The A.S. Watson Group, the largest international health and beauty retailer in Asia and Europe, has announced the appointment of Mtel - a Hong Kong headquartered provider of digital solution - as its Asia mobile solution partner for the next three years. Mtel has been tasked with delivering nine mobile apps throughout 2016 for A.S. Watson eLab - the retailer’s an in-house digital division - in Asia. The nine mobile apps will all have m-commerce function and also allow customer to carry mobile loyalty card.
A.S. Watson also recently announced an agreement between its flagship beauty retail brand Watsons and Baidu Waimai, China’s fastest-growing online-to-offline (O2O) platform. Thanks to the agreement, Watsons products can be delivered to door within two hours of order confirmation on Baidu Waimai e-commerce website.
With these strategic moves, A.S. Watson intends to accelerate the enhancement of mobile engagement with customers.
Enhancing digital shopping experience
Since 2014, A.S. Watson invested US60 million dollars in the establishment and development of its technology platform to drive Customer Relationship Management and digital experience for its retail shoppers. E-commerce is one of the strategy focus for the group, which now has over 105 million loyalty members, seven e-stores in Asia and eight e-stores in Europe (including Superdrug and The Perfume Shop in the UK, Kruidvat in the Netherlands, Marionnaud Paris and ICI Paris XL across Europe).
“Our global web traffic has increased by 98% last year to over 568 million, and 40% of the traffic is from mobile. It is of utmost importance that we accelerate to enhance the mobile experience for our shoppers,” explains Malina Ngai, Chief Operating Officer of A.S. Watson Group.
The appointment of Mtel as A.S. Watson’s extended mobile arm will help to accelerate the implementation of the group’s digital strategy in Asia. “In Asia, the Watsons brand in particular is the most trusted health and beauty retailer brand, and our core customer groups across the region are increasingly mobile savvy,” adds Malina Ngai.
A.S. Watson sees e-commerce and m-commerce as key factors of success in the market. The implementation of the digital strategy is driven by the group’s eLab division, which currently employs 80 people in Hong Kong, in the United Kingdom and in Milan, Italy.
Europe is next on the list
While the agreement with Mtel focuses Asia, A.S. Watson is also eager to enhance its online business in Europe where the group’s e-commerce businesses delivered a 47% increase in sales in 2015.
Eager to build stronger engagement and relationship with customers digitally, as well as capture business opportunities in the rapidly growing European online shopping space A.S. Watson is currently looking for agencies and studios to work with the group on its content and digital asset creation, editorial, marketing.
“In just a year eLab has helped the Group move forward to serve our digital savvy customers, now we are looking to take our digital content to the next level,” says Malina Ngai. “I am keen to identify partners who can demonstrate passion in consumer experience online and with the energy to make things happen with speed.”