The A.S Watson Group has evolved from a local dispensary established in Hong Kong in 1841 to the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer with over 15.200 stores in 25 markets. Every year over 5 billion customers buy Watson’s products and from now on they will be able to purchase these in the new store in Kunming, the largest city in Yunnan Province, China. This new store counts with several updated technological features to attract more young customers.
This new store represents the groups 3.800th store in China, which is an important milestone for its market leadership in the country. Kunming experienced a growth of 8.9% in their GDP last year and is therefore a strategically well-chosen city for this store. Furthermore, both 3 and 8 are the luckiest numbers in Chinese culture, representing liveliness and prosperity, which makes this store opening very special.
The store is designed to provide one-on-one beauty services to customers, with a fully integrated digital experience, by combining online and offline platforms and therefore making it an engaging shopping experience. Moreover, it provides a 30-minute ‘click and collect’ service, as well as a 60-minute ‘click and delivery’ service and ‘StyleMe 2.0’, an augmented reality technology which offers different mix-and-match looks. This service update comes with a personal make-up session with professional in-store make-up artists. Moreover, customers can connect with the stores’ staff via the Watsons WeChat account and the store itself offers a ‘Scan and Go’ service, where customers can save time by simply scanning a QR code with their mobile phones to purchase the products directly through the Watsons App. With these updated technologies Watsons is trying to meet the demands of the Millennial (1981 – 1999) and Gen Z (2000 – 2012) shoppers, which are demonstrating an increasing spending power in China.
Through the introduction of these technologies Watsons has continuously upgraded its services in order to rejuvenate its image and position itself in the Chinese market. Including China, this year the group is on track to open 1.300 new stores globally.