A.S. Watson reports 47% growth in global online sales

The Hong Kong-based company has revealed huge online growth across all of its global regions and credits the newly formed in-house eLab digital team to the success

A.S. Watson has reported a 47% growth in its online health and beauty sales, thanks to a major investment in its digital division.

In 2014, the retail giant created an in-house digital studio eLab in a bid to attract talent. The company now employs more than 200 people in Hong Kong, London and Milan - with further plans to expand its UK office.

“Whilst retail may not be the usual target for young digital talent to develop their career, once they joined ASW, they were engaged by the energetic and innovative eLab working environment enabling them to bring their talents into full play as well as gain international exposure,” said Malina Ngai, Chief Operating Officer of A.S. Watson Group.

The eLab’s purpose is to improve mobile customer experience, roll out mobile apps, integrate social media, enhance content and expand click and collect services.

A.S. Watson attributes last year’s two million global smartphone app downloads to the new team.

In Asia health and beauty online sales grew by 69% driven by its 48 million loyalty card customers; in Hong Kong (the company’s home country) sales grew by 70%.

Black Friday is credited to European sales growth. Overall online businesses in the region were up 42%, but Black Friday saw sales shoot up by 103% with four orders processed every five seconds.

“We will continue to strive for technological innovation such as product search by image and cognitive computing which are essential to being close to customers and meeting their fast-changing expectations,” said Ngai.

“To stay ahead of the market, we keep harnessing technological developments to create a personalised and pleasurable online shopping experience for customers, and drive seamless integration with the ASW store network.”

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