Posts Tagged ‘toilets’

2009 in Review

January 6, 2010

Ooops, I’m a little later this year with my reflections on 2009 as a blogger (last year I managed to do it on New Years Day – oh well, better late than never).

I can tell you that I post exactly 100 times (but 42 of those were in the first 3 months), and that there were just over 14,300 visits to the site. January and December were the two busiest months, with about 2000 visits each. The busiest day was Dec 2 when this post got over 200 clicks.

The most popular posts from 2009 were:

#1 Can Aldi beat Wal-Mart?

#2 A juicy tale of international expansion (about Boost Juice)

and very strangely, one about toilets at #3 Toto, we’re not in Tokyo anymore…

The aforementioned Dec 2 post Why don’t more producers sell on-line? came in at #4 (and thus has the highest average visitors per day).

#5 confirms a retailing bias with Capabilities do matter (about Zara, Ikea & H&M)

And the post from 2008 asked is there Too much Wii in this Blue Ocean? still attracts loads of readers.

Thank you to all who have visited, commented, argued and critiqued. I relish the engagement and the challenge. Here’s to a great 2010…


Toto, we’re not in Tokyo anymore…

July 30, 2009

A neat international business story caught my eye in this week’s Economist. It draws our attention to the efforts of Japanese toilet technology leader Toto and their efforts to convince international markets of the merits of wiz-bang toilets that do a lot more than flush.

japanese toiletThese guys are at the cutting edge of the water-spurting, control-padded, programmable, intelligent toilets that amuse and confuse visitors to Japan. They are taking the big gamble that there is sufficient audience for such costly gizmos in the West (and other Asian markets, especially Japan).

As the article points out, the world of plumbing regulations (especially in Europe) is almost enough to kill this straight away. We shouldn’t forget that electronics companies have overcome such differences with relative ease (although their impediments may not have been quite so idiosyncratic and location-specific).

japanese toilet toto neorestThe bigger question is the scope to change the behaviour of potential customers in that most private of domestic settings. As any traveller knows there is enormous variation in lavatory layouts, protocols and the like from country to country and culture to culture.

Clearly this will only be a niche market for many years. A strategy of increasing product awareness (and hopefully cache) via placement in prominent public spots should generate some noise (I presume they’re talking restaurants, hotels, conference centres etc). I look forward to encountering one somewhere some time soon (let’s hope they are easier to use than some other electronic products).