With over 14,900 stores in 25 markets, A.S. Watson is the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer. In hope of scouting suitable data analytics consultants for its Data Lab, ThinkCol and A.S. Watson (ASW) organized Hong Kong’s first ever retail-themed big data hackathon. ASW provided the 16 competing groups gigabytes of ASW real operating data to come up with retail-related solutions for the company.
A.S. Watson recognizes the importance of adopting a data-first strategy to understand and anticipate customer needs. Participants were challenged to find innovative solutions on four main themes – analysing health patterns to create the most business value, improving product availability to capture market opportunities, evaluating pricing strategies and looking at different areas in the business to aid customer personalization.
The Hackathon cultivated talent and injected new blood for ASW Data Team through exposure to real-world business scenarios. From utilizing collaborative filtering logic to providing optimal discounts, the Hackathon unleashed the power of artificial intelligence in an unconventional industry, revolutionising how people think of the retail sector. The champion of the Hackathon integrated weather, search keyword, product information to provide personalized product recommendations. The Hackathon also emboldened local start-up communities, data scientists and data engineers to bring creative ideas to life and fully utilize the capabilities of machine learning to provide solutions and derive insights, so that retailers like A.S. Watson can operate smarter and faster.