Pushing the right buttons: Kao relaunches navel care product amid high demand and market gap

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Kao has relaunched its patented belly button cleansing product after collecting consumer feedback and recognising market demand. ©Kao
Kao has relaunched its patented belly button cleansing product after collecting consumer feedback and recognising market demand. ©Kao

Related tags Kao Japan Navel care

Japanese cosmetics giant Kao has relaunched its patented belly button cleansing product that claims to address the needs of those with navel shapes that are susceptible to dirt accumulation and odour.

SPOT JELLY belly button cleaner was re-packaged and officially launched on June 12, following a gathering of feedback and consideration of market needs.

During its limited-time release​ in April 2021, the product topped Japanese e-commerce marketplace Rakuten’s daily ranking chart and sold out in 13 days.

In order to expand distribution of the product, we analysed and collected customer feedback from Rakuten reviews, social networking services, and post-purchase surveys. We received many comments on how satisfied consumers were with SPOT JELLY for solving their navel care problems, as well as many requests for a relaunch.

“We also assessed the market size based on survey results. After several rounds of evaluation, we decided that there is suitable demand for it,” ​Yuki Sasanami from Kao’s Life Care Business department told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​.

According to Sasanami, the product has been patented, and is the only of its kind in the Japan market at the moment.

SPOT JELLY was developed by Kao’s open innovation platform Funtech Lab & Biz, whose focus is on addressing the “deep concerns” of individuals and inconveniences faced by minorities.

In a survey comprising participants aged between 15 and 35 years, approximately 90% said that they take care of their belly button. However, about 80% were not satisfied with their existing navel care methods.

These methods include “wiping with a cotton swab” and “washing with body soap”.

The repackaged product is currently available on Rakuten, and will soon be sold on Amazon Japan.

It is specially catered for people who are concerned about navel odour and dirt, before going to the beach, pool or sauna, as well as those who do body makeup or dancing, and who wear navel-exposing clothing and cosplay costumes.

Shape not an issue

Using technology that Kao has cultivated over the years, SPOT JELLY removes dirt, stains and odour by pouring a jelly-like liquid into the navel.

Each pack of SPOT JELLY comes with two sets of “jelly potion” and navel sticker.

Its ingredients are inspired by materials used in dental treatment for taking tooth moulds, including bis-vinyl dimethicone, silylated silica, and tocopherol.

The product is able to act on each individual’s navel shape, which is categorised into three main types — V-shaped, I-shaped, and U-shaped.

In particular, V-shaped and I-shaped belly buttons tend to accumulate dirt and odour in them, so regular cleaning is recommended.

The shape of the navel can make it difficult to care for. Among the consumer feedback, wereceived comments such as ‘I like the refreshing feeling when removing the hardened pack’, ‘Navel refugees have been waiting for this kind of product’, and ‘I want to use it when my belly button smells”.

“Through this product, we will contribute to improving customer satisfaction and resolving concerns about navel care,” ​said Sasanami.

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