Multichannel retailer Argos is using NFC in a selection of its stores across the UK, as it looks to cater further for the rapidly-growing number of mobile shoppers.

Shoppers can now use their NFC-enabled smartphones in-store to download information about the retailer's products and download the Argos transactional mobile app. It comes after e-retail trade body IMRG said earlier this month that UK consumer spending via mobile devices doubled year on year in December 2013.

A total of 40 Argos stores, including the digital store in London's Old Street (below), now offer the mobile NFC service, giving customers an opportunity to tap their phones at various points in-store, including on staff lanyards. This new strategy has been rolled out to help meet the modern shopper requirements that revolve around convenience and use of personal technology, while at the same time increasing interaction between customers and staff. 

Argos is working alongside mobile technology vendor Proxama, which is providing its Mobile-In-Retail solution and TapPoint platform as the underlying technology for the project. The initiative uses over 88,000 tap points, which Proxama said represents the largest retail roll-out of the technology to date.

Dominic Pemberton, head of publications and new media at Argos, said: "By using NFC we hope to encourage app downloads, increase mobile sales and improve our multichannel customer experience.

"This pilot is also part of our initiative to reduce the printing and distribution costs associated with our catalogue."

With transactions made on a tablet or mobile devices accounting for 20% of all sales at Argos this Christmas, the new partnership with Proxama is another sign of the company's efforts to further combine its 700-plus stores with its online channels.

Argos's check & reserve facility, which allows customers to quickly order items online before picking the products up in-store, is also gaining traction – and is viewed by the business as a key part of its goal to become one of the UK's leading multichannel retailers.

Earlier this week, the company opened a new office above its store near Victoria Station, London, which will be used for stimulating innovation and creativity within the organisation. The new hub will also be used as a satellite location for teams involved in the business's major infrastructure projects.

Argos said that it is keen to add to its technical team and hopes that by creating an innovation hub in central London it can build on recent successes in the digital space, which includes work with Blippar to bring traditional catalogue advertising to life through video and augmented reality technology.

Argos digital director Bertrand Bodson said: "We want to build on the successes we have already seen with digital initiatives such as Blippar and Digital Christmas Gift Guide and take that further.

"Building our agile capability is a strong boost to Argos's transformation plans, allowing us to bring digital solutions to the market faster and in a more timely and relevant way."

List of Argos stores with mobile NFC capability:

Holborn, London

Marble Arch, London

Old Kent Road, London

Old Street, London

Dunfermline, Scotland,

Colchester Tollgate,

Camden, London

Teeside Park

Northallerton,

Middlesbrough Cleveland

Stockton on Tees

Middlesbrough Hill Street

Redcar

Billingham

Durham City RP

Newton Aycliffe

Bishop Auckland

Darlington

Consett

Chester le Street

Sunderland Hylton

Hartlepool Marina

Hartlepool Middleton Grange

Sunderland High Street

Seaham

Peterlee

Wallsend Silverlink

Cramlington

Blyth

Ashington

South Shields

Jarrow Viking Centre

Newcastle Byker

Hexham

Washington

Eldon Square

Northumberland Street

Gateshead town centre

Gateshead

Tottenham Court Road, London

http://www.proxama.com/about-us/

https://blippar.com/en/