A.S. Watson Benelux Video Case Study

Watch this customer case study video where AS Watson Benelux describes why they chose MangoApps.

A.S. Watson Benelux, a large European retail chain with over 1,700 stores and 27,000 employees, realized that they needed to update their internal communication processes to better connect with their young and on-the-go retail employees.

A.S. Watson Benelux implemented MangoApps instead of other enterprise softwares for its mobile-friendly platform, customizability, and comprehensive toolset that addressed all of its needs.

In this video, you will learn how A.S. Watson Benelux used MangoApps to:

  1. Engage and empower a young, dynamic workforce
  2. Increase the level of communication & recognition among store clerks, managers, and corporate employees
  3. Establish a culture of interconnectedness among all facets of the organization

Full video transcript:

Jan Carel Uylenberg, HR Director:

“So A.S. Watson Banner looks, as we call ourselves, is the mother company of four different brands. So we are health and beauty retailers as well as luxury retailers, and we’re active in four different countries. We have about 1700 stores in the Benelux and we employ over 27,000 people. The average age is about 25 years old. So we wanted to provide them with a far more attractive and modern way of communicating. So we wanted to provide our employees the same experience as, for instance, Facebook or WhatsApp provides them, but in a more secure environment.”

Jan Kees Fokkens, Social Intranet Project Manager:

“In a regular office organization, you have, you’re all in one building. You have Outlook, you can find each other. But in stores, employees did not have a way to find other employees outside their own store. Sometimes they met them in a district meeting or at training, but they did not know their colleagues.”

Jan Carel Uylenberg, HR Director:

“So we provided an intensive tender and we talked to both mainstream suppliers, so the largest surprise as well as niche suppliers. And in the end, MangoApps gave us the best balance between, as you may say, quality and quantity. So they offered a very comprehensive suite of applications at a very competitive rate.”

Jan Kees Fokkens, Social Intranet Project Manager:

“Because we have our specific organization with almost 25,000 users, we wanted to make sure that everybody would get, or almost everybody would get a platform that they would be able to use and that they would love to use. So we had a very extensive list of requirements and then we went into an equally extensive vendor selection process and the extensive platform that the MangoApps is, the completeness of the MangoApps suite compared with competitive pricing basically meant that only one platform was left. So the final choice was an easy one.”

Jan Carel Uylenberg, HR Director:

“Our communication has changed dramatically. So our previous communication was a one-way communication and it was mainly in written, in writing and it is now far more interactive. So obviously everybody can see the information on their mobile devices, mainly on their phones, and we use quite a lot of vlogs. So pictures, it’s far more visual and therefore, it’s far more attractive.”

Vera Scherff, Store Manager:

“I like the fact that in a big company, an app like Watsonline makes it for me more personal because as a store manager, you are mainly focused on your own shop and now you are able to see other shops and other store managers, what they are doing. And so, it makes this big company feel more personal and smaller to me.”

Jan Carel Uylenberg, HR Director:

“As you may call it, a killer app to us is the fact that we offer employees their working schedule online. So every employee, 24/7 on a mobile device, when they’re on their way to the store can actually look at their schedules to make sure what the planogram for that day is like and that is the absolute number one for our employees. Well, I use it absolutely quite often. So at least once a day. I’m part of quite a lot of groups, as you can imagine in my role as an HR director. So I look at the news and I look 99.9% of the time, I look at what’s online via my telephone. So if via my mobile device, hardly ever use it at my desktop. And for me, it gives me a perfect sense of what’s going on in our business. What the emotion is, what’s the trending topic, if you may call it like that.”

Vera Scherff, Store Manager:

“For instance, a few weeks ago with Christmas, I arranged the Christmas lunch and I posted a picture of it from our colleagues on Watsonline and I got all the reactions from all of the country like, oh, happy holidays. And yeah, that gives good energy.”

Jan Kees Fokkens, Social Intranet Project Manager:

“So what you see is that it’s really an employee-to-employee, peer-to-peer sharing platform. It’s not a top-down sharing platform, it’s mostly peer-to-peer. Think about 16,000 employees within Kruidvat. It varies a little bit with the season and they all use their mobile app. That’s it. They hardly ever use the web browser.”

Jan Carel Uylenberg, HR Director:

“I think the way in which people can actually provide feedback, instant feedback to what they see and what they experience on Watsonline is absolutely fantastic. So it provides our employees within the stores the possibility of actually giving their feedback on things that they see. So I’ll give you an example. One of our colleagues from the supply chain posted a little vlog about [inaudible 00:05:38] that they were doing in the warehouse where they wrap with plastic the pallets that we send to the stores. One of the colleagues in the store saw that and instantly gave feedback in terms of if you’re wrapping the pallet, could you please wrap it on top also, because every now and then pallets stand outside and it prevents them from being wet if it rains.”

