Watsons Singapore wins Retail Asia Award for driving digital acceleration and sustainable innovation in the health and beauty industry
The company continuously transforms its retail model with omnichannel and sustainable innovations to adapt to the changing retail landscape and better suit the needs of its customers.
As one of the retail stores providing essentials to its customers, Watsons Singapore continues to stay ahead in the retail scene both offline and online despite a more complex journey during the pandemic. Watsons attributes its growth in market share and sales to its O+O (Online plus Offline) omnichannel strategy.
Watsons pivoted to O+O way ahead of other retailers, capitalising on the rise of eCommerce brought by the pandemic. Apart from a website and app, Watsons is also present in marketplaces like Lazada and Shopee as part of its strategy to extend its reach and awareness online. Adapting to consumers’ increasing need for fast delivery, Watsons launched Quick Commerce, working with GrabMart, PandaMart, and most recently, Amazon as its very first store-in-store Health & Beauty retailer, to offer speedy delivery in 3 hours or less.
The O+O strategy is taken a notch higher with the Click & Collect Express & Home Delivery Express that turned Watsons stores into mini eCommerce distribution centers. Customers’ online orders will be delivered from Watsons stores nearest to them instead of from the main eCommerce distribution center, thereby making shipping fast and efficient.
Watsons Online has exponentially grown in the last 2 years, and continues not just through the company platforms, but in marketplaces like Lazada and Shopee as well. The online space enabled a much greater range of offerings than physical stores, with additions such as Household, Mum & Baby, Gifts & Hampers sets, and the Prestige range, just to name a few.
The O+O strategy allowed Watsons to launch more in-house brand products, birthing the Own Brand Strategy. Watsons’ Own Brands hold 16% of SKUs in the Everyday Low category, with items from categories such as Personal Care, Skincare, Health & Fitness, and General Merchandise. To bring more fun and excitement to consumers, Watsons collaborated with pop culture characters like We Bare Bears and Line Friends to create paper products, hand sanitisers, general merchandise, Christmas gift items and more for their in-house brands. No competitor comes close to Watsons’ range of exclusive offerings, especially online.
The Own Brands Strategy is complemented by stringent R&D with all formulated products and ensures all claims are substantiated. Cosmetic products also undergo strict third-party toxicology testing and adhere to the most stringent regulations in both Asia and Europe in formulation. For Watsons, aside from safety and good quality, their own brands are made more unique through their sustainability model. Around 24% of the Own Brand range is under sustainable choices, falling under one or more of these sustainable pillars: Refills, Clean Beauty, Better ingredients & Better Packaging by 2025/2030.
“Watsons’ own brand of products has to abide by other sustainability areas outside of having no microplastics, which include the use of responsibly-sourced paper products (such as FSC-certified) and palm oil (RSPO-certified palm oil), thereby offering more sustainable choices to customers,” said Watsons Managing Director, Irene Lau.
The company also emphasised that their people are critical assets for their continued success in the industry. To create an environment that gives employees more autonomy, freedom of choice, and a platform to be as productive as possible without the constraint of traditional office space, Watsons promotes an “agile office.”
The health and beauty retailer will also continue to implement their O+O strategy in an ecosystem that is powered by technology, big data, and AI. With more than 1 million membership base, Watsons will utilise and analyse this data for a better understanding of their customers, especially in the way they personalise promotions and even set up a store. Watsons customers can expect a relaunch of a better application for a better online shopping experience.
For the successful shift to eCommerce and providing a seamless retail shopping experience accompanied by environmental efforts, Watsons Singapore bagged the Health and Beauty Retailer of the Year accolade in the recently concluded Retail Asia Awards 2022.
The Retail Asia Awards is a prestigious event that gathers the region's best retailers and recognises the most outstanding retail initiatives.