AS Watson allies with Rubikloud in big data

International health and beauty retailer AS Watson Group has formed a partnership with Toronto-based Rubikloud as part of its investment in big-data capabilities.
AS Watson will invest about HK$540 million (US$70 million) in big data in the next three years to further enhance customer experience and business efficiencies using machine learning and data visualisation.
With seed-round funding led by Horizon Ventures, Rubikloud is the investment arm of Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing. Over the next three years, AS Watson will partner with Rubikloud to deploy RubiCore, the company’s data enterprise platform built for easier use of artificial-intelligence applications, as well as two of its machine-learning applications, namely Promotion Manager and Lifecycle Manager, in AS Watson’s network of 13,300 retail stores across 25 Asian and European markets.
The AS Watson-Rubikloud partnership began in Europe in 2015. In just 10 months, Rubikloud’s machine-learning application Lifecycle Manager generated incremental sales from direct-to-customer CRM campaigns by more than 8 per cent.
Rubikloud’s RubiCore will rapidly integrate many legacy databases from across AS Watson business units and sources into a single, elastic cloud-enabled database. This is expected to shorten the roll-out time of machine learning-tools by 50 to 80 per cent. This is expected to allow AS Watson’s retail brands to provide the right offers to the right customers, enabling customer-centric and optimised marketing promotions.
“We believe technology is a critical enabler for successful retailing in today’s world,” says AS Watson COO Malina Ngai. “With the right technology we will be able to focus our resources – from the backend support to shop floor – on building better customer experience.”

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