By THE NATION
Watsons believes its strong store network, digital capabilities and growing eCommerce platform means it is well placed to meet customer expectations as they evolve in this new retail world. Highlighting this strategy as “O+O” or “Online+Offline” Watsons outlined it’s significant investments in its Store network and eCommerce capability.
Rod Routley, Regional Managing Director/Asia says, “Watsons vision is the integration of the offline and online shopping experiences to create a seamless and exciting experience”. Watsons physical stores have always been a key part of our success as we expanded rapidly to serve our customers in Thailand. We have built a brand known for innovation, trust, great value and a wide range of beauty and health products and our focus on O+O will enable us to seamlessly deliver our Watsons concept to more customers across a wider geographic spread with more convenience.
Fully operational since 2017, our online business has received excellent feedback from both new customers and Watsons regular shoppers. Our sales continue to grow exponentially with volumes now three times what they were 12 months ago. Our online platform is complementary to our store offer in that it offers expanded ranges, exclusive products, and an exciting promotional programme combined with the convenience of 24-hour access and convenient payment options. Watsons is confident these high levels of growth will continue and this has been supported most recently by its 5-5 campaign on May 5 to raise awareness and attract new customers.
Watsons is continuing to invest strongly in its store network. After opening 50 stores in 2017 Watsons will open another 50 stores in 2018 ending this year with around 515 stores.
Our store concept is also being substantially updated with our latest version evident in Central World. This new concept store is designed to appeal to modern consumers that demand more exciting shopping environments. Improved categorisation, brand presentation, lighting and digital integration are all very evident in this new store.
“In addition to our new store expansion we will refit approximately 75 existing stores, invest substantially in our digital and eCommerce capability with an overall investment budget of Bt600 million.
The increase in online shopping has not affected our new store opening plan. Beauty and Health Products are still a growth category in Thailand and we see continued growth in physical store distribution as a way to serve our customers in Thailand better,” Routley says
The Watsons Membership programme has continued its success of recent years. Now with over 4 million members that have the advantages of improved communication, exclusive promotions and special event invitations . In addition we have recently launched our new Watsons Elite Card. This upgraded membership is awarded to our most loyal members and brings with it another exciting range of benefits.
Social Media engagement remains an important part of Watsons customer strategy. Now with over 2.3 million facebook fans and nearly 4 million Line friends Watsons believes this combination with it growing membership base will help it engage with customers better than ever.
Watsons Own Brand product development will also see another exciting year in 2018. Now with over 770 SKU’s we have plans to launch over 150 new products from various countries including Korea and Japan. In 2017 we had great success with our Dermaction Plus Brand (DAP) as we expanded “DAP Advanced Sun”, introduced “DAP Alive Plankton” and continued to evolve our “DAP Cleansing Water” range.