21 October 2014

Guardian Health & Beauty launches interactive e-commerce portal

Guardian Health & BeautySingapore’s most established health and beauty chain, has just launched a US$1.3 million e-commerce portal for health and beauty that not only offers the entire range available at the Guardian stores, but also curated content, and virtual healthcare consultations.

Source: Guardian website.

Said Sarah Boyd, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Guardian Health & Beauty: "Singapore is the first to debut such a comprehensive e-commerce site across the Guardian Health & Beauty network in Asia. Our decision was motivated by the fact that consumers here are avid digital shoppers and are increasingly turning to online resources for their health and beauty needs."

"People are expecting to find products online. We're making sure we're present where our customers expect us to be present, especially for health and beauty," she added, noting that Google data in 2014 shows consumers in Singapore run an average of 11 million health and beauty searches monthly, including 2 million searches for vitamins and supplements alone.

“Singaporeans take a very proactive approach to their health. The per capita spend on vitamins and supplements is higher in Singapore than in any other country in the world. Our vision for the portal is to be a one-stop holistic content and services solution that caters to urban living with a host of convenient services and novel features."

The portal, www.guardian.com.sg, marks the first time that a large-scale health and beauty retailer in Singapore is offering short virtual health consultations through an exclusive partnership with MyDoc, an online health consultation platform. Time-pressed Singapore consumers are now able to schedule online appointments and have their health concerns attended to by experienced doctors and Guardian pharmacists over an online chat or video call. Personal health diaries with secure logins allow users to track their health histories and facilitate follow-ups.

Visitors to the portal can also enjoy:

· Access to over 500 different well-known health and beauty brands and over 3,000 different products, complemented by curated content in the form of health and wellness tips and advice regularly contributed by Guardian’s pool of pharmacists.

· Door-to-door delivery services for orders, with the option of choosing a preferred delivery date and one of four delivery time slots, including two evening slots – a first for the health and beauty sector in Singapore. Alternatively, purchases can be picked up at almost all of Guardian’s 148 stores island-wide, excluding the airside stores at Changi Airport.

· ‘Live’ customer service chats are available from Monday to Saturday between 9.30am to 6pm, and offer a convenient channel for public feedback and enquiries. The company notes that the service is a rarity even with other local online retailers.

“Our new e-commerce push is part of Guardian's ongoing efforts to evolve and rebrand – this is the start of a new journey and we will continue to stay responsive and adapt to the fast-changing health and beauty needs of consumers in Singapore,” added Boyd.

Providing additional perspective on the online health consultation service, MyDoc Co-founder Dr Snehal Patel said that the growth in digital and social media has fuelled the demand for quick and accessible medical advice. He shared a McKinsey study that said 75% of respondents from Singapore, UK and Germany would like to use digital healthcare services*.

“MyDoc uses the explosion in social media and Internet technology to help bring people closer to their health providers. No longer do people have to delay seeking advice because their busy lives make it difficult to schedule a visit to their clinic. 

"By making access to care easier and more seamless, people can benefit from more consistent management of their health conditions which have been shown to prevent painful and expensive hospitalisations. The partnership with Guardian is a natural fit for our service – just as Guardian is making purchasing healthcare items effortless, we are making obtaining advice easier than ever. We are excited to be part of this new push for truly personalised care,” said Dr Patel.

Guardian’s commitment to online retailing is underscored by its partnership with digital consultancy and educational institution Hyper Island, which acted as a consultant during the 18-month planning and development process. “Guardian’s platform changes the game and bridges the gap in the health and beauty landscape through several features and innovations not seen in any other health and beauty portal in Singapore,” said Hyper Island Co-founder and Academic Director Professor Jonathan Briggs.