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The problems facing Argos

3590 words (14 pages) Essay in Marketing

09/05/17 Marketing Reference this

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High Street retailer Argos is one of the British biggest general-goods retailer which sells general products for families by approximate 750 branches, online stores and telephone purchasing forms, throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland. On average, two thirds of the population in the UK own the Argos catalogues at home at any time. Being together with sister chain Homebase, Argos becomes the larger Home Retailer Group.

As BBC News reported, since the financial crisis, several top retail chains have dropped obviously in the UK. The owner of Currys and PC World DSG International, said that like-for-like sales which ignored new market with 10% decreases in the three months until 10 January 2009. British Housebuilder Barratt Developments, said that total home completions fell 23.8% of interests increasing in the six months to 31 December.

By comparison, Among other major companies increase revenue in this period: discount fashion chain Primark had made a strong position in sales even the economic depression, with total sales increase 18% in the sixteen weeks to January. Carphone Warehouse, the biggest independent mobile phone company in Europe, which 75% like-for-like sales rise 6.5%.

At present, Argos faces significant problems. The chief executive of Home Retail Group said that its target marketing who in C2 and D social classes were ‘under the greater pressure’. They were affected deeply so that they less willing to buy expensive products as furniture. They have not really got rid of the sense of economic. Consequently, the sales of video game equipments and big-ticket items sale were particular depression, and the average transaction value at Argos remained relatively low at £25. Like-for-like sales which made a same mistake like DSG International, they also refused new store opening. This lead to revenue’s down 6.5% in the six months to 28 August 2010. At the same time, Argos sister chain-DIY business Homebase drop o.5%. The group shares down 9.1p to close at 210.8p until 20th October 2010.

Section2: Objectives

With regard to economic depression effect, Argos Chief Executive Terry Duddy has previously said that Argos will take some new economic measures to change their operating environment. This research proposal will try to find out what effectors made Argos sales declined and what factors could be change.

· Cut costs and reduce the wages

· Focus on a specific area, for example the big-ticket items like furniture

In order to investigate the feasibility of Argos new plan, the overall aim of the research is to find out the Argos current problems and potential menaces. At the request of the custom, we will use quantitative data research method based on a questionnaire which will be given to consumers in Argos store, and qualitative data research method based on open questions through collect recommendations from shopper. The first stage of qualitative will proposed and investigate in depth information on the custom, attitudes to shopping in Argos. This will provide the basis for designing the questionnaire to be used in the second stage among 1500 respondents.

â-¡The more specific research questions are as follows?

â-¡Whether the commodity price will influence revenue?

â-¡Which areas should be concentrated?

â-¡What further service that customer wanted?

â-¡How to improve Argos after-sale service?

â-¡How to improve shopping atmosphere in Argos store?

â-¡Which type is the main purchase crowd?

â-¡Whether the advertising could causes consumer attention?







Street/Telephone interview



Postal/Online survey

As the chart above, 10 depth interviews will be arranged for per five main cities around the Scotland by street and telephone interviews. As for qualitative research, with moderators joining and clearly specific orientations, 10 depth interviews are enough to ensure the goal achieved.

In order to ensure the accurate results of quantitative research, we decide to collect available values from a large amount of basic data resource. In this way, 6500 questionnaires will be sent by postal and online methods.


Qualitative research

Consider of the specific situation in Scotland, the individual depth interview (one to one interview) is the best choice for this marketing research. The advantage will be obviously to seen:

Abundant comprehensive data source will be gathered by us during once interview with one respondent.

It is easy to identify and distinguish the information source. It is more convenience to analysis the data by the one to one interview tape record.

Decreased influenced by the reference group to consumer, to get the individual and real primary data from the respondents.

Two different ways of interviews are proposed as followed:

Street interview

Depend on the location of Argos store existing, it always locates in the shopping mall or the shopping center of each main city around the Scotland. So, it is more easily to do the “store intercept” in this way. This will ensure that moderators could find the exactly respondents from the entrance of each Argos branch. And at the same times, this interview-cost time between interviews and respondents is fairly speedy.

