LONDON, June 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —
While the global chatter around bricks and mortar retail sounds bleak, AS Watson is cementing its reputation as not just the world’s largest health and beauty retailer but the most forward-thinking with continued investment into store openings, customer service and digital transformation.
For the third year in a row, AS Watson announces its plan to open over 1,300 new stores; that’s one new store opened every seven hours. This bold growth plan shows the optimistic view AS Watson has in the global opportunity offered in retail. The business currently has over 14,300 stores in its 24 markets.
While AS Watson may be a name which is only known by industry insiders and analysts, their list of 12 retail brands is a roll call of some of the world’s most trusted brands including Kruidvat (1,000 stores in Netherlands and Belgium), Superdrug (800 stores in UK and Ireland) and ParknShop (340 supermarkets in Hong Kong, Macau and Mainland China). The largest retail brand in the group is Watsons which operates 6,600 stores in 12 Asian and European countries and has this week opened its first store in Russia.
The business’s digital transformation began in 2010, with the launch of the first AS Watson customer strategy. This pivotal document recognised that the digital evolution was changing customer behaviour – not only the way they sought inspiration, but how they communicated to brands and their expectations to be listened to. The customer strategy showed the business’s determination to become a more customer centric organisation, through the use of analytics, surveys, digital analysis and social listening to stay close to customers and put into action their views and feedback.
Eight years after the launch of the first customer strategy the business now has over 130 million members in their loyalty programme globally, and with a recorded revenue increase of six per cent in its core health and beauty business, the plan is showing dividends.
“Digital transformation in organisations so often focuses on technology investment and new digital applications, and ignores the human touch,” said Malina Ngai, Group Chief Operating Officer.
“When 70 per cent of your colleagues are Generation Y and Z it’s vital to talk to them in the right way, to enable them to service today’s customers.”
The business has changed the way it recruits and communicates with colleagues across the business, including using mobile APPs for training to replace traditional learning. Across the territories you’ll find each business’s social media platforms run and managed by young colleagues, talking to their peers in a relatable way.
“Growth in terms of store numbers is just part of the picture, we are well aware that offering the best customer service and ensuring customer satisfaction is key to our continued success.
“The way that our customers shop is continually changing and we know how important it is to keep at the forefront of changing trends and innovation by the effective use of big data.”
The company last year announced its investment of US $70m in building big data capabilities to enhance its customers’ experiences as well as business efficiencies. The roll out is in partnership with Toronto-based Rubikloud a company that specialises in software platforms for retailers.
AS Watson continues to invest in technology, to allow it to build on customer insights and create innovative digital platforms. This investment is backed by a programme of collaborations with suppliers who are pioneering technology expertise in their fields. This close collaboration is helping AS Watson ensure their customers are being served with cutting edge store systems, artificial intelligence and eCommerce.
About A.S. Watson Group
- Established in Hong Kong in 1841, A.S. Watson Group is the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer with over 14,300 stores in 24 markets. Each year, over four billion customers and members shop with our 12 retail brands, both in stores and online.
- In Hong Kong, we operate more than 600 stores under four retail brands – Watsons, PARKnSHOP, FORTRESS, and Watson’s Wine. In addition, we manufacture and distribute high quality drinking water brand Watsons Water, as well as the famous juice drinks Mr Juicy and Sunkist.
- For the fiscal year 2017, A.S. Watson Group recorded revenue of HKD156.2 billion. We have over 140,000 employees worldwide, including 12,900 in Hong Kong.
- A.S. Watson Group is also a member of the world-renowned multinational conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings Limited, which has five core businesses ‐ ports and related services, retail, infrastructure, energy and telecommunications in over 50 countries.
- Please visit www.aswatson.com for more in-depth information about A.S.Watson Group and its brands. You may also stay in touch with us via our digital presence (eCommerce, social media, mobile app & more) ; more details are at http://www.aswatson.com/our-customers/digitalasw/
SOURCE A.S. Watson Group