Business Categories Reports Podcasts Events Awards Webinars
Contact My Account About

Watsons' $250 Million In-Store Experience Investment

Published June 23, 2024
Published June 23, 2024

Putting customers at the heart of its business, Watsons, the flagship health and beauty brand of AS Watson Group, is investing $250 million in new and upgraded stores across 15 operating markets over the past two years. The world’slargest international health and beauty retailer is setting a new standard for retail centered around the interaction between people, experience, and relationships. 

Allie Rooke, CEO of Clean Beauty Asia shared, "Watsons have been trying out different store environments for some time - China there are several different store types. They are increasingly premiumizing their brand offerings to include products in higher price brackets and therefore need to upgrade the environment to attract the right shoppers."

Its O+O (Offline plus Online) platform strategy is an ecosystem powered by technology, big data, and artificial intelligence, and it is not just about having physical stores but also online stores, creating an integrated experience that enables customers to shop across any channel, anytime, anywhere. The ecosystem consists of an extensive 16,500+ O+O store network and a team of 130,000 customer service representatives, integrated with digital platforms, 120+ online platforms, and customer connectivity with 170 million loyalty members.

According to Malina Ngai, Group CEO of AS Watson, "As the leading health and beauty retailer in Asia, we're committed to offering our customers the highest quality range of products at great value, as well as providing them with a very pleasant shopping experience. We constantly hear from our customers about where we can improve, and we work closely with key brands to improve category-specific experience. Watsons has been at the forefront of revolutionizing the in-store environment for customers, and over these two years, we are investing $250 million in new store opening and upgrading existing stores across our 15 operating markets."

As customers raise the bar on expectations for seamless and entertaining shopping experiences in 2023, Watson has invested in opening and upgrading over 2,200 O+O stores across 15 markets in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The company expects over 3,800 new and refitted O+O stores by the end of 2024. The stores have been designed to appeal to the demands of modern beauty lovers.

Ngai said, “We are opening over 1,200 new stores in 2023-24 and investing in refitting approximately 4,800 stores in the same period. This means 75% of the store portfolio in Asia will provide a more innovative and upgraded experience for our customers."

Rooke added, "They [Watsons] attract a young audience and need to create a fun, playful, interactive environment. Few retailers have even attempted to create something really playful - Sephora stores lack this and watsons is increasingly in competition with Sephora for share of wallet of their audience. In Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia they have relatively strong market share but in Thailand, & Philippines and Indonesia there are strong local competitors hot on their heels.

Watsons China has introduced Watsons Pink, where the entire interior design revolves around a pink color theme and the addition of spa services, allowing customers to pamper themselves while shopping. A designated Beauty Playground zone has been introduced, which offers customers a trend-forward, experience-led makeup space, with access to on-hand makeup artists who provide advice and expertise. 

Watsons Taiwan has transformed its store into a space primed for social media. The makeup zone features a lipstick-shaped table with a circular pink light box on the ceiling. The retail design also incorporates My Colour Studio, where customers can receive seasonal color analysis to help consumers understand their skin tone, eye, and hair color.

Watsons Malaysia takes shopping to a whole new level of fun and engagement. In addition to various experiential zones such as My Beauty, Hair Studio, and Watsons To Go, they have introduced a K-pop Land dedicated to showcasing K-beauty products. The vibrant Instagrammable design execution of this zone attracts young customers who can create memorable moments with friends while shopping. A Kid's Wonderland creates a space for customers to shop with their children. 

Watsons Hong Kong has redesigned its flagship store introducing the HealthQ health decoding station that features pharmacists, Chinese medicine practitioners, and nutritionists who provide personalized health consultations, vaccinations, and health assessments.

Watsons Thailand unveiled an enhanced health experience featuring a modern store design with a diverse selection of health products. To aid customers in their personal journey to wellness, a private health consultation room has been introduced where pharmacists can provide professional advice tailored to individual needs.

"Watsons understands that simply providing the best products is no longer sufficient to meet the needs of our customers," Ngai emphasized. "We're committed to continuous expansion and innovation, offering the best O+O customer experience. Watsons will always strive to inspire our 100 million loyal members to Look Good, Do Good, and Feel Great with us."


2 Article(s) Remaining

Subscribe today for full access