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Hysan Development responds to Covid-19 with O2O revolution, pivotal refocus

As Covid-19 hit East Asia, bringing with it border closures to tourists, shopping centre operators and retailers were forced to rethink their business models, pivoting from prioritising serving tourists to a laser-sharp focus on local communities.

None adapted as quickly as Hysan in Hong Kong’s up-market retail hub Causeway Bay, Hysan has won awards for its digital excellence this year, underscoring a major, sustained digital transformation which has been developed over years in parallel with a strategy of embracing offline to online, and bringing its unique tenant base with it. 

“Since last year, the group’s marketing and customer-experience team has stepped up efforts to drive digital integration and O2O strategic marketing, cementing our leadership in the New Retail era,” said Hysan Development Company Limited’s director of marketing and customer experience, Tiffany Lam. “By actively engaging in digitised activities, we successfully delivered an all-new, award-winning customer experience.”

The company has kept pace with continuous technological advances, generational transition and the new age of retailing, including launching last year its New Retail Reform to drive digital transformation in the Lee Gardens Area and optimise every aspect of its retail and consumption experiences. 

“We were honoured to have won numerous prizes and industry-wide recognition for our efforts.”

The company collected the following awards: 

  • The Markies Awards 2020: Best Use of O2O strategy – Bronze (O2O Seamless Ecosphere in Lee Gardens Area) The Loyalty & Engagement Awards 2020 

Best Loyalty Campaign – Silver

Best Loyalty Program – Lifestyle & Entertainment – Silver

Best Loyalty Program – Retail – Bronze

Best Omni-Channel Strategy – Gold 

Best Omni-Channel Strategy – Silver 

Best Use Of Gamification – Silver

  • The Marketing Events Awards 2020:

Best Use of Social Media – Silver 

Event: Marvel Studio “Avengers: Endgame” Team Up At Lee Gardens Exhibition 

Best Use of Multi Channel – Bronze

Event: Marvel Studio “Avengers: Endgame” Team Up At Lee Gardens Exhibition 

  • Asia – Pacific Stevie Award 2020 for Innovation in Consumer Events – Bronze Stevie winner. (Hysan Development Company, Hong Kong: Lee Gardens: Marvel Studios “Avengers: Endgame” Team Up At Lee Gardens Exhibition)

Unprecedented challenges

Lam said the pandemic has posed “unprecedented challenges” to Hong Kong citizens and the retail and F&B industries alike. 

“As a leading landlord and shopping mall operator, Hysan has continued to enhance its digital retailing technology, responding swiftly to both changes in the retail model during the outbreak and the demands of smart, new-generation customers. By rolling out our e-Shop, we boosted our O2O interaction to create a new customer experience while working hand-in-hand with more than 100 retail brands to help recover the economy,” she continued.

“At the early stage of the pandemic, the group’s shopping centres were the first in Hong Kong to launch an e-Shop to sell merchant e-vouchers, receiving a great response from our customers. Building on that success, we launched more offers, collaborating with HSBC Credit Cards to present our HK$1 e-Shop to thank customers for their support. 

“In order to meet the needs of Hong Kong’s parents and children, the group also launched a series of online education courses and learning materials to encourage continued learning at home while schools were closed. We also worked with OpenRice and Deliveroo to introduce a takeaway pickup and food delivery platform, as well as a scan-to-order service that allows the Lee Gardens Area shoppers to get dining information and place orders with just a few clicks.”

Lam says the e-Shop has proved a huge success for Hysan, its tenants and the shopping public in general, lifting the mood in a challenging time for the territory. 

“The merchant e-vouchers and e-certificates on our e-Shop platform were very well-received, with many selling out in a very short time. They were very effective in generating traffic and business for our shopping centres. For example, our Power Up e-Shop and HK$1 e-Shop sold nearly 100,000 merchant e-vouchers during the promotional period. The Lee Gardens Area and Hysan Place also experienced a noticeable growth in traffic during the extended Mid-Autumn holiday, as  large numbers of couples, friends and families were motivated to use their merchant e-vouchers to shop and dine,” said Lam.

Technology and digital focus

“Moving forward, we will continue to stay abreast of market trends and invest more resources in technology and digital marketing. We will also introduce more themed e-Shops and diversified promotional activities to drive Hong Kong’s local economic recovery and provide customers with a high-quality and innovative new retail experience.”

This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival was another chance for Hysan to shine. “We introduced a Mid-Autumn e-Shop to sell festive products online to respond to our customers’ needs during the festival, once again leveraging online marketing to boost offline spending and expand sales channels for our retail tenants. In addition, we launched our first e-Gift service, giving customers an easy, convenient one-click way to safely send gifts and their best wishes to loved ones, from a distance.”

The Mid-Autumn Festival saw shoppers return in droves to the city’s malls.

With the prevalence of Covid-19 in the Hong Kong community falling rapidly in late September, the Mid-Autumn Festival saw a strong return of shoppers to the city’s malls. Hysan Development’s properties in Causeway Bay proved a hive of activity over the holiday weekend. 

The upset of the Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted consumers across the globe, creating unprecedented challenges for retailers and shopping centre managers alike. But Hysan Development’s innovative pivot and O2O revolution in Hong Kong have been standout examples of what can be achieved with innovative and agile thinking and a rapid-response approach to unprecedented challenges.