Vera Scherff, Store Manager:

“I see inspiring things or new things to me, or I see questions that can be answered and that’s what I like because I always get inspired or I always get something that’s very handy for me or I have a good laugh about something funny. So that’s one thing that changed work for me. And the second thing is that my colleagues can see their schedule whenever and wherever they want. So they don’t have to contact me anymore. Before Watsonline, they sometimes call me or send a message to me with any questions and I don’t have to do that anymore. So it saves me a lot of time.”

Jan Kees Fokkens, Social Intranet Project Manager:

“Advantage is that I can check what’s happening anywhere within the company at any time. So I get a feel for what’s happening there.”

Marjolijn Scholmes, Manager of Internal Comms:

“But also sharing successes, celebrating our successes. I think that’s also important for A.S. Watson to exchange company pride to show the employees what we are as a company.”

Jan Carel Uylenberg, HR Director:

“It’s about a year ago now, for me. So I guess the fact that I don’t recall that March is more or less the answer to your question. So it works very intuitively. I’d almost say it’s more or less like you using WhatsApp or you using Facebook. So yeah, it’s quite easy. It only took a couple of minutes.”

Vera Scherff, Store Manager:

“When I first opened Watsonline, I immediately saw the purple taps on the bottom of the screen and they make navigation very easy. So it was not hard. I did not need an explanation.”

Jan Kees Fokkens, Social Intranet Project Manager:

“Our first launch was already 16,000 people, the entire Kruidvat organization. So we used the existing cascade, which means that you first have an area meeting where the area managers have a chance to become familiar with the platform. Then we use them in a trainer way to tell it to their district managers, who can tell it to the store managers. And the store managers have their own in-store meetings where they rolled it out, where they presented it to their employees. Because it was so intuitive, they created their accounts even before, just before the meeting with their store manager and they were sharing information even without having to check the reference cards.”

Jan Carel Uylenberg, HR Director:

“We started the rollout with Kruidvat in the Netherlands, which is the big chunk if you may say so, of our organization, and that worked quite well. So about 80, 85% of the people quite instantly started using Watsonline.”

Jan Kees Fokkens, Social Intranet Project Manager:

“It’s not just a tool, it’s a changing way of communication. It’s a culture change, a culture shift if you wish. There’s not just top-down communication, but there’s communication everywhere. People had to adjust to that. And they took to it like wildfire. They loved it. If I look at the interaction that’s happening now on Watsonline on MangoApps, it’s huge. It’s better than I expected.”

Jan Carel Uylenberg, HR Director:

“I’m very happy with it. I guess it works very intuitively, so people just use it as if they are using any other social application. It doesn’t need a big manual in order to find your way through.”

Vera Scherff, Store Manager:

“So I’m very glad that A.S. Watson has Watsonline now. Like I said before, I feel like this big company is getting a little bit smaller and more personal to me now, so I like it very much.”

Jan Kees Fokkens, Social Intranet Project Manager:

“It’s great. I am not a fan of offshoring, so I had some hesitation when I heard that the technical team was in India, but the support is, I couldn’t improve it. I really like it. No, I’m very happy with the flexibility and the way they react and the quickness of their reactions.”

Marjolijn Scholmes, Manager of Internal Comms:

“I think the support from the MangoApps team is great. Reaction time on my questions is very little, so I get a really quick response when I’m asking something.”

Jan Kees Fokkens, Social Intranet Project Manager:

“It was a tough decision because A.S. Watson is used to doing things, building their own applications, and hosting them on site. For me, as a project manager, it was important to have it in the cloud because I think the support that you get, the upgrades, and the new features are much easier implemented when you host in a shared hosting environment than when you have it on site. The impact on your IT team is much less. And just as with most major organizations and the IT team within A.S. Watson has a very busy schedule. So for me, having a cloud-hosted environment was one less worry.”

Jan Carel Uylenberg, HR Director:

“Well, I’d say that they definitely need to implement a way of communicating like MangoApps Watsonline is providing to us. I guess, in this era where everything is visual, everything is, everything that you have inside is outside and vice versa, where you absolutely need to do what you say and say what you do. I guess a modern, interactive, attractive way of communicating is absolutely mandatory, you’d almost say.”

Vera Scherff, Store Manager:

“I will definitely recommend them to use this. Yes.”

Marjolijn Scholmes, Manager of Internal Comms:

“Well, I would tell them that MangoApps is a nice company to work with, that the tool itself is very user-friendly.”

Jan Kees Fokkens, Social Intranet Project Manager:

“The advantage of MangoApps is that the functionality is there. With a lot of suppliers, you can create the functionality, but you have to be pretty clear on how you want to create the functionality, and this is plug and play.”

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