­tion of com­pet­i­tive­ness, and (in a sin­gle moment) we’re into the sec­ond stage of the con­sumer jour­ney.

Ver­dict: Over­all, with the excep­tion­al organ­ic result for key prod­uct lines con­sid­ered, the brand exhibits great pres­ence at this ear­ly con­sid­er­a­tion touch­point, bal­anc­ing bud­gets to remain com­pet­i­tive across a range of prod­ucts and cat­e­gories.

Be Evaluated

Back to ket­tles. With Argos’ vis­i­bil­i­ty putting them well in the mix, let’s take a look at how the brand looks to per­suade con­sumers as they are eval­u­at­ing their pur­chase options.

Site Design & Experience

The search results show that Argos have ded­i­cat­ed category/landing pages set up for par­tic­u­lar prod­ucts (a quick look shows that the strat­e­gy is scaled across the site for many key prod­uct cat­e­gories).


The Argos site has a large selec­tion of avail­able prod­ucts, and the top of the page includes prod­uct rec­om­men­da­tions that seem to be based on the strength of pos­i­tive user-gen­er­at­ed reviews.


Prod­uct pages them­selves have a good selec­tion of high qual­i­ty images and video to sup­port writ­ten infor­ma­tion­al con­tent:

argos-russellhobbs argos-russellhobbs-images

Videos are pro­duced exclu­sive­ly for Argos, and cov­er prod­uct fea­tures and infor­ma­tion­al con­tent. Many con­sumers swear by video reviews, and with the major­i­ty prod­uct list­ings on ecom­merce sites fea­tur­ing images only, going the extra mile ful­fills an addi­tion­al touch­point that could end up mak­ing the dif­fer­ence.



For users who made their way onto the site via a mobile device, the brows­er expe­ri­ence is speedy and excep­tion­al­ly opti­mized:


Note the “mobile-friend­ly” top nav – mean­ing the site almost looks like a ded­i­cat­ed app.

All the infor­ma­tion and con­tent avail­able on the desk­top site is also avail­able on the mobile site.

Nav­i­ga­tion through and around pages is intu­itive and lag free. Dou­ble-tap enlarges images and swip­ing around moves the enlarged image around.


User-Generated Reviews

On both the mobile and desk­top sites, the avail­abil­i­ty of user reviews is giv­en a promi­nent posi­tion, right next to the price, which is an indi­ca­tion of just how impor­tant reviews have become for con­sumers eval­u­at­ing their pur­chas­es.


As you would expect, the rec­om­mend­ed prod­uct is extreme­ly well reviewed.


Search Ecosystem

How­ev­er, some­times con­sumers want to see more than the reviews that are present on brand sites.

After all, it only takes a few sec­onds to search Google for reviews. Con­sumers trust organ­ic search results to be an unbi­ased source of infor­ma­tion. This rep­re­sents a huge chal­lenge for brands because it’s a lot hard­er for brands to man­age per­sua­sive­ness out­side of their own domain.

How does Argos check-out for a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct review in organ­ic search results when cus­tomers return to search to eval­u­ate?

We’ve come to a cru­cial moment in the con­sumer jour­ney – and one of the rea­sons momen­tol­ogy is so impor­tant. The moment con­sumers return to search.


Using the exam­ple of Argos’ rec­om­mend­ed prod­uct, we can see that when con­sumers search for this par­tic­u­lar prod­uct, they will be met by favor­able reviews.

On pop­u­lar review site Argos have a clever trick up their sleeve. The prod­uct appears at the top of’s inbuilt price com­par­i­son to reas­sure con­sumers on pric­ing, but more impor­tant­ly acts as a cru­cial off-domain touch­point that reminds and recon­nects con­sumers to the Argos pur­chase jour­ney.

Across dif­fer­ent domains, hav­ing an under­stand­ing of the way con­sumers are using many facets and por­tals with­in search to eval­u­ate prod­ucts is key.


Buying Guides

Even if you win con­sumers back at this stage, their appetite for infor­ma­tion still won’t nec­es­sar­i­ly be sat­is­fied. For prod­ucts that fea­ture a wide vari­ety in range and spec­i­fi­ca­tion between dif­fer­ent mod­els, con­sumers will seek addi­tion­al con­tent so they can read up on the infor­ma­tion they need to inform their buy­ing deci­sions.