Telephone interview

Telephone interview is a very useful tool for research nowadays, the core advantage of this way is convenience. Also, we can see advantages clearly:

It can come out faster results from respondents

With the moderators joined, it will direct lead the respondents to our required way.

It will decrease the embarrassed situations, unlike the street interview. Respondents could answer the question in a pleasant situation.

The cost of telephone interview is extremely low, which is considered by the cost of this research.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research relies on the specific object of research for the overall results obtained carried out. Compared among variety methods, the advantages of questionnaire methods are obviously to be seen:

It could lead us to get a large amount of sample sizes for Argos, without a huge input.

Questionnaire, which has a strong pertinence to our target respondents. Because of the in details and specific question in it. So, it will easy to lead us to find accurate data source under our specific purpose from target respondents. Help Argos stop the depression.

With its variable character, we could re-design the questionnaire in any time to suit for the variable market situation and demand ordered by Argos.

Two methods of surveys are proposed as followed:

Postal survey

The core advantage of Postal survey is extremely cost-effective. Compared with other methods, for example, telephone survey or interview survey, it requires no other basic platform. The only thing can control this survey is facilitated.

On the other hand, another most important advantage of postal survey could not be ignored. It is totally serve for the respondents:

It will devote more convenience to respondents to fill the questionnaire.

Respondents can consult with relatives or reference group within the home area.

Without any bias influenced by moderators.

Online survey

In consideration of the existing online customer data base build by Argos, we could easily do a survey among this group. Firstly, we can ensure that the target respondents are correct. Then, among these secondary data in the base, we could systematically analysis it in the first time, to get representative respondents. Otherwise, online survey is also the most convenience research tools nowadays. Advantages are easily to be seen:

Considered by the special geographic situation of Scotland, online survey depends on its huge coverage could help our research to reach any place around the Scotland, which is only require a internet network in that area.

The speed of feedback react rate is effective; it will remedy some disadvantages carried by postal survey for Argos. Respondents will complete a web-based survey quickly without any other added work.

There are no further cost except for the bill of internet charge monthly.

Approach Rationale


To ensure research process carry out in a expect way, we arrange a particular preliminary work.

We will do a positive consulting with Argos before each research begins. For qualitative research, for example, we will consult with Argos to determine which main theme is in research this time. Also for quantitative research, we will consult with Argos about the draft of questionnaire.

We will also provide a professional training for each moderator. To teach them include: target respondents, the way of interview, the degree of “depth” required, e.g.

Before each step begins, we will provide tools which need to be used by moderators, pen, paper, even the tape recorder. On the other hand, we will print out the questionnaire and standard in detail.



The population in this market research is all Argos’ consumers, because new decisions only focus on existing consumers instead of exploring new market. According to survey, the target markets of Argos are people in the C2 and D social class, whose annual incomes are among 25k pounds to 7k pounds. (Zoe Wood, 2010). In the same time, target group concludes either male or female customers over 18 years-old in Scotland.

Sample summary

Qualitative research

The target groups of qualitative research consist of consumers in the five main cities of Scotland, respectively Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and Edinburgh. As survey, there are seventy stores among South, Central, North East and Highland in Scotland approximately. And the five main cities spread all over there almost, which ought to be typical of the awareness by Argos’ consumers.

Street interview

As Argos stores as clusters point, moderators choose customers who purchase from Argos, which is convenience to use the stimulus materials that are Argos stores and purchased products. It is also an easy way to receive the opinions of customers’ purchasing experiences. In the same time, responders can be divided easily by performance ages, which can ensure what is the depth and factors of influence by new decisions for its target marketing in demographic segmentation.

