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Watsons opens 'store of the future' at SM Mall of Asia |

Shopping Guide

Watsons opens 'store of the future' at SM Mall of Asia

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo -
Watsons opens 'store of the future' at SM Mall of Asia
Watsons officials (top) at the ribbon-cutting of the newly re-opened SM MOA store featuring upgrades such as (bottom, from left): virtual assist holograms; Premium Beauty section; Sustainability Zone; and self-checkout counters / Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

MANILA, Philippines — Now, you don’t have to do “pasa-buy” or to ask a friend or a relative who will go abroad to get your favorite beauty or wellness brand for you!

Essentials and the “futuristic” shopping experience that can previously be only found in countries such as Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom are now available in health and personal care store Watsons, which re-opened its SM Mall of Asia (MOA) main mall branch last week with many upgrades and rare finds from all over the world.

The “Watsons 2.0” MOA store is around 900 sq. m., about the same size as the SM North Edsa branch, but with a more visible layout thanks to its oblong orientation, said Jared Ernest De Guzman, Watsons Philippines Customer Director, Marketing.

“North Edsa is still the biggest but this one showcases a lot more, it’s like North Edsa upgraded,” he enthused. “All the past learnings we had in our North Edsa store, we applied it to our Mall of Asia main mall store.”

These upgrades, De Guzman said, include the following:

More shopping area

“Honestly, this is a 1:1 store. This is unique to SM Mall of Asia because of its unique location in MOA. And the size also is very unique because normally, when we open stores, it’s probably one-fourth of this size,” he explained.

International ‘feels’

“So this (store) is designed in collaboration with our colleagues in Hong Kong - our designers in Hong Kong and Manila. So, I would say, this store has an international design language but really catering for the local Filipinos,” he said.

Futuristic holograms

Upon entering the store, customers are greeted by a virtual assistant in Watsons uniform.

“This store has a unique design. And this design you will not see in all of our other stores that we will open. It’s unique to Mall of Asia. One thing that our customers love when they enter the store is the unique shopping experience – when they enter the store, the environment is new. You see there are futuristic holograms inside,” De Guzman said.

For now, the holograms contain canned content, but it could possibly evolve into an Artificial Intelligence in the future, said De Guzman.

“In the future, it could be like ‘Minority Report,’ the holograms can change depending on who enters the store,” he added.

Premium Beauty section

Apart from Watsons’ signature premium skincare lines made in Japan, Thailand and Korea, the MOA store has a skin analyzer, which offers a free service, so one can determine the products that one might need for one’s skincare needs.

This section also contains dermatologist-guided skincare brands and testers so you can see and feel the products’ textures prior to buying.

According to De Guzman, the Premium Beauty section, which carries brands like Dr. Jart+ for which Watsons is the exclusive Philippine distributor, was a hit among many customers of their Greenbelt and Rockwell stores, so they decided to also have it in the MOA main mall branch. He said they look forward to introducing more of this section in their stores in business districts and premium city malls nationwide.

Sustainability Zone

“Another thing that we saw is that people love the Sustainability Zone,” said De Guzman. 

Hence, the MOA store has expanded this zone to include four areas: 

  • Clean Beauty contains products “free from 20 harmful ingredients including parabens, etc.”
  • Refill Station where one can refill one’s Naturals by Watsons container or buy refill packs
  • The Sustainable area features products made of sustainably-sourced ingredients like palm oil
  • Better Packaging area, which showcases products made of recycled or recyclable packaging


The store has over a thousand products, including food and promos that entail savings. 

Its pharmacy, specifically, contains around 3,500 SKUs (stock keeping units), including both branded and generic medicines, vitamins and food supplements. It also offers free consultations.

More self-checkout counters

From only one counter in SM North Edsa, the MOA main mall branch boasts of three terminals. 

To use, simply scan your Watsons Member QR code or swipe your Watsons Card then scan the items and proceed with cashless payment. Paper bags are available for one’s purchased items. Although the counters can also be used by non-members, having membership includes a lot of perks such as exclusive access to events such as the upcoming Watsons Playlist in August, featuring the country’s top Pinoy pop (P-pop) acts.

Click & Collect

Shop online and pick it up at the store at your own convenience, with orders available in 30 minutes or delivered to your doorstep.

The brand has 1,200 stores nationwide, but it is also available anywhere via its own mobile application, thus the “Online + Offline (O+O) Strategy” is key as to why Watsons is “doing well as a business,” said De Guzman.

“For us, it’s really complementary to each other. There are things that you really cannot do without a physical store environment, and there are things that you will (accomplish) if there’s online, (especially) for very busy moms or those who have a lot to do in the office… But if I really want to spoil myself, try new products, indulge, I would go to the store… both online and offline complement each other in a seamless fashion,” he explained in an interview with 

“It only goes to show that our Filipino customers, when we give them a fantastic shopping experience, we give them brands that they’re looking for, and new brands that they can try, and giving them not only traditional healthcare as we know it, pharmacy, but giving them lifestyle and wellness, they go to the store.”

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