While ket­tles don’t quite need this lev­el of con­tent to sup­port, it’s worth noth­ing that Argos has a large num­ber of buy­ing guides for key con­sumer prod­ucts.


DSLR’s for exam­ple, have a link to the Argos buy­ing guide present on the cat­e­go­ry page, along­side oth­er addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion cov­er­ing deliv­ery and cur­rent dis­counts next to the prod­uct spec­i­fi­ca­tion for con­sumers who are look­ing to delve a lit­tle deep­er.


Be Purchased

For con­sumers who reach this stage of the jour­ney, Argos real­ly come into their own. The brand’s posi­tion as a high-street and lead­ing ecom­merce retail­er enables them to offer a wealth of options to con­sumers as they are look­ing to trans­act.

For exam­ple, con­sumers can check stock lev­els online, and not just those in the ware­house but whether their product(s) are avail­able in a par­tic­u­lar store.

argos-buying argos-buying-stores

Argos pro­vi­sion for ser­vice deliv­ery is sim­ply excel­lent, and in many ways is lead­ing the field. With Fast­Track, con­sumers can even reserve their goods for an imme­di­ate in-store col­lec­tion.

In total, con­sumers have three options to have their goods deliv­ered:


  • Fast­Track: Pay online, col­lect in-store. (Hav­ing used this ser­vice recent­ly, I can report that I was in and out of the store in just 10 min­utes. Fast indeed.)
  • Col­lect In Store: Reserve online, pay in-store.
  • Home Deliv­ery: This is avail­able for £3.95 for any items able to be deliv­ered by 1 per­son (deliv­er­ies requir­ing 2 peo­ple costs £8.95). Con­sumers can pick a spe­cif­ic date for deliv­ery and Sat­ur­day deliv­er­ies are avail­able for no addi­tion­al cost.

All of the con­ve­nient ser­vice deliv­ery options are still avail­able on mobile:


In fact, the expe­ri­ence is enhanced to a degree by GPS func­tion­al­i­ty, allow­ing users to find their near­est store and check stock lev­els.


Whichev­er method con­sumers choose to check out with, Argos look to build post-pur­chase loy­al­ty by reward­ing cus­tomers who com­plet­ed a pur­chase, offer­ing a gift vouch­er to all con­sumers spend­ing over a cer­tain thresh­old to pro­vide them with an incen­tive to return and buy again:


The cam­paign was like­ly effec­tive in the hol­i­day sea­son among con­sumers who made mul­ti­ple hol­i­day gift pur­chas­es.

Create Awareness & Build Loyalty

Cre­at­ing aware­ness is often about brand iden­ti­ty, and pro­mot­ing an under­stand­ing of that to con­sumers. How do con­sumers per­ceive or feel about a brand? Do they believe they will get a first-class ser­vice? Do they need your ser­vices in their lives? Do they trust you?

Before con­sumers engaged in their pur­chase jour­neys, many would have had an aware­ness of Argos brand. It’s brand equi­ty which engen­ders a cer­tain lev­el of trust among con­sumers, and with dig­i­tal media it’s become an area which brands can look to devel­op and improve.

Suc­cess­ful man­age­ment of brand equi­ty cre­ates aware­ness and builds loy­al­ty among con­sumers – in many ways the two are inter­linked, and for that rea­son, while fun­da­men­tal­ly the prac­tices are nec­es­sary for every oth­er stage of the jour­ney, it rep­re­sents the begin­ning and the end of a brand’s vir­tu­ous cir­cle.

Affirm­ing trust amongst con­sumers increas­es the pow­er of a brands con­sumers jour­ney, which is why ear­li­er this year, Argos looked to answer some of these ques­tions with a rebrand­ing ini­tia­tive that looked to com­mu­ni­cate the iden­ti­ty and heart of the brand.


Ear­li­er this year, Argos rolled out a high pro­file rebrand­ing and TV adver­tis­ing cam­paign:

The cam­paign shows how Argos is build­ing a sense of iden­ti­ty via dig­i­tal media, not being afraid to go left when every­one else is going right.

