Earlier this year, the ultimate female consumer trial space opened up in Tokyo: a whole house designed solely for ladies ages 20 to 35 to live in for a month, where they can experience some of the latest innovations targeted at the female market.
The eco-friendly house lets inhabitants get hands-on with some of the latest beauty and health products from six major brands. They can even borrow bikes, take cooking classes or participate in beauty lessons and other activities. In return, the women fill in a daily diary and follow-up forms to provide feedback on the products to the companies and offer quotes to media based on their experiences.
Women can stay in the house for a minimum of two and maximum of four weeks, and each guest can choose the type of apartment room they stay in whilst sharing a main communal area. Staying there isn’t free–two weeks costs around $250, including access to all the facilities– but it is priced far cheaper than a hotel or normal rent prices for an apartment in central Tokyo, where the house is situated.
Focus groups are a tried-and-true method for brands to gather valuable feedback on new products for R&D, but a controlled environment in which people can live for a full month is going a lot further. How impartial guests will be when reviewing products whilst staying under the roof of the Panasonic house is hard to say; however, real third-party generated PR from guests’ tweets and blogs is invaluable. With various brands collaborating in the house, it is also an interesting business model that could be extended and changed depending on the demand.