Retail in Asia


Watsons launches start-up incubator in China

To support new beauty and skincare brands, Watsons China has established WATsNEW, an online concept store bringing together a selection of start-up brands that have not yet been listed in Watsons physical stores.

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Members can try these brands for free and submit a trial report. Watsons will also invite beauty industry experts to conduct professional reviews. After vetting the brands with customers and experts, Watsons will then decide whether a brand can officially enter the Watsons O+O (Offline plus Online) retail platform.

This new model not only helps start-up brands to save market research costs, it also provides real users and experts’ evaluation. New brands can gain customers’ trust within a short period of time, making it easier to successfully enter the market.

In order to discover the new beauty and skincare brands in the Mainland, Watsons has cooperated with Unilever to select “UniExcubator” high-quality start-up brands to be featured on WATsNEW.

KWAN YEE GOR is one of them. Its product gained popularity with its trendy packaging and sandalwood scent suited to Asian men. After KWAN YEE GOR was launched on WATsNEW, it attracted nearly 40,000 fans, and has targeted a group of male customers who are looking for professional hair care products.

Tony Wang, the founder of KWAN YEE GOR said, “Through the O+O experience given to customers by WATsNEW, we have a new marketing channel, allowing our men’s product brand to reach women who purchase products for their partners. The “Her economy” and “He economy” can bring more possibilities to start- up brands like KWAN YEE GOR.”

YNY Cosmetics is another newcomer to be featured on WATsNEW. Established in 2019, the brand is a trendy makeup brand targeting the Gen Z. Like other start-up brands, YNY Cosmetics needs to carefully allocate resources to launch its popular products at a low cost. After the product landed on WATsNEW, the fashionable, quality and fun makeup products have attracted the attention of more than 40,000 members. A lot of members were willing to try the products and sent their testing reports with authentic reviews.

Camille Yan, the founder of YNY Cosmetics says, “Young brands are a great force to be reckoned with and they need to rely on a powerful O+O platform for incubation. With the help of Watsons WATsNEW, YNY Cosmetics can bring trendy products to all fashion gurus, helping them to get inspired and be creative.”

With the launch of WATsNEW, Watsons is no longer just a retailer, but a channel to help brands expand their business. Watsons finds new ways to connect customers to brands, so that internationally renowned or start up brands can easily find their target customers.

Kulvinder Birring, CEO of Watsons China says, “As new brands continue to emerge, start-up brands must reach out to customers through different channels to stand out. This is what makes Watsons’ O+O model so special. Offline and online platforms are seamlessly integrated to give customers convenience and a great shopping experience. It can also help establish brand awareness and increase sales volume. More and more beauty brands now agree that the O+O retail strategy is the key to success in business growth.”

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Watsons is the leading O+O (Offline plus Online) health and beauty retailer in Asia, currently operating over 8,000 stores and more than 1,500 pharmacies in 15 Asian and European markets.