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Superdrug’s parent company plans a major online investment

Friday, September 19, 2014 - 10:14 by Graham Miller

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AS Watson, the firm that owns both Superdrug and The Perfume Store, amongst several other retail brands internationally, has announced that it is going to spend £37 million to help improve the sales it makes via safe shopping online.

Marketing Week reports that it is hoping to boost growth both in the UK and overseas, with the cash being spent on overhauling its e-commerce offerings, so that they are more competitive.

For consumers in Britain, this will manifest itself in the form of a refreshed Superdrug e-commerce site, which for the first time will be entering the smartphone era, as the firm takes steps to optimise it for use in mobile browsers.

The site will also benefit from the integration of richer product details, making it easier to compare and contrast different items. There will even be a barcode scanning function built in, so that mobile users can search for products and buy them online with ease.

For a long time, Superdrug customers welcomed the news that loyalty card capabilities are being combined with the mobile site. Some of the cash may even go into the creation of a standalone smartphone app, although at the moment, there is no firm commitment to this scheme.

A company spokesperson said that in spite of the rise of e-commerce, Superdrug and the other retail brands controlled by AS Watson remain rooted in the world of bricks and mortar shopping, which is why a significant shift in priority is being initiated.

No company can afford to pin all its hopes on the resurgence of the high street, because consumers are too familiar with online shopping to give up their e-commerce habits. But investment in mobile can help retailers to blend these two worlds.