Watsons Technology Partnership Accelerates O+O Retail

Watsons continues to accelerate its digital transformation for O+O (offline plus online) retail with its Tech Partners via a technology partnership programme to build an ecosystem of technology experts to support the digital transformation of Asia’s No.1 health and beauty retailer.

Transformative Partnership for Stronger Customer Connectivity

The Programme is designed to turn short-term client-vendor relationship into a longer term strategic partnership. At the Technology Partner Day event, the contributions of Tech Partners are recognised, and at the same time, the company shared an update of business strategy to give them transparency. Through the mutual commitment, Tech Partners can bring great expertise and innovation to Watsons and help accelerate digital transformation for O+O retail, while they will have access to our senior management, visibility on our growth strategy and technology roadmap.

Watsons collaborates with vendors who are the pioneers in their respective technology expertise, including eCommerce, store systems, data science, artificial intelligence, data visualization, technology ecosystem and services.

Malina Ngai, Group COO of A.S. Watson Group & CEO of A.S. Watson (Asia & Europe), explained, “As we continue the worldwide collaboration with our Tech Partners, it reflects our determination in digital transformation. As we continue our journey, we will invest in the right technology and the right partnership to help us enhance our ability to build stronger customer connectivity offline and online, which in return will make Watsons customers’ most-loved brands.”

Best Customer Experience Enabled by Technology

Customers in today’s digital world have high expectations. It is of strategic importance that we use technology to connect with more customers, and provide enriched experiences.

Watsons operates over 7,200 offline and online stores in Asia, has been integrating technology in the customer journey to achieve digital transformation and O+O retail innovation:

  • ColourMe: Watsons has deployed technology from L’Oréal’s artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) company ModiFace, and co-created the virtual makeup try-on service ColourMe in 2019. Using AR technology, it is available to customers across Asia via Watsons Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines mobile apps, offering customers a unique experience to discover and enjoy virtual makeup try-on service with 300 makeup products from various beauty brands.
  • Skin Analyser: A device to analyse skin types and condition and offer product recommendations. Skincare solutions continue to be in high demand around the world.
  • WatsonsGO: First launched in Watsons China, WatsonsGO allows customers to buy in store via payment on mobile app. The service is developed by Watsons internal innovation hub eLab, and it’s now available in Watsons Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • 2-Hour Delivery: Watsons teamed up with Grab across six Southeast Asian markets to offer a seamless O+O shopping experience as well as faster and more reliable 2-hour delivery services to customers via the app.
  • In-store Technology: Watsons constantly introduces concept stores with different formats across Asia, featuring various customer interactive experience in the new store, including Endless Aisle and 24/7 Tap & Shop self-service station, bringing unique smart shopping experience to customer.

A Growing Technology Ecosystem

Watsons Asia embarked on its digital transformation journey since 2011 when it introduced the first Customer Strategy. Investment has been dedicated to CRM, eCommerce and mobile experience, along with the establishment of eLab in 2015, an in-house digital agency focusing on supporting all business units to develop eCommerce and digital marketing. In 2017, ASW kicked off another major investment in big data to build new capabilities in analytics and machine learning with the launch of DataLab in 2018. With the collaboration of technology partners and our professional digital teams, Watsons constantly connects with its 100 million+ loyalty members through big data analytics and insights to enhance customer experience.

Watsons will continue to identify potential expertise from either large companies or start-ups to join the Tech Partner programme to support the digital transformation journey for the best O+O retail experience.