Watsons, the flagship health and beauty brand of A.S. Watson Group, has partnered with Tencent-owned WeChat Work to introduce Watsons China’s WeChat Work platform and plan to first launch Cloud-based Stores (Cloud Stores) in Q1. Watsons China is operating 3,800 stores with over 65 million loyal members. The launch of WeChat Work and Cloud Stores enables Watsons China to provide personalised service and round-the-clock shopping experience to customers.
Kulvinder Birring, CEO of Watsons China says, “Watsons China is delighted to introduce the WeChat Work and Cloud Stores to our customers. To retain our over 65 million loyal members as well as appeal to new customers, we have to be at the cutting edge of retailing, and find a way to stay close with them. With big data technology, these social commerce platforms add another dimension to our relationship with customers, enabling us to connect and interact with them, and ultimately become the most-loved brand of our customers.”
Hau Lu, Senior Industry Director of WeChat Work says, “We’ve been working very closely with Watsons. Combining the advantages of both parties, we will further cooperate and jointly search for more business opportunities.” Looking ahead, Tencent and Watsons China will continue to stay at the forefront of innovation and retail technology, providing personalised service to meet customer needs in a unique approach.
Serving Customers One-to-One
Friendly and knowledgeable store staff play a vital role in building a close, trusting relationship between a retailer and its customers, but such human connection is confined to interactions within a physical store. The new Watsons China’s WeChat Work platform is a groundbreaking communication channel in which customers can add store staff as WeChat friends, who then become their personal beauty consultants. Customers can seek for advice from store staff at any time, from anywhere, and enjoy one-to-one customer service. If a product is not available from a customer’s nearest branch, store staff can help to order the item in the Cloud Store system. Customers can also choose to have their order delivered through courier, “Click & Collect” or the “1-Hour Flash Delivery” service.
Ellen Shen, Store Manager of Wanda Plaza Watsons Store in ZhengZhou, said, “WeChat Work helps us nurture a closer relationship with our customers. They can now contact us any time for personalised service and advice. We’re glad to be able to earn their trust and become their friends. Since its launch, we’ve received very positive response from customers who have added us as friends to enjoy this one-to-one service.”
AI Empowers Personalised Shopping Experience
Customer expectation is constantly increasing, and they expect now that retail brands should connect closely with them and truly understand their needs. Not only the products and offers, they also care about the overall shopping experience.
A.S. Watson’s continuous investment in big data and AI technology enables store staff to better understand every customer they are serving, including their preferences and shopping behaviour. If a customer regularly buys a particular haircare product, for instance, the system will send an automatic reminder to the store staff to notify the customer tailor-made discounts on products we know they will love. The system can also alert customers when Watsons events linked to their preferences are coming up. This self-developed technology enables Watsons to offer highly personalised service, which contributes to the kind of excellence in shopping experience that discerning shoppers increasingly expect.
To make shopping even more fun, particularly for younger customers, Watsons China has also introduced an AI chatbot, called “Wilson”, who is a virtual spokesperson available 24/7 via WeChat Work. He can provide customers with professional and personalised advice, providing an entertaining and useful addition to the shopping experience.
Shopping Made Easy & Fast
Watsons China plans to first launch its Cloud Stores on WeChat Work platform in Q1. Each of its 3,800 stores will have a corresponding Cloud Store which enables customers to shop not just from their nearest store but also from across the entire Watsons China network, and choose the delivery service they prefer. The potential of this social commerce model is huge, enabling Watsons China to provide a highly personalised service to its over 65 million followers on social media.