Argos hopes to improve efficiencies by rolling out a voice-directed put-away system to its entire estate following a successful trial.

The retailer is thought to be the first in Europe to be using this kind of technology within its stores. Until now it has only been used in distribution centres.

Argos ran a proof of concept trial with technology supplier Zetes across 25 stores during its peak trading period last year. Following this, the retailer chose to extend the roll-out to 130 stores, which Zetes put live at the rate of 15 stores a week. The performance of the system and the speed of implementation has convinced the retailer to extend it to all of its stores. 

Argos stores can receive up to two daily stock deliveries, and the system notifies delivery assistants of where to store each product in the stockroom. This increased the retailer’s put-away process efficiency by 24% at the trialled stores.

The technology also gives the retailer greater flexibility in where stock is positioned in its stockrooms. Fastest-selling products are placed closest to the customer collection points and smaller stores are able to carry a greater range of items, as they can be shelved anywhere and easily retrieved, without staff needing detailed stockroom knowledge.

New stock within deliveries is also available for sale more quickly. Argos head of store operations Alan Jeffries said: “Previously stores needed to put away products within each cage and then release the products for sale. Now individual items are released for sale as soon as they are put away – on shelf means on sale.”