Tux rentals go digital with an assist from former Men’s Wearhouse chief
Men’s Wearhouse founder George Zimmer’s newest venture, Generation Tux, launched at the beginning of September to update the business of renting tuxedos for the digital consumer — no trips to the store necessary.
Zimmer (who was ousted as executive officer of Men’s Wearhouse in 2013) said of the tux-renting business: “every aspect of this hallmark tradition can be drastically improved.”
Generation Tux offers free shipping for tuxedo rentals, video tutorials for at-home fittings, and highly involved customer service by way of a team of concierges. But the Generation Tux team believes that the GenTux Studio, its “Mix-and-Match” visualizer tool, is what will give men the confidence to shop online for even the most important of events, weddings, which is the bulk of the company’s business.
Powered by Web development firm Fluid, the Mix-and-Match tool lets online shoppers visualize a final product by putting together the complete tuxedo — including shirt, vest, pants, jacket, tie, shoes and accessories — using high-definition imagery. According to Fluid, the product images are rendered in “photorealistic quality.” Each product, tagged with a price and description, can be added to a finished look, resulting in millions of potential combinations. Look books are provided by the site for guidance.
“We saw that the entire tux-rental model had the opportunity to be totally rebooted,” said Matt Schow, Generation Tux’s evp of e-commerce and marketing. “People who had experience in the offline space saw a need to create a better experience, holistically.”
When creating the Mix-and-Match tool for Generation Tux, the Fluid team pushed the product “to a place where it hadn’t gone before,” according to Schow.
“We had a strong vision,” he said. “What’s out there is not very realistic, and our customers are in the process of trying to visualize the most important day of their lives. Realism was an absolute mandate.”
Since its launch a little over a month ago, Generation Tux has found that the time spent on the visualizer page is 3.5 times higher than the average page on the site, and that 90 percent of orders placed had been created using the tool. Schow added, without being able to identify specific data, that the site’s conversion rate was 10 times higher than the average e-commerce site’s.
The migration from the likes of Men’s Wearhouse, a legacy brand with 1,200 locations, to an online rental store represents how much digital efficiency can influence shoppers’ tendencies. Schow said that today, the in-store experience is too time consuming, usually involving three trips (to get fitted, pick up, then return) for groomsmen and more for the groom. He also said that online, customers have the benefit of full price clarity, which sometimes is hidden in stores, as well as a diminished emphasis on the upsell, improving the overall experience.
“We really wanted to let the customer have total control, and be able to do all of their research and own decision making from home,” Schow said.
Generation Tux is premiering during a time when more companies and retailers are suiting up for a more style-conscientious modern man. A 2015 survey done by Bronto Software found that men were reportedly more likely to shop online once a week more than women (30 percent of men compared to 18 percent of women), and virtual wardrobe and styling tools for men like Cloth and Trunk Club have seen success in catering to millennial male shoppers. However, Schow said that Generation Tux’s initial customer is the bride.
“The bride is usually the one doing the research and then consulting with the groom,” he said. “The secondary customer is actually the groom.”
Schow said that he thinks the tool has so far played out this way because of the very sensitive subject — wedding days — Generation Tux is dealing in. Any visual planning that happens online has to be done with care.
“We haven’t screwed up anyone’s wedding yet,” Schow said.
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