A.S. Watson identifies success drivers

Date : 16 February 2021

Francis Ramos

Senior Retail Analyst

A.S. Watson has reported some trends that will shape the future of health and beauty, and other retail channels in 2021.

Offline + online strategy as the new retail standard

The pandemic has changed the shopping habits of customers, evolving their expectations and desires.  Like other retailers, A.S. Watson Group has witnessed a surge in online shopping in 2020, but it was able to adapt quickly, resulting to sales doubling during the year.  

Watsons International’s Chief Digital Officer, Freda Ng, commented, “O+O is the new retail standard.  It is a seamless integration of offline and online shopping experience, powered by big data and artificial intelligence.  O+O is about using digital to make it easier and more enjoyable for customers to shop anytime, anywhere. Retailers can benefit from the O+O model as it drives higher sales conversion and a stronger base of loyal customers.”

Growth from livestream shopping, personalisation and faster delivery

  • Livestream shopping: online shopping is now being gamified.  As customers build an emotional connection with the livestreaming host and enjoy the experience, they can be converted to purchase the products being advertised.
  • Personalisation: shoppers increasingly choose brands that address their own unique needs.  With artificial intelligence (AI), they are now able to receive personalised offers and tailored recommendations.  Through the use of augmented reality (AR), shoppers are now able to try products virtually and receive personalised advice from sales associates online.
  • Faster delivery: people now expect delivery within hours rather than days.  A.S. Watson now leverages its extensive store network to deliver health and beauty products in less than two hours.

Ecommerce will further accelerate

A.S. Watson Group plans to continue expanding its ecommerce platform, including its own mobile app.  The retailer is now operating over 100 ecommerce sites in 27 markets globally, including GrabMart, which it has recently partnered for delivery within Southeast Asia.