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Retail and e-commerce

The retail industry is undergoing unprecedented change worldwide. The last decade has seen the rapid growth of e-commerce pure players, particularly in non-food, with very different cost structures to traditional players. There is pressure on margins (loss of traffic and/or revenue, reduced margins on e-commerce sales and differential growth in revenue/costs) and consumers are increasingly informed and versatile.

Challenges in the retail and e-commerce industry

The ability of retailers to offer a differentiated consumer experience or range of products, to radically optimise end to end costs to compensate for margin losses and finance necessary investments, and to guarantee operational excellence are now pre-requisites for survival.

With rising consumer expectations and pressures, digital initiatives are necessary to transform the customer experience, develop consumer insight and evolve supply chain management, sales forecasting, price management, promotions and store operations.

How we can help with retail and e-commerce

We work with 10 of the 25 largest retailers in Europe and some of the leading retailers in the US, in all areas of the value chain. We help our clients to define their end-to-end operations strategy and to implement transformations.

Reinvention of the retail model

  • Omnichannel strategy
  • Definition of the role of stores and strategy to leverage assets
  • Innovation management (choice of technology, partnership)
  • Advanced data management (management of advanced data, use of all available data)

Digital transformation

  • AI (customer experience, consumer insight and supply management, sales forecasting, price management, promotion and store operations)
  • Digital in store
  • RPA

Store operations

  • Service strategy
  • Productivity and lean of point of sale
  • Resource planning
  • Back-office process optimisation stores

Procurement strategy

  • Procurement performance management
  • Optimisation and organisation of sourcing offices
  • Supplier negotiation performance
  • Supplier collaborations

Supply chain

  • Supply chain strategy
  • Organisation and management of the supply chain
  • Supply optimisation
  • Multi-channel management and order orchestration
  • IT supply chain master plan


  • Service policy store/internet
  • End-to-end optimisation
  • Logistics master plan
  • Organisation and management of store/web logistics
  • Logistics performance plans
  • Mechanisation/automation
  • Transport optimisation


  • Optimisation of back office functions
  • Shared services and outsourcing
  • Optimisation/automation of support processes
  • Service and performance management

Transformation and change management

  • Transformation plan
  • Mobilisation of stakeholders
  • Support for the transformation of businesses and organisations

Our approach

We apply a combination of technical expertise, operational experience and business knowledge to help our clients solve retail and e-commerce issues and deliver lasting results. Our personal and pragmatic approach, with challenge where needed, ensures buy-in at all levels of our clients’ businesses and a successful outcome. We have worked with a wide range of organisations in the retail and e-commerce industry including Amazon, Williams-Sonoma, Target, JB Hi-Fi, IKEA, Intermarche, Carter’s, Carrefour, Waitrose and Reliance Retail. Learn more about us here.

Retail and e-commerce case studies

Process improvement in eCommerce

consumer retail

Process improvement in eCommerce

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a multi-channel specialty retailer of high-quality products for the home, operating under distinct brands Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Rejuvenation, and Mark and Graham, and marketed through e-commerce websites, direct-mail catalogues and retail stores.

Retail stores are located in the US, Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, with franchise brands in the Middle East, the Philippines, Mexico and South Korea.

We were engaged to assess and improve the eCommerce operation following a disappointing peak season of higher costs and severe service issues.

  • Assess the entire operation to analyse and identify priorities for aggressive improvement prior to holiday peak
  • Define several critical workstreams and provide leadership and guidance to define and implement fixes
  • Create a SKU and inventory reduction plan
  • Create training modules for various functions
  • Develop and execute a peak readiness plan
  • Established new high cube and small low volume pick areas to increase SKU capacity and lift productivity
  • Significant SKU rationalisation
  • All SKUs slotted to appropriate pick areas
  • Improved replenishment and pick shortages from better pick face sizing
  • Delivered excellent peak season performance: reduced labour, 3-day order to ship cycle, reduced shipping costs from fewer split orders

Improve product availability


Improve product availability

Target Australia is the leading mid market discount department store, with sales of AUD$ 3.5 billion. The company is part of the Wesfarmers group, one of Australia’s largest listed companies. With 310 retail stores offering 100,000+ SKUs of apparel, home decor, general merchandise, electrical, baby and beauty products, it has a multi-channel supply chain covering offshore manufacture and consolidation, with on shore pick and pack.

