VISIA and Reveal are designed for the face, but many locations also use the systems to photograph the backs of hands or forearms—prominent aging or sunlight-affected areas. DermScope is mobile andcan be used to take photos of any exposed part of the skin.
This technology and approach to customer consultation was pioneered by Procter & Gamble in the late 1990s. And Procter & Gamble did a variety of tests and published data that showed this was not only an effective consultation device but had accurate measurement and methodology. We introduced this to a broader marketplace in 2003; so it’s been on the market for upwards of eight years. Medical and topical skincare products and medical device studies have been conducted with the system many times over. And many articles in peer-reviewed medical journals talk about the results of these tests. So we feel the use by the medical community has verified the validity ofthe use of these machines.
The system provides a set of scores and helps position the scores in terms of their severity. It’s up to the retailer or brand to identify and recommend the particular product that makes the most sense. So if the customer is concerned about visible spots or sun damage, the adviser would recommend something to reduce that. It does require some knowledge of the skincare lines to better match up the products to the concern.
Some of the brands that use our systems are SK-II, Olay, Elemis and Murad. VISIA has been available for eight years; Reveal, two years; and DermScope for one year. Now, we have close to 5,000 of these systems installed worldwide.
With the systems and analysis, people get very excited about the opportunity to improve their skin and receive better insights to their problems—and they’re more likely to talk about their experience at a particular store with their friends and peers; so a big benefit is word of mouth. Moreover, these systems provide an opportunity to do special events that can be promoted, advertised and used to create additional and incremental excitement for a brand or department that can be leveraged into more traffic on a periodic basis.
These machines also help improve loyalty to a brand or store, with improved analysis giving people more objective information. In today’s marketplace, people are more sophisticated, savvy and comfortable with technology. They’ve come to expect [these things—more upscale, sophisticated tools. People are more open to the fact that skin analysis can be useful as opposed to being put off by it.