Zozo ditches Body-Measuring Suit, saying no longer needed

By guest author Yuji Nakamura from Bloomberg

  • Company has enough data to create custom clothes without suit
  • Dropping Zozosuit will save company 3 billion yen in costs

Japanese online clothing retailer Zozo Inc. is scrapping its body-measuring Zozosuit, saying that it now has enough data to produce custom-sized clothes for customers without creating 3-D models.

Each ZOZOSUIT has more than 350 white dots, each of which is unique. These dots serve as fiducial markers, which are essential to our measuring process.

The polka-dot spandex suit will be scrapped by March, Chief Executive Officer Yusaku Maezawa said in a surprise announcement in Tokyo on Wednesday, following the company’s quarterly results. Zozo will ship 3 million Zozosuits before shutting down the initiative, compared with its previous forecast for 6 million to 10 million units. That will result in cost savings of about JPY 3 billion yen (USD 26.5 million) in the fiscal year through March, he said.

“We are at a stage where if we just know your height and weight, we can estimate the ideal clothes for you,” Maezawa explained. “You will no longer need a Zozosuit at all.”

The shares of Zozo fell as much as 5.8 % before rallying in early Tokyo trade of October 31, 2018. The stock was up 3.5 % at 2,815 yen at 9:16 a.m. Zozo is now down about 40 % since mid-July, when it began distributing the Zozosuit and using it to sell its new brand of custom-made clothes.

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 Zozo deliver custom-sized apparel that will be sold under the company’s private clothing brand. “We have enough data,” he said. “Machine learning is an incredibly potent tool.”

The Zozosuit has become a phenomenon in Japan, with social media full of pictures of people trying on the garb. The company said it received orders for JPY 15.4 billion worth of clothes from Zozosuit users since distribution began a few months ago. It has fulfilled just a third of that due to bottlenecks in production and quality issues. These will be fixed before the end of the year, Maezawa said.