In October 2020, Guardian launched its flagship store at Takashimaya in Singapore, bringing a wide selection of over 8,000 beauty and wellness brands and products in the newly refurbished store spanning over 6,000 square feet.
Following up on the heels of its 48th anniversary in 2020, the reopening underscores Guardian’s commitment to delivering value, quality, and variety to meet the daily needs of Singapore consumers.
Retail in Asia had the pleasure to interview Soren Lauridsen, CEO, Southeast Asia of Guardian Health and Beauty, about the company’s brand positioning and strategies during this time.
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RiA: Why did Guardian decide to open its flagship store now?
Soren: Despite Covid-19 and its impact on the retail scene, this store revamp was necessary for us as we wanted to welcome our customers back to shop and discover offerings that suit their ever- evolving needs.
We have seen changes in customers’ shopping behaviors and preferences during the pandemic and our new flagship store and offerings have been specially curated according to these changes, including wider shopping aisles and a new click-and-collect service where shoppers can simply purchase products online and pick them up at their convenience.
Many of our customers have also become more value-conscious amidst pandemic, and we have dedicated areas that highlight daily essentials at lowered prices every day. This also demonstrates our commitment to our customers in offering best value, range and quality.
RiA: What can shoppers expect from the flagship store?
Soren: On top of wider shopping aisles and the new click-and-collect service, shoppers can also expect the following from the revamped flagship store. With an increasing demand on daily essentials at lowered prices, there is a dedicated zone in the store that highlights these items. Customers can now recognize and get their daily essentials at the best value in our store.
With the growing number of customers looking for sports nutrition and wellness products, the new flagship store will see a refreshed dedicated “Fitness Studio” which features sports nutrition items, and a selection of superfoods. Wellness enhancement brands like ginseng products and dietary supplements from trusted brands like Shinya Koso and global number one brand Cheong Kwan Jang are available in our stores.
The flagship store also carries the widest range of K-beauty in Singapore, supported by our exclusive partnership with Olive Young. As the Number 1 Health and Beauty retailer in Singapore, Guardian has partnered with Olive Young, also the Number 1 Health and Beauty Retailer in Korea to allow local customers to get hold of the latest K-beauty brands right at home.
Guardian is also home to a wide selection of international renowned cosmetic brands from all around the world, including brands like Maybelline, Loreal and Revlon.
Customers can also visit a GP-on demand with the Guardian-MyDoc-Clinic initiative at the store. Customers can now visit a GP virtually in a private room to get their prescription, and purchase their medications directly. They will no longer need to consult a GP in a separate physical clinic before getting medications at our store.
To help shoppers discover new curations, the flagship store features dedicated shelves that highlight top 10 best-sellers in Korean skincare, beauty, hair and health. There are also clear navigation and educational panels which provide information on new and exclusive launches.
RiA: What is Guardian doing to retain shoppers amidst COVID-19?
Soren: With the increasing demand of valued items, we will continue to highlight daily essentials at lowered price. These prices are kept low every day. Customers can spot these value-for-money essentials in our stores that are places in dedicated zones in stores
We will continue to upkeep our precautionary measures in stores so customers can shop with us with ease.
Customers can now speak with our Pharmacists 24/7 for trusted health advice through Guardian-MyDoc App. We have also been crowd-sourcing health questions and providing responses through our social media platforms
Given the government regulation of safe-distancing, we have created virtual events to introduce our new and exclusive launches to our customers, media and influencers. This was done previously in a physical context through physical store activations.
RiA: How is Guardian tapping onto the rise of digital initiatives because of COVID-19?
Soren: As our customers are largely digital natives who expect seamless omni-channel experiences, we at Guardian have made sure that our marketing strategies are focused on our digital and omni-channel presence. We have done this by strongly synergizing our presence across these channels to keep customers engaged and help them shop better and seamlessly in these environments.
In addition to our 114 stores island-wide, we also continue to provide convenience and accessibility to the latest health and beauty products and trends through digital platforms.
To ensure a seamless shopping journey, our digital media campaigns are targeted using customer data. This help us make sure that our ads and deals are targeting the right audience at the right time.
We are on Facebook shops where customers can access our list of products directly from our social media pages. We have also digitalized our product catalogues for ease of online browsing. We have also partnered with top health and beauty brands to roll out a weekly Facebook livestream to introduce new and exclusive products. This livestream sessions cover tutorials and demonstration of the new products.
Partnering with top health and beauty brands to roll out a weekly Facebook livestream that includes live-selling where popular products are sold at never-before discounts and live-exclusive giveaways. We also broadcasted Live masterclasses with Health and Beauty Experts where they share about the latest brands in-store through tutorials, spill health and beauty secrets and emerging beauty and wellness trends
Online discussion with Pharmacists to learn about frequently asked questions on supplements/vitamins and latest health trends
RiA: What is Guardian’s prediction on top beauty and health trends in 2020 and beyond?
Soren: There are three main beauty and health trends that we’ve seen over the past few months and foresee will continue to prevail beyond 2020.
(a) Focus on self-care and wellness
With more people staying home because of the pandemic, self-care has become a trending topic as we all have more time to ourselves. We also see more customers investing in self-care and wellness products.
Our refreshed flagship store will see a renewed focus on fitness in the form of a fitness studio which features sports nutrition items, ginseng products and dietary supplements.
(b) Beauty at home and from around the world
Customers are looking for products that can help them achieve salon-like results even at home. In fact, many of our customers have looked into discovering beauty or DIY-beauty at home – this includes more time to try out a new skincare product or regime and DIY hair colour or salon-type hair treatment.
The global travel ban has also put a halt to many beauty seekers’ travel plans, but they are still actively discovering the latest global beauty brands and trends. At Guardian, we offer consumers a safe physical environment where they can physically look at the latest beauty product before purchasing them.
(c) Healthy Beauty – Beauty inside and out
Customers are more mindful of the beauty products they use. These products should not only help them enhance how they look physically but also nourish their inner-beauty. They believe that looking good means feeling good inside.
They are also more conscious about what they apply on their skin and are more discerning of the ingredient list. We see a trend in customers seeking for products made of natural, organic or even superfood ingredients.