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How Junoco’s refill system led to a 32% increase in repeat purchases

Skincare brand Junoco is building out a suite of skincare products that would allow people to reuse the same jar for multiple products.

Junoco developed a refillable packaging three months ago that lets people buy refill pods for some of its products like its cleansing balm, body butter and buffing butter, instead of an entirely new jar every time they run out of products. Thanks to the refill system, the brand quickly saw customer repeat purchases climb 32% from November to January. Junoco said it plans to have 20 refill-friendly products within two years.

CEO Kyle Jiang founded Junoco in 2018 with the idea of offering transparent formulations and an innovative approach to sustainability. Jiang said the company had been working on its refill system since 2021 with the goal of reducing packaging waste when people replenish their products. The company currently has 10 SKUs, three of which incorporate the refill system.

“Sustainability has always been the core of the business, from the ingredient sourcing to the packaging,” Jiang said. “After we saw the success of our cleansing balm, we really think that people are coming back to buy more and more.”

Its original cleansing balm went TikTok viral in 2021 after influencers like Mikayla Nogueira and Roger Ma featured the product on their pages. Jiang said the product gained a loyal following with people buying three to four jars a year. With its new refillable system, Junoco expects to grow its revenue by 30% this year. 

Junoco’s refill system took two years of research and development with over 50 prototypes. The refill pods are fully recyclable and they help save 78% of plastic from the original packaging. The jar and refill pods have a durable lock and unlock system, which Jiang claims can be used over 5,000 times without any problems.

The company’s products are sold on its website, Amazon and Target. However, its refill pods are only available on its website. Junoco has also raised a total of $6.3 million in funding. 

By offering refill pods, customers can replenish their skincare products for a cheaper price. For example, a new jar of the cleansing balm cost $23 but the cleansing balm refill pod is only $15. Junoco’s refill system uses one jar for multiple products, so any refill pod can fit in any jar. On its website, Junoco shows how customers can pop a new pod into their existing jars, and lock it in to secure it.

Jiang said the refill system is not only environmentally friendly but also cost-efficient. “We’ll be looking at saving plastic usage and also like manufacturing usage,” he said. “We do think that after customers [buy] one or two jars, they will continue to buy pods from us.” 

Refill systems like that of Junoco’s help improve profit margins because they encourage customers to purchase directly on the brand’s website, said Calla Murphy, vp of digital strategy and integrated marketing at Belardi Wong. The high retention rate also helps brands minimize the cost of constantly acquiring new customers.

In recent years, there has been growing interest in refillable solutions. For example, hair care brand OurX, which offers refill pouches, said it costs less to ship refills because it takes up less space. However, some people have yet to warm up to the concept of refills in beauty and wellness. Murphy said that educating people about how the refill system works is a common hurdle for brands.

“While it definitely aligns with consumer values around sustainability, you still are forcing a change in behavior,” Murphy said. “We typically are all used to tossing containers after you use them.”

To educate people about its refill system, Junoco has started investing in content such as videos and photos. Jiang said the company has updated its website to include content explaining how the system works. Junoco also used social media to spread awareness about its refillable products. Junoco has a combined 350 million views on Instagram and YouTube.

The company plans to add new products to its refill system in the coming months, one of which is its existing cleansing powder. Additionally, the company said it is looking at new retail partnerships for growth.

“I think exploring potential retail partnerships can help us to tell the story even better,” Jiang said. But, he added “for now, we are focusing on our online experience.”