A new strategy was put in place to reverse the decline of the business with the implementation of systems, infrastructure and processes to support improved product availability in retail outlets, and ultimately improved sales and margin.

  • Implement processes to support the new forecasting and replenishment and warehouse management systems
  • Model multiple sites’ capacity and select standard SKUs to use for the replenishment channel
  • Implement business processes and reporting to support the new supply chain model
  • Opened three replenishment DCs on time with the new systems
  • On time delivery of new forecasting and replenishment (store) system – Terra Data DCM
  • Store scheduling process improved delivery frequency and product availability in stores
  • The Christmas period exceeded Y3 volume projections
  • New carton packaging standards leading to a AUD$3 million per year saving


S&OP design and implementation


S&OP design and implementation

JB Hi-Fi is an Australian and New Zealand retailer of consumer goods, specialising in video games, Blu-rays, DVDs, CDs, electronics, hardware and electrical home appliances.

JB Hi-Fi wished to introduce a weekly planning cycle for the white goods category, in order to increase forward visibility, align decision making and improve stock turns and instore availability.

  • Lead the project with a cross functional client team including supply chain, buying and marketing
  • Design a weekly planning process customised to the client’s needs
  • Develop supporting forecasting and supply planning capability
  • Provide a compelling business case to support additional resourcing for the new way of working


  • Executive support for the new way of working and improved collaboration between buying and supply chain
  • Redesigned organisational structure with additional resourcing for the planning function
  • Developed a new forecasting and replenishment tool
  • Improved KPIs for forecast accuracy, inventory turns, waste and instore stock availability


PMO team set up

global furniture and home accessories company

PMO team set up

IKEA is a multinational group that sells ready-to-assemble furniture and home accessories. The supply process is designed to buy, produce and distribute the IKEA range at the lowest cost, enabling them to sell at low prices whilst maintaining high quality standards.

Two existing organisations merged into Intralogistics, to offer IKEA the strategic enabler to grow globally and handle bigger and more complex logistics projects. Argon & Co was asked to design the future portfolio management (PMO) team’s processes, tools and templates the team will require to work efficiently.

  • Define the process to manage, review and prioritise warehousing and logistics projects
  • Develop a toolkit to enable the PMO team to work efficiently and in a standard way
  • Review and recommend project portfolio management (PPM) tools to help manage and monitor current projects and project pipeline
  • Design the reporting process and structure of the review meetings
  • Recommend the roadmap for the PMO successful implementation


  • Designed and documented the processes for assessing and managing project requests
  • Created the PMO toolkit containing process flows, tools, templates and training material
  • Defined a KPI list to measure, monitor performance and drive continuous improvement actions
  • Defined the meeting cadence, agenda, input and output templates for each meeting
  • Designed an implementation roadmap with effective change management guidelines

Capacity enhancement in packing


Capacity enhancement in packing

Amazon is the world’s leading eCommerce company. It started operations in India in 2012. The company has several state-of-the-art fulfilment centres with the latest technology and WMS. Two years after starting operations in India, Amazon became the market leader.

The company wanted assistance with packing constraints during peak times and to evaluate options in process and technology changes which could mitigate this problem.

  • Conduct detailed motion studies and video analytics to discover bottlenecks in packing
  • Evaluate method, process and technology changes which could add capacity
  • Review existing layout/space to check feasibility of adding pack stations without impacting flow
  • Suggest design changes without too many changes in core processes and implementable in Operational FCs


  • Realigned the buffer trolleys alongside the pack stations to gain 36% more pack stations
  • Picking into crates instead of trolleys reduced the buffer staging area and allowed a 40% increase in number of pack stations with some investment
  • Process improvements by use of auto P&A, auto bagging, self sticking pouches and duplex labels enhanced pack productivity by another 10-12%