The structures of twenty-five street interviews proposed are as followed:

Location: 5*Glasgow + 5*Aberdeen + 5*Dundee + 5*Inverness + 5*Edinburgh

Ages: 5 *(18s to 25s) + 10*(25s to 45s) + 5*(45s to 60s) + 5*(60s)

Telephone interview

The information of online members is used in telephone interviews extracted from the five cities. It is difficult to control the respondents of calls, so the family members who are using (or used) the products of Argos become the target groups. In this way, moderators can get the feedback of after-purchasing experience from consumers of Argos as well. The respondents of telephone interviews can be affected by social or personal factors less than face to face interviews, which guarantee the validity of it.

There are 25 telephone interviews proposed as followed:

Location: 5*Glasgow + 5*Aberdeen + 5*Dundee + 5*Inverness + 5*Edinburgh

Quantitative research: Quota samplings

The sampling methods of it are quota samplings according to the geographic variable. Customers in five main cities are still the population of this research. We will sample respondents to do questionnaires by the information of Argos’ online members. The agency will sample 200 and 1300 cases per city for postal and online questionnaires respectively.

Data collection methods

Qualitative research

Fifty Mini-depth interviews that process fifteen to thirty minutes are suitable for this qualitative research. Moderators will not give the responders a lengthy impression that makes them think about “how many” instead of the suitable answers. The number of interviews is ten respondents per city including street and telephone interviews. While, this qualitative research spends relative less cost and time for operation and analysis.

Quantitative research

The client will use survey research to select data. Quantitative data can be benefit from postal survey, which is less time-consuming and interviewer bias. In another words, it reduces the risk of uncontrolled variable. Online survey is the best way to save cost and time. The coverage of it is wide and it affords 24/7 convenience to respondents. Meanwhile, it is a useful way to measure the key variables, for instance, the response rate.

Data collection instruments

Qualitative research

All of those interviews will be recorded by tape so that qualitative data can be verified and collected easily. In the same time, the unidentified situation can be avoided.

Quantitative research

The agency will use the questionnaire as a data collection instruments that includes 15 questions made by Snap. There are several forms of questions to be used including alternative, closed, multiple, rating or preference and open questions, which not only afford accurate values but maintain the creativity of respondents. As this report illustrated before, the client will measure the geographic variables by staffs. The operators will process some direct measurement according to existing information of Argos’ online members, such as ages, sexes and locations. Other variables will be measured by manual operation of result observation. It is consistent between specific objectives and questions. All questions are designed according to those scales as followed that were prepared in advance. The Likert scales are proposed to be used in this quantitative research to measure the degree of attitude towards several factors of Argos by consumers.

Data analysis

Qualitative research

All the qualitative data will be verified and managed by WinMax software, which ensure the quality of it.

Quantitative research

When the client finishes collecting the cases, available values will be selected from them and managed to Data Matrix. Several scales will be used in it including binary, ordered, ranked, continuous, and Likert scales, which will illustrate clear results to Argos. Meanwhile, the client will use formal software, SPSS, to deal with them.

All the result will be examined and verified according to both specific and the brief of Argos.

Section 4: Organization and Management

Consider of this huge project, a large numbers of personnel are needed to complete the mission. In order to finish the work effectively, all staffs will be trained by professors who have worked and owned great experience in research field with industry standards before starting with the marketing research. All staffs will be trained separately by different responsibilities and they will be taught together about the whole marketing research plan of Argos, which can guarantee the consistency between the result of individual works and whole plan.

The content of training includes the interaction skills, data collection methods and the way of measurement variables. In the training of qualitative moderators, they will be taught the skill of communication, using stimulus material and projective techniques. For the quantitative researchers, they will be trained the effective way to measure key variables. Professional staff will finish the data analysis programs.

Moreover, enough supervisors will guarantee progress of whole programs. There is ten percent in both qualitative and quantitative researches being inspected in a random way.

Furthermore, technique agency will be entered all useful data into computers and analysis by professional software, such as SPSS and Winmax.

To ensure the consistency of our works and Argos requires, the result of every steps will be afforded to Argos. And we will adjust our actions according to the feedback of Argos.

