Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2018 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published.
Here is a Q&A with Takehiko Ono, General Manager, Zozo International Business, which is placed at number 31 in the report for its Zozosuit, which the company made three million of in order to collect body shape data. The company has recently stated that it now has enough data to provide clothing without creating the 3-D models.
1.How did the original idea come about?
The story of the ZOZO brand began more than seven years ago. After nearly 20 years of selling clothing online and building Japan’s largest fashion e-commerce destination, ZOZOTOWN, ZOZO’s founder, Yusaku Maezawa, became passionate about improving the fashion industry’s sizing problem. Committed to finding a solution that would benefit as many consumers as possible, Maezawa began developing the ZOZOSUIT.
2. What has been the level of take-up of the service and what are the key ways retailers are using it?
Three million ZOZOSUITs have already been ordered in Japan since November 2017 and will be shipped out to customers before the initiative shuts down next year. Since the global launch of ZOZO in July 2018, it has been covered by publications such as New York Times Online, Business of Fashion & Reuters and we have already received orders for 15.4 billion yen’s worth of clothing in Japan. ZOZO products will only be available online at www.zozo.com
3. What about competition in this area?
Many companies are working on similar methods of measurement, but as far as we know, we are the only company producing garments which use the measurements of our customers.
4. How has the solution been developed / advanced over time?
The ZOZOSUIT ended up with a full body marker recognition system, which consisted of 300 ～ 400 markers versus the previous one that had a stretchable sensor system. This body measurement suit is powered by new technology that enables precise measurements, by photographing the dot markers that cover the entire suit from a 360 degree angle with your smartphone camera. The improvement enables an even more precise measurement, because it gives a full 3D body image.
In addition, customers can enjoy a new experience of the VUI (Voice User Interface) function, and avoid issues regarding Bluetooth connection or sensor failures. On top of this, there is no need to worry about the battery cutting off – in fact, it’s washable.
5. Have there been any surprises along the way?
We’ve encountered consistent challenges, almost every day, on the way to innovate a new product from scratch. We needed to make difficult decisions under pressure, uncertainty, and complexity. But we all enjoyed the process as a team at the same time because we believed in what we are doing will change the world.
6. What can we expect from Zozosuit in the future?
At the moment we are focusing on bringing a wide variety of apparel outfits through the body measurement data. Committed to realize a size-free world. In addition, ZOZO aims to improve production capabilities, and therefore delivery speed, by producing garments in locations closer to the consumer. We are now at a stage where if we just know your height and weight we can estimate the ideal clothes for you. Customers will no longer actually need a physical Zozo suit.
Going forward, shoppers can input their height, weight, and other basic details, which combined with a database on body sizes, user profiles and product preferences, will let us deliver custom-sized apparel that will be sold under the company’s private clothing brand.
7. Do you have any recommendations for entries in the next Digital Retail Innovations report?
Most of the innovation we have observed is in cost management, but not in the technology that brings value to the end consumer. The focus seems to be operational, and not on the customer.
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