Skin-care cleansing devices can be intimidating. They aren’t in jars, bottles and tubes. They have batteries and chords. They pulsate. They’re covered in bristles or nubs. And they’re often expensive.
Foreo is trying to break through consumer trepidation with Luna Play, a downsized version of its prevailing options that at only $39 doesn’t require a big investment for those contemplating adding facial appliances to their skin-care routines. After a test run at 30 Sephora locations starting in August, Luna Play is rolling out to all doors on Nov. 7, and it’s also entered Nordstrom, Ulta Beauty and Space NK.
“We have been very successful with our core products, but one area of opportunity is getting our technology and innovation into the hands of more people,” said Foreo president Justin Wang. “We are the first device company to come up with a trial version so people can learn about the technology and experience it for themselves before taking the plunge into a long-term solution from us.”
Luna Play a fraction of the cost of Foreo’s best-selling Luna 2 and Luna Mini 2 devices, but delivers similar dirt- and oil-removing capabilities. The motors in each of the three devices fire 8,000 transdermal sonic pulsations per minute. Luna Play is designed to last one to two months or 100 uses, while the Luna 2 and the Luna Mini 2 boast 10-year quality guarantees.
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With skin-care devices still a tiny fraction of the skin-care segment, Foreo has yet to saturate the bathrooms of its target Millennial beauty shoppers, and Wang sees Luna Play as a way to engage them. “We have always done well with Millennials and the digital generation because our DNA is digital 100 percent. This gives us a stronger foothold with that Millennial population for someone who is just getting into devices,” he said. “It’s a competitive advantage for us.”
Wang acknowledged Foreo and retailers had concerns that the launch of Luna Play would hurt sales of the brand’s pricier offerings, but said those concerns have been allayed by early results. “When we launched the Mini in the U.S. back to 2014, there was some initial skepticism. Any time you are innovating in the space, you are going to have potential pushback. But we are moving past that and I think it is one of our hero [stockkeeping units],” Wang said. “The test [at Sephora] has been extremely successful. It flew off the shelves.”
As intended, Wang pointed out Luna Play has had a halo effect on Foreo’s performance across its range. “We see an overall lift for the brand, including full-size products like the Luna 2 or Luna Mini 2 in the doors where we are selling the Play,” he revealed. “What we find is two scenarios post purchase — some people trade up and some come back to purchase another Play. People think the Play is super travel-friendly, and they might use it for travel and invest in a Luna Mini 2 or Luna 2 to use at home.”
Although Foreo’s products have been available exclusively at prestige retailers in the U.S. since the Swedish brand’s debut in this country, the introduction of a relatively inexpensive item such as Luna Play raises questions about whether Foreo would entertain going into mass-market retail. Wang didn’t rule it out. “I can’t really say whether that’s something in our future,” he said, elaborating, “Our partners have been extremely good to us, but we see ourselves being able to offer something different for different people. We like to break paradigms and to really think outside the box and that includes distribution. The key is we do think consumers are shopping more omnichannel today.”