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Monday, October 29, 2007

Taking Bathrooms To The Next Level - Kohler

Peace and serenity originally uploaded by frisamusic.
Today, in honor of Bathroom Blogfest 2007, I address 'taking bathrooms to the next level', starting with Kohler.

For perspective: our coveted woman consumer, ever more sophisticated, is stressed as she juggles more in less time. How to alleviate the stress? Increasingly, via relaxing and luxurious spa environments, that she looks to recreate in her home. As her standards rise dramatically, she expects better bathroom experiences where ever and whenever she goes to spend money. Men aren't far behind.

Bathrooms are fast evolving beyond basics to the next level. Retailers: be warned!

In June 2007, I attended a Neocon seminar titled "Hospitality Influences Residential Bathroom Design" during which Lynn Shrage and Jean Kolb from Kohler shared knowledge and perspective on bathrooms.

The seminar description read:

"Making guests feel at home has long been a strategy of the hospitality industry. The spa industry is rapidly translating individualized spa offerings into new treatments. Consumers look to ... incorporate these features into their homes."

In other words, hospitality bathrooms influence residential ones. Take that to the next level, and rather that say 'bathroom' consider living bath or sanctuary for the senses. Hmmmm.

I hadn't realized that Kohler had such a presence in hospitality. Did you? They have two serious properties where they do considerable experimentation as you can see from Destination Kohler: A Kohler experience in Kohler, Michigan and St. Andrews, Scotland.

Some stats [pay careful attention to the last points]:
+ one in four American adults has visited a spa [this includes day spas [79%], resorts & hotels [9%] and other]
+ the spa industry is the 4th largest leisure industry in the United States with 13,757 facilities generating $9.7 billion in annual revenue
+ Spa goers are 69% women; 31% men [men are starting to get 'it']
+ 20 million people visit spas per year and 51% only started going in the past 5 years!
+ Generations: Millennials 11%, Gen X 41%, Boomers 38%, Mature 10%
+ 3 out of 4 consumers report a need to find balance in their lives, actively seeking well-designed, easy-to-understand products that help to nurture and restore
+ Consumers value control/simplicity, balance/nature, customization/escape which translate into efficient, accessible spaces using technology and innovative design.

[Note that flooring choices, including carpet, definitely play a role in creating a nurturing and restorative home environment. Do you address these trends with your customer? Note, too, that the simpler and more soothing your store environment, the more your shoppers will appreciate you over your competition. Don't forget to feast the senses!]

Trends in residential bath design include anything that promotes a "sanctuary for the senses" to soothe, invigorate and connect with the senses. They appeal to the values of control, simplicity, balance, nature, escape and customization through some of these examples:

+ indigenous products and settings
+ concealed technology
+ gender specific
+ customized experiences
+ healthy/sleep
+ greening [mindful of treatments, products, materials]
+ medical spas
+ lifestyle spa communities [e.g., spadominiums like Chicago's Canyon Ranch condo]
+ fusion mind/body/spirit
+ efficiency [everything within reach vs. spread out]
+ simplicity

To highlight the relevance of this spa trend - or taking bathrooms to the next level - consider this 06/13/2007 article from The Dallas Morning News titled Many stores now offer spa services. Can you guess which stores are mentioned? How about Whole Foods, JC Penney, Coldwater Creek, the airport and the car wash.

Not only do ladiesrooms matter, but they are rapidly evolving to the next level and becoming havens of relaxation.

Have you seen the most recent Bathroom Blogfest posts?
+ From Experieceology: Bathroom Blogfest starts today
+ From PurpleWren, two contributions: Let the '07 Bathroom Blogfest Begin! and
+ Review: Restrooms in Des Moines
+ Curious Shopper asks that you take a poll in Where it counts.

Participating in the 2007 Bathroom Blogfest are:

Kate Rutter—Adaptive Path
Laurence Helene Borel—Blog Till You Drop
Iris Shreve Garrott—checking out and checking in
Susan Abbott—Customer Experience Crossroads
Maria Palma—Customers Are Always
Becky Carroll—Customers Rock!
Toby Bloomberg—Diva Marketing
Stephanie Weaver—Experienceology
Linda Tischler—Fast Company Now
C.B. Whittemore—Flooring the Consumer
Ed Pell—K+B DeltaVee
Helene Blowers—Library Bytes
Claudia Schiepers—Life and its little pleasures
Katie Clark—Practical Katie
Sandra Renshaw—Purple Wren
Reshma Anand—Qualitative Research
Marianna Hayes—Results Revolution
Carolyn Townes—Spirit Women
Sara Cantor—The Curious Shopper
Anna Farmery—The Engaging Brand
Dee McCrorey—The Ultimate Corporate Entrepreneur
Katia S. Adams—Transcultural

October is National Kitchen & Bath Month!

Don't forget to check the Bathroom Blogfest group site.

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