If selling audio and video is “all about the demo,” then so is selling high-end massage chairs. One 10-minute session in the chair will make any customer a believer.
I am not talking about the vibrating 25-cent chair at the county fair, but the $8,490 Luraco Technologies iRobotics7 medical massage chair that made its debut at CEDIA 2016.
The i7 features more than 100 airbags designed to hit acupressure points on the body, technology designed to capture the therapeutic value of massage, and a smartphone-like touchscreen remote.
Other features include five different user settings, five levels of intensity, a human voice response system in seven different languages, and optional heart-rate and blood-pressure monitors.
The chair is also UL listed for power safety, CE listed in Europe, and is registered with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as a durable medical good. That means doctors can actually write prescriptions to patients advising them to sit in the chair. It also paves the way for insurance companies to pay for the chair for those in need. (Though that hasn’t happened yet.)
Luraco has a long history in other markets, including making seats for the U.S. government, including those for Blackhawk and Apache helicopters, and manufacturing specialized seats for the manicure/pedicure industry with innovations such as an air extractor to move away the nail polish fumes. In all, Luraco has 13 patents with eight more in review.
Now, the company is bringing that innovation to massage chairs and it is specifically targeting the custom installation space as resellers. Luraco, which is run by brothers Tom and Dr. Kevin Le, both of whom are engineers that started looking at this market six years ago.
The first-generation product called the i5 hit the market back in January 2015. Later came the i6, which is now reaching the end of its product lifecycle. The i7 was first shown at CES 2016.
“The smartphone-style touchscreen remote is a key differentiator,” says Robyn Readicker, national sales and marketing manager of the Arlington, Texas-based firm. The touchscreen remote looks just like an iPhone with icon-based “apps” in the display.
“It is totally different from the bubble-button remotes that integrators have seen on other massage chairs. Our chairs are for individuals who have discretionary income and want to buy the best,” adds Readicker.
$8,490 MAP with High Dealer Margin
The $8,490 MAP is also good news for integrators looking for high-margin peripherals to sell. Turnaround time from order to delivery is only seven to 10 days.
Readicker says the response at CEDIA 2016 was “very favorable.” She noted that several CE pros mentioned the chairs would be a great addition to their showrooms for use by the female head of household during sales appointments when she is bored by all the “technology talk” about the A/V gear.
Readicker says Luraco is sometimes referred to as the “TESLA” of the luxury massage chair market “because we are hard to find,” she admits. That is what the company hopes to change by working through the custom installation channel. Luraco is using inside sales reps to sell direct to dealers.