“Washlets are just as essential to the bathroom as the shower”

Bathroom wholesaler Birk markets the TOTO Washlet as a wellness product

Illuminated bathtub in an exhibition

Bathtub with lighting in an exhibition

Modern bathroom with WASHLET™ and vanity on white base

Stephan Küchenberg is confident: “In future, Washlets will be as common a feature in bathrooms as high-end showers are today.” The owner of Birk GmbH, a wholesale supplier of bathroom furnishings and fixtures based in Nürtingen, Germany, is referring to Washlets from TOTO. He has dedicated special areas to this specific product in order to convince customers and craftsmen alike – and now features Washlets in his customer bathrooms.

“We are at the very beginning in selling warm water cleansing toilets so far, as these are fairly new to the German market – but customers who have Washlets at home are very impressed and do not want to live without it,” says Küchenberg. Sales representatives have also started to discuss Washlets and the associated intimacy openly with their customers. The bathroom specialist explains: “By eliminating the associations with health issues and aging, the taboo is gone. We clearly market the TOTO Washlet in the sphere of wellness, comfort and well-being.”

Benefits of the Washlet immediately obvious
Today, people of all ages are interested in the topic of wellness – especially when it comes to bathroom furnishings. One example is the growing trend in high-end showers and whirlpools, which can easily cost several thousand euros. Salespeople have little trouble convincing consumers to buy these products. Similarly, many automobile manufacturers were able to successfully integrate a number of comfort features into their cars in just a few years that no driver would want to do without today – like air conditioning. “The added value of the Washlet is immediately obvious to the buyer. The integrated bidet-function increases the personal well-being significantly. Once this becomes clear to customers, they tell themselves: It’s worth it to me, it’s a different quality of life. Only then do they ask how much it costs,” explains Küchenberg.

Washlets are part of the wellness experience
This is why bathroom experts also recommend that craftsmen also emphasise the factors of comfort and wellness to their customers. When it comes to TOTO products, however, the technologies integrated in the Washlet are just as important, because they are the reason why comfort is enhanced. The “Designed Technology” offered by the Japanese manufacturer offers functions like Tornado Flush, the especially effective and quiet three-jet flush system only available from TOTO. With the CeFIONtect glaze and rimless design, germs and dirt do not stand a chance. “It is truly extraordinary how TOTO managed to hide such intelligent technology in a designer product,” says Küchenberg. He considers the TOTO Washlet to be more than just an alternative to the conventional toilet – but an integral part of a wellness-inspired bathroom, which costs about 20,000-30,000 Euros.

“We rely on TOTO as an experienced partner”
Many craftsmen have now heard of the Washlet product, and Küchenberg wants to ensure that his wholesale business can give them the confidence they need to sell and install it professionally: “Craftsmen can count on us – we have experience with the product and rely on TOTO as a very experienced partner. After all, the Japanese company is considered the inventor of the Washlet and has installed them in over half of all private residences in its domestic market in the last 25 years.” TOTO has sold over 28 million Washlets worldwide. “This shows that TOTO’s Washlets are far beyond the prototype phase. They are the most technically sophisticated warm water cleansing toilets on the market, and offer a number of practical functionalities that consumers here are not yet familiar with”, explains Küchenberg.

Neorest Series easy to use
According to the bathroom expert, the design of the TOTO integrated Washlet is yet another winning point: “The design is very minimalistic and very beautiful from an aesthetic standpoint. The Neorest Series/SE and Neorest Series/LE are very functional units that hold a surprising amount of technology.” In addition, the easy to handle aluminium remote control does not have a high-tech look. Küchenberg: “Unlike other manufacturers, there is no display or alternate action buttons, which makes TOTO Washlets relatively easy to use.” Installing a TOTO integrated Washlet is also fairly simple for craftsmen. “Many bathroom furnishings are more complicated to build and install,” explains Küchenberg. Thanks to TOTO’s collaboration with TECE, a German housing technology provider, no one is required to work with Japanese standards. TECE developed an installation module and concealed flushing tank to make the Neorest technology compatible European flushing systems. An upgrade kit is also available for all other TOTO Washlets.

Customer bathrooms equipped with Washlets for first-hand experience
In order to show craftsmen and customers the benefits of Washlets first hand, Birk GmbH has created a separate information area for warm water cleansing toilets in its 5,000m2 bathroom and tile section at its main headquarters in Nürtingen. People can find all of the information they need on the products right here. Küchenberg: “We stage the product under the overarching theme of “Pure wellness”. The idea is for customers to become aware of the topic and benefits after going through the showroom – not by talking to the salesperson.” He has also equipped many of the 100 finished showroom bathrooms in Nürtingen with TOTO Washlets. “We want to show that the Washlet belongs in a modern bathroom,” says Küchenberg. He also installed them in the customer bathrooms to give people a chance to try them out before buying.

Birk GmbH is expanding this sales concept in its new competence centre for construction, renovation, living and interior design, the “Salone No 4” in Lindau am Bodensee. The centre is planned to open next spring. Küchenberg: “By installing Washlets throughout the centre, customers and craftsmen will find using them to be completely normal.”