Toto Case Study

Topics: Toilets in Japan, Toilet, Plumbing Pages: 4 (1182 words) Published: November 7, 2011
Dear Sako,

After reading your report, I understand your frustration and I have outlined my analysis on why the Washlets success in Japan is not replicated here in the US * Difference in consumer culture and behavior

* The Japanese are more receptive to new technology and are more willing to try gadgets, as evidenced by the innovation and adoption of many unconventional items all over Japan. The washlet was probably viewed as a fashionable trend in Japan, with people adopting it to be “trendy”. The Washlet is something very different from what Americans are used to and it is very difficult to get consumers to change their consumption habits. The Washlet required the user to stay for a longer period of time in the restroom because of the 3-5 minute drying time. From what I have observed, it is doubtful that Americans are willing to spend an additional 3-5 minutes on the toilet, especially in a culture where everybody is constantly on the move. Advertising with a billboard in Times Square was a big mistake as New York is the epitome of the “rush” that is associated with big cities. * Also, bathroom habits are a highly personal thing. Japanese viewed toilets as electronic products, which differs from how Americans viewed it. Toilet is probably in itself a category of its own and having a conversation along the lines of “Say, have you tried the new toilet that also rinses for you?” Can lead to incredibly awkward and uncomfortable conversations. This greatly diminished the effect of word-of-mouth recommendations in the US as compared to Japan. * Difference in distribution

* In Japan, plumbers had a personal relationship with consumers, hence they were able to influence consumer’s bathroom/toilet purchases. TOTO offer the plumbers incentives, such as free Washlet installations in plumber’s home and chances to win trips to hot springs, for plumbers to promote the washlets to customers. However, in the US, most plumbers do not enjoy a...
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