Stephen Vowles, Argos’ mar­ket­ing direc­tor said of the rebrand­ing cam­paign:

We want peo­ple to think and feel dif­fer­ent­ly about the Argos brand. The dis­tinc­tive space we want to own is more heart­beats, rather than heart­strings. Lots of retail­ers do ads that make you go ‘aaaaa’. We do need an emo­tion­al con­nec­tion but that is prob­a­bly not Argos’ ter­ri­to­ry, our ter­ri­to­ry is about the excite­ment, the speed of get­ting the prod­ucts you want.”

Social Media

Social media has been evolv­ing into a chan­nel that works very well for gen­er­at­ing aware­ness. Some of the activ­i­ty Argos embark in on social media includes:

Twit­ter com­pe­ti­tions:

Dis­counts to encour­age fol­low­ers and engage­ment:

Celebri­ty endorse­ments, char­i­ty, and cor­po­rate ethics, respon­si­bil­i­ty:

Addi­tion­al­ly, this sea­son­al adver­tis­ing video feeds / inte­grat­ed with social media cam­paign: #gift­for­san­ta Engag­ing con­sumers:

The activ­i­ty makes for good num­bers, with the brand win­ning a strong fol­low­ing as a result of con­sis­tent posts on the chan­nel:


Organic Search (Revisited):

As a final note, Argos also cre­ate aware­ness via organ­ic search, which is a tes­ta­ment to how ver­sa­tile the chan­nel real­ly in reach­ing con­sumers.

The brand achieved trac­tion on sea­son­al organ­ic key­words such as “black fri­day deals”:

argos-black-friday argos-black-friday2

A ded­i­cat­ed land­ing page was cre­at­ed for the event:


It’s no sur­prise that Argos was one of the bet­ter per­form­ing brands over the Black Fri­day week­end.

Key Moments

  • Mul­ti-plat­form social media activ­i­ty, inte­grat­ed with offline brand build­ing and iden­ti­ty.
  • Excep­tion­al organ­ic per­for­mance on tra­di­tion­al cat­e­go­ry strong­holds.
  • PLA and PPC invest­ment for com­pet­i­tive prod­uct and prod­uct cat­e­gories.
  • Ded­i­cat­ed land­ing pages and good range of prod­ucts.
  • Pop­u­lar, well-reviewed (on the site), and rec­om­mend­ed prod­ucts also check out well in organ­ic search.
  • Ban­ner adver­tis­ing and spon­sored ads on review sites to refer con­sumers back to the site.
  • Incen­tive to return: £10 off sec­ond pur­chase.
  • Strong point: Class lead­ing ser­vice and prod­uct deliv­ery. Fast-track, click and col­lect, choos­ing deliv­ery date, cre­ates an excep­tion­al cus­tomer expe­ri­ence that will build loy­al­ty and inspire users to pur­chase again.

Final Thoughts

The con­sumer jour­ney is com­plex, and at times con­sumers may stray toward a com­peti­tor, or dis­ap­pear entire­ly. Con­sumers shop­ping online don’t move down the fun­nel in a straight line, but via a com­plex, inter­twin­ing jour­ney, and brands should look to meet con­sumers at a vari­ety of touch­points, or moments, where and when con­sumers are seek­ing their guid­ance and input.

How­ev­er, on the whole, the above exam­ples show that Argos main­tains an excep­tion­al pres­ence across a com­plete range of touch­points along the con­sumer jour­ney, some­times bal­anc­ing bud­gets and resources to remain com­pet­i­tive, and scal­ing their efforts for their large cat­a­logue of prod­ucts.

Doing this enables Argos to main­tain the so-called “fly­wheel” that has become indica­tive of pow­er­ful ecom­merce per­for­mance, enabling them to offer com­pet­i­tive pric­ing, expe­ri­ences, and an attrac­tive val­ue propo­si­tion for con­sumers.

What brands do you think cater for an excep­tion­al user expe­ri­ence across the whole pur­chase jour­ney? 

Pat Hong

Written by Pat Hong

Editor at Linkdex/Inked, Linkdex

Pat covers the SEO industry, digital marketing trends, and anything and everything around Linkdex. He also authors Linkdex's data analysis and reports, analysing the state of search in various industries.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

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