Free Subscription

  • Access 15 free news articles each month


Try one month for $4
  • Unlimited access to news,insights and opinions
  • Quarterly and weekly magazines
  • Independent research reports and forecasts
  • Quarterly webinars with industry experts
  • Q&A with retail leaders
  • Career advice
  • 10% discount on events

AS Watson speeds up digital transformation

Health and beauty retailer AS Watson (ASW) has launched a Technology Partnership Programme as part of a move to speed up its digital transformation globally.

The program brings together a wide range of international technology providers and recognises them as strategic partners rather than suppliers, explained Malina Ngai, group COO of ASW.

“We believe every technology partner whom we have chosen to work with is more than just a vendor. Traditional client-vendor relationship is short-term. There is lack of transparency and continuity in the way we work with each other. Besides, project base contract makes it difficult for their resource planning.

“The partnership program is designed to transform the short term contractual relationship to a longer term strategic relationship to create a win-win for both parties. Our tech partners will have access to senior management, visibility on our growth strategy and technology roadmap, as well as a longer term financial commitment from us. We can benefit from their commitment in providing consistent resources, expert advice and services, as well as first hand access to innovation they develop,” said Ngai.

ASW, which has more than 15,000 stores globally, embarked on its digital transformation journey in 2011 when it introduces its Customer Strategy initiative. The company invested US$70 million initially, dedicated to CRM, eCommerce and mobile experience.

It subsequently established eLab in 2015, an in-house digital agency focusing on supporting all operating businesses to develop e-commerce and digital marketing.  This year, ASW kicked off a further $70 million investment in big data to build new capabilities in analytics and machine learning.

“The goal of our digital transformation is to enable AS Watson Group to build on our solid retail foundation to fuel further growth through a smarter and more efficient organisation,” said Ngai.

“Our purpose of putting customer first and putting a smile on their faces continues. We recognise that our customers are changing rapidly and technology has become an ever more critical ingredient to deliver our purpose.”

The first batch of tech partners comprises expertise in the areas of e-commerce, store systems, data science, AI, data visualisation, technology ecosystem and services.

The partners include Microsoft, Epam, Ovolab, Rubikloud, Mtel, Infosys, NCR, Zebra Technologies, SAP and Oracle.

You have 7 free articles.