Health and beauty retailer AS Watson is to invest an additional US$115 million in technology to accelerate digital transformation and delivery of the O+O (Offline plus Online) platform strategy.
According to the company, the investment will be used for heaving up resources in its in-house ‘e-Lab’ and ‘TechLab’, while further building machine learning, AI, big data and retail technology.
“We are mindful that digital transformation is not just about how much investment we put in technology or how many more digital devices we put in the stores,” said Manila Ngai, group COO of AS Watson Group and CEO of AS Watson Asia and Europe.
“It is also about a genuine revolution in the organisation culture – the way we think, the way we work, and the way we communicate and serve our customers.”
The investment comes after the brand expanded its ‘TechLab’ experience centre in Shenzhen, alongside its existing centre in the Netherlands. The centre features shopping technology such as unmanned stores, smart shelves, interactive games and facial recognition.
“Retail is evolving very quickly. What took a decade to develop in the past would now happen in two years,” Ngai added.
“Therefore, we need to build agility in the organisation, and to empower our people with data insights in real-time, cloud-based dashboards is key to fast and smart decision making. O+O continues to be AS Watson’s core strategy and technology is the critical engine for future growth.”
The Hong Kong-based retailer is serving more than 5.5 billion customers via its O+O platforms.