Online tuxedo rental services, while convenient for ordering, don’t often provide the necessary tools to match the in-store experience. In general, apparel can be a difficult category to visualize and curate effectively online because browsers can’t just pick and try on different items to get a greater idea of what they want to purchase.
Enter Generation Tux, a tuxedo rental service established by George Zimmer, the founder of Men’s Wearhouse. The service, which is designed to enable consumers to purchase their tuxedos online without having to enter a store, also grants consumers access to Zimmer’s other recent startup endeavor, on-demand tailor network Ztailors.
“We have experience with the category in the offline model — the way it works, all the way from how customers are acquired, how they go in and rent a tuxedo, how the product is fulfilled and how they pick it up,” said Matt Schow, EVP of eCommerce and Marketing of Generation Tux. “When we looked at the entirety of the category experience, we realized that the entire model is ripe for a reboot.”
All available tuxedos and suits cost a $95 flat rate, while an entire outfit that includes a shirt, shoes, a tie and cufflinks can cost $150. Every order from the site ships free and wrinkle-free, allowing customers to wear the outfit right out of the box.
Generation Tux partnered with e-Commerce personalization platform provide Fluid to help set itself apart from other tuxedo rental services . Specifically, Generation Tux plans to leverage Fluid’s Visual Mix & Match solution. With Visual Mix & Match, Generation Tux created the GenTux Studio, an outfit builder tool that allows customers to design, assemble, visualize and order customized tuxedos with combinations created from hundreds of individual items such as jackets, ties, cufflinks, shoes and pocket squares.
As the consumer assembles their ideal tuxedo, they can visualize the creation in real time so they know what their purchase will look like when they wear it out. In fact, more than 50% of interactions on the Generation Tux site occur through the visualizer.
“Believability is at the heart of the whole experience,” Schow said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “I didn’t want it to be a graphic experience or a colorized experience. I wanted it to feel like you are in a boutique with a professional who is assembling your outfit as you check out different ties, jackets and shirts.”
Building The Perfect User Experience
When Schow met with the Fluid team to conceive the GenTux Studio, both sides were able to collaborate on ideas for the experience. One such idea was the method of photography used to display the products, in which Generation Tux captured their entire catalog of products on busts. A window with full lighting sits on the left side of each photo to intentionally cast light on the product from a certain angle, while creating shadows that could make the product stand out.
“That shadowcasting creates a very in-situation sense of realism,” Schow noted. “If the suits were all photographed flat, which most experiences tend to do, they will look flat on the screen. The shadows add dimension, which the entire process was about in the first place. We had to go back in later and add transparency layer shadows that mimic exactly where the real shadowcast was when the product was actually photographed. When you layer the product on top of one another, the shadowing looks real.”
Upon Schow’s request, the Fluid team also embedded a tiny fishbowl video into the studio’s “bust view” and a moving fan into its “laydown view” to create lifelike moving elements in what was otherwise an area full of still photos. After selecting products in either view, they can share the curation on their social media pages.
“From what I’ve seen to date, people have primarily thought of a visualizer as a sales tool and a brand interaction tool,” Schow stated. “It helps them sell product, but in the future, it won’t be just a sales tool, but a content creation tool as well. When you enable the tool to create content in the form of an interesting, visualized product experience, and then to be able to share that and make it interesting enough for the consumer to share that, it creates a link back to your brand, which becomes even more useful in the age of social media.”