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A.S. Watson continues to digitally transform its business around the world. Its latest initiatives are to launch a Watsons Mini Store in China and Watsons Pay in Taiwan.

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Boots Retail Thailand announces the appointment of new Managing Director, Mike Wanliss.

Boots, Thailand: new MD

Boots Retail Thailand announces the appointment of new Managing Director, Mike Wanliss.

He will take up the new role on 21st January 2019, reporting into Dean Thompson, VP and regional managing director for Asia international retail.

Wanliss brings with him 40 years’ experience in the retail industry. He joins the business from M.H. Alshaya Co, a leading international franchise operator, where he has acted as VP Boots Middle East since 2011.

Wanliss has also carried out leadership roles at both Woolworths and Cooperative Pharmacy.

CK Hutchison's retail division A.S. Watson and telecom subsidiary 3 have partnered China’s Meitu to launch a new platform that integrates social media and retail.

Partnership to enhance shopper experience

The new platform will combine beauty with social media, with the companies drawing on their expertise in retail, telecom and AI technology to provide shoppers a better online and offline shopping experience. The project will look to drive engagement and interaction with customers of particularly the millennial generation, allowing Meitu users to try beauty products virtually on their mobile phone and receive product recommendations. 

Meitu's COO, Bryan Cheng, said, “3 Hong Kong customers can design personalised products and enjoy a new, one-stop mobile shopping experience through our cooperation with Meitu. We are confident of this partnership and believe that it will create a three-way win for customers, Meitu and CK Hutchison [...].”

Watsons Hong Kong launching Meitu Magic Mirrors

Watsons Hong Kong will launch Meitu’s Magic Mirror at Watsons Mongkok Bank Centre and Cameron Road stores later this month. In the first half of next year, the retailer will roll out to around 30 more Watsons stores. Furthermore, Meitu and 3 Hong Kong will partner to introduce MeituDIY, allowing users to print their photos directly on mobile phone cases, clothes, and more, so that they can create more personal and unique products. After launching its global VIP loyalty program last month, Watsons continues to look for new ways to offer greater personalisation.

Watsons China to feature on Meitu's BeautyCam app first

Meitu’s BeautyCam app has been upgraded to make product recommendations via skin analysis. The app will help users match the right products available at Watsons store. This feature will be launched in Mainland China this month, while users in Hong Kong will have access in the first quarter of next year.

In addition, Watsons China will begin its partnership with Meitu Social Media later this month, enabling the retailer to deliver personalised messages. When customers edit their photos using in-app features, Watsons will recommend the right products based on customer habits and big data. The strategic alliance will help Watsons reach a wider customer base in Hong Kong and China, bringing in new, and what the retailer hopes will be loyal members.

Want to know more?

Subscribers can read more on A.S. Watson's Strategic Outlook here.

Dairy Farm announced in early October 2018 that it has agreed to acquire the remaining 51% interest in Rose Pharmacy from BRG Realty Corporation.

Full control of the pharmacy chain

Dairy Farm bought a 49% interest in Rose Pharmacy to broaden its health and beauty offering. The announcement is conditional on the approval of the Philippines Competition Commission and completion is expected to take place within the next six months. Upon completion of the transaction, Dairy Farm will hold 100% of Rose Pharmacy.

Growth through health and beauty

The company’s decision to invest further in this area does not come as a surprise. In its 2018 half year report, health and beauty is highlighted as one of the key growth areas. In the Philippines, its integration of Rose Pharmacy started to yield positive results, whilst the food business continues to face challenges. In March 2018, Robinsons announced to acquire Dairy Farm’s Rustan’s in the Philippines (see full report here).

One of the Philippine’s largest pharmacy chains

Established in 1952 in Cebu city, Rose Pharmacy currently has over 250 branches in Philippines. To meet today’s shopper needs, Rose Pharmacy also offers online shopping, phone ordering and home delivery.

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AS Watson is rolling out a new global VIP loyalty program to further connect with its customers around the world.

VIP loyalty program

A.S. Watson plans to make its new VIP loyalty program available across the 24 markets it operates by early next year. The retailer has approx. 130 million members worldwide, but the new program will be invitation-only to reward top customers.

Personalised rewards and benefits

VIP members will benefit from personalised rewards which will also vary between markets. Some of the advantages include, free health and wellbeing classes (Watsons China), cooking classes (Watsons Malaysia), free movie tickets (Watsons Thailand), free exclusive gifts and sample boxes (The Perfume Shop in the UK) and beauty workshops and shopping nights (ICI PARIS XL).

The retailer first invested in CRM programmes back in 2010 and more recently has been using Tech Partners to accelerate global digital transformation. The retailer's data analytics has revealed that around two thirds of its customers who qualify for the new program will continue membership in the following year. Retaining these VIP members are key as they spend up to eight times more than average members annually.

Malina Ngai, Group COO of A.S. Watson Group, said, “We appreciate our customers, no matter how much they spend in our stores, and we know they love to feel valued. Our existing loyalty programs reward everyone with great offers, but our VIP programs thank our most loyal customers for shopping with us with amazing benefits and even more tailored rewards.”

Want to know more?

Subscribers can read more on A.S. Watson's Strategic Outlook here.

Take a look inside five of our favourite and most innovative drugstores, which the IGD Asia team have visited on their travels.

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