Time Chart

15th November

30th November

15th December

30th December

15th January

30th January

15th February

25th February

Inception meeting


Questionnaire finalised and set up


Approval of sample design


Approval questionnaire and printing


Pilot questionnaire and printing


Interviewer briefing and completion of


fieldwork materials


Raw, data collected to date to be forwarded in SPSS


Topline findings and analysis


Weighting & final outputs available


Section 5: The agency

We are a very experienced and efficient agency; each member of our team has a great working experience in the field of marketing research. We are able to ensure not only the quality, but efficiency. We will be honest to our customers and do our best to thank for whose trust for us.

Section 6: Fees

The budget consists of 6 elements including the cost of staff training, quantitative Research, qualitative Research, personnel, evaluation and analysis and reserved.

Staff training: £2000

Reserved fee £3428.75

Personnel fee £1000

Evaluation and Analysis £10000

Quantitative Research £11000

Post questionnaire

Online questionnaire

Qualitative Research £550

Street interview

Telephone interview

Total (Including 2010 VAT 17.5%) £30,000

The cost of staff training includes the cost of classes, training materials, printing and copying materials and books, so the total is 2000 pounds approximately.

Personnel fee consist of the cost for accommodation, meals, traffic and research tools that are pens, tape recorders

According to the individual cost of research in brief, the cost of qualitative research by 25 street and 25 telephone interviews is 550 pounds. And 1000 postal and 6500 online questionnaire will spend 11000 pounds.

Evaluation and analysis fees include the cost of marketing research preparation, process and presentation of result, which also contains the cost of contact with Argos.

There is ten percent of budget leaving as reserved fees, which is ready to fill the leak of plan and pay for plan change caused by feedback of Argos.

Submission of tenders

We will send two copies of this proposal to the president of Argos. And we will begin to prepare the presentation of it. Any meeting about this proposal in future is available for our client. We afford professional staff to solve any problems about this proposal when Argos wants to contact with us.

Research Brief


Argos is one of the biggest railing stores in UK since 1973 and it owns laudable achievements, which has established 750 stores and hired 51,000 employees. The sales of Argos are beyond 4282 billion pounds in 2009. The major consumers of it are people in C2 and D social classes, both males and females among any ages. However, it was a serious impact for Argos by the occurring of economic recession in 2008, which still influences Argos until now. In order to solve this problem, Argos is willing to change its strategies in Scotland by cutting price or focusing on one or two kinds of products.

Research objectives

In order to change the depressed situation, the president of Argos wants to identify the main reason of reduced sales of points at present in Scotland. At the same time, he needs information about the existing and underlying factors that will influence consumers to accept the new decisions, which includes the attitude, the negative or positive awareness, and suitable price of Argos.


The client ought to use both qualitative and quantitative research to collect useful information according to the objectives in Scotland. The main work is to gather 50 to 100 qualitative surveys and 5000 to 8000 quantitative surveys in order to identify all problems and make available decision.

Qualitative research

The methods of qualitative research need to be chosen from deep interviews or focus group, for which the time should be suitable. The location of qualitative research should own the typicality in Scotland. Meanwhile, the population is requested to be consistent with the target market of our new decisions. And then, the result of it ought to be illustrated clearly and it is easy to check and approve. Finally, the cost and time of it need to be separated from other types of research.

Quantitative research

The available amount and method of sampling is required. The full explanation of strength and weakness of them should be illustrated clearly. Argos also wants the client displaying its methods and instruments to measure the key variables and how to use the scales. The content of it should be consistent with the objectives.


Argos needs to client propose the proposal by Friday 12th November that should show a clear plan of timing until 1st March 2010.


The whole budget of this research is 3000 pounds. The cost of methods in research is followed:

Home, Street and Telephone interviews spend 15, 10, 12 pounds respectively per qualitative research. For the quantitative research, the cost of postal and online questionnaire is 5 and 1 pound respectively.

Submission of tenders

Two copies of proposals should be sent to the president of Argos in Friday 12th November. If there are any problems of the proposal, please find the information on the website of Argos and contract with the managers of this project.

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