AS Watson introduces Asian cross-border membership scheme for Watsons

The loyalty scheme targets regional customers who travel frequently within Asia

Hong Kong-based retail group AS Watson has created a cross-border loyalty membership scheme called Watsons One Pass, allowing customers to claim discounts and other benefits when shopping in select locations for the chain across Asia.

The new scheme is designed to accommodate Watsons customers in cross-border settings. “Watsons operates in many popular travel destinations worldwide, and our customers also tell us that they would like to shop in Watsons overseas,” said chief operating officer Malina Ngai, adding that it was logical for the loyalty scheme to go international.

AS Watson will first introduce the One Pass scheme to members in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau region, also known as the Greater Bay Area. The retailer claims to count eight million Watsons members in the Greater Bay Area alone, and over 90 million members worldwide. 

The One Pass will initially launch in more than 660 Watsons stores in 11 cities throughout the Greater Bay Area, before rolling out to Asian markets including Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia.

AS Watson pointed to a recent cross-border shopping survey from its customer panel Wise that polled 14,000 consumers across seven Asian regions, showing that the average customer traveled 1.7 times to neighboring countries in Asia each year. According to the survey, Hong Kong consumers made an average of 2.2 regional trips each year, ranking second in the region after Singaporean residents who traveled an average of 2.7 times annually.

Singaporean residents were also the most likely to travel to other Asian regions each year, with 91% of respondents saying they did so in 2018. 89% of Hong Kong residents traveled to other Asian destinations last year.

The Wise survey also claims that consumers in mainland China, Indonesia and Thailand prefer skincare and cosmetics products when shopping in cross-border settings, while customers in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan showed a preference for personal-care products.

 The group operates some 15,000 stores in 25 markets worldwide, under 12 retail brands including Watsons.