Combining a Scientific Innovation and a Digital Customer Experience to Solve Skincare’s Delivery Problem
The well-known yet widely ignored truth about skincare products is that while the active ingredients in most skincare products work, around 90 percent of the ointments, oils and serums consumers apply to their skin are either wiped away, sweat off, or degrade before those active ingredients can achieve anything.
It’s not all bad news — after all, this poor rate of absorption means the skin is performing its job of protecting the body from foreign substances quite well. But, it also means that while global consumers spent $140 billion on skincare products in 2019, most of those products produced little in terms of results. The only alternative used to be an expensive afternoon of painful injections and procedures with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, an especially fraught option in the time of COVID-19.
Droplette, a U.S. technology company and L+R client, is building a product that combines a cutting-edge, medical-grade delivery system with a look, feel and high-end customer experience familiar to the luxury market. Here’s a sneak peak at the product that is poised to disrupt the industry when it launches later this year.
A Cutting-Edge Transdermal Delivery System
When Droplette founders Madhavi Gavini and Rathi Srinivas developed the technology behind their namesake product in 2015, their minds were on medicine, not skincare.
Topical applications of steroids and antibiotics are common in the medical field. Like most skincare products, they are also relatively ineffective. The cutting-edge transdermal delivery system Gavini and Srinivas designed generates sub-micron droplets of topical treatments — 100x smaller than the width of a human hair — and turns them into a high-velocity mist, allowing ingredients 10000X larger than topical treatments to be delivered effectively into the skin without causing pain or irritation.
While working on developing this technology for gene therapy and wound care, we began thinking about applications for the over-the-counter world of skincare.
Gavini and Srinivas’s consumer-facing product combines the luxury engineering of Dyson with the elegant simplicity of a Nespresso machine. Users insert a capsule filled with active ingredients into the small, battery-powered device. Droplette’s capsules will include an anti-aging serum with retinol & arbutin, a hydrating solution with collagen and peptides, and a brightening/resurfacing product with glycolic acid, all capable of producing clinical-level results at home.
Dr. Leonard Miller, a renowned cosmetic surgeon who pioneered microneedling in the U.S., shared his excitement “to be involved in something that answers the need to get active molecules into the skin, in order to get a better effect, faster.”
Adding the Luxury CX
However revolutionary Droplette’s delivery system, Gavini and Srinivas understand luxury consumers are unlikely to be swayed by a product that feels clinical — they need to deliver the high-end customer experience to which luxury consumers are accustomed.
In addition to the high-end look and feel of the product itself, Droplette worked aggressively to craft a digital experience that embodies luxury values. From the moment customers first interact with Droplette via social media, its website or digital advertising to the first time they engage with the device, customers are guided through a carefully crafted user experience designed to help them adopt Droplette as part of their skincare routine.
Although the design of the device is intuitive enough to use by itself, Droplette’s connected app can help users understand and optimize their usage, visually track their progress over time using a photo journal feature, access personalized educational content and connect directly with a dermatologist.
“Our unique device is painless and portable,” Srinivas said. “Combined with an elevated, customer-focused digital experience built for the high-end beauty market, we believe that ultimately it’s efficacy enables it to revolutionize the beauty industry.”
Science, Technology and Luxury
Although a formal launch date has not been made public, the Droplette team has mentioned that the device will hit the market with a substantial waiting list in the fall of this year, at which point the rest of the luxury skincare industry will be playing catch-up.
More than a revolutionary skincare product for the luxury market, Droplette is an outstanding case study of how companies can apply the innovation and craftsmanship with which they create their physical products to the digital experience. In doing so, companies can create the kind of seamless user experience that resonates with luxury consumers, encourages adoption and has the potential to disrupt huge segments of the marketplace.