MILAN — “We sell the dream but we also have to sell the service.”
From this premise, Edoardo Zegna, chief marketing, digital and sustainability officer of the Italian menswear powerhouse, enthusiastically unveiled the new Zegna X digital customization tool aimed at raising the bar of luxury service, after two years of perfecting it.
“The idea of a salesperson sitting in a store waiting for customers is obsolete,” Zegna observed in his first solo interview, noting that the Italian menswear company was operating an omnichannel platform way before COVID-19 struck. “We enable our style advisers to speak and reach customers in an organized way, based on their history, when they bought what, in what size, where and why they didn’t buy something.”
With Zegna X, the company is “adding a new layer,” incorporating its outreach app, which accounts for almost 45 percent of the brand’s global full-price retail revenues.
This service has empowered Zegna’s style advisers to serve the one-to-one needs of customers by allowing them to send images of its products via SMS, email, social media, WhatsApp and WeChat. “From omnichannel we are going one-on-one.”
He explained that “data showed that any single customer that uses this outreach one-to-one system spends 80 percent more than customers in stores — 40 percent by frequency and 40 percent from the average ticket.”
In 2022, Zegna worked with AI predictive systems, which helped gather information by the end of the year on “who and when to contact, on what.” This is allowing the company in 2023 to “not only offer images but to create whatever style is more appropriate to the taste of the client.”
Zegna X will bridge the gap between physical stores and digital channels, through an innovative technology with a 3D style configurator that addresses the specific personal requirements of clients — from cut and color, to styling, measurements, and materials.
The focus is on Zegna’s made to measure, which already represents 10 percent of global sales, applied to the brand’s luxury leisurewear collection, including shoes, in response to the market’s needs, said the executive.
“Technology is a luxury when it makes your life easier,” he continued. “At Zegna we see digital as something way bigger than a mere sales channel and Zegna X will allow to further grow our reach.”
Developed in collaboration with technology partner Shin Software, Zegna X will present more than 2,300 products that can be personalized. At first, 49 billion potential combinations of clothes and styles can be custom made and delivered worldwide in less than four weeks.
Starting Thursday, the brand’s 1,000 style advisers around the world will be able to contact their customers and suggest the best styling options based on their individual tastes and requirements through Zegna X.
The 3D configurator will be unveiled on a maxi screen at Zegna’s Via Montenapoleone store in Milan during the international furniture and design trade show Salone del Mobile in April, to be followed by a launch across the brand’s key global stores.
Tailoring will be launched by the end of this year. In a two-way exchange, by 2024 consumers will be enabled to customize any look of the collection via Zegna.com on their personal devices.
“This is the highest level of one-to-one service,” enthused Zegna. “Our made-to-measure is our Formula 1 and it’s ready to race. I want this to become our X factor and it’s an amazing opportunity to expand our made-to-measure. We’ve only just scratched the surface.”
Zegna touted the technology involved in the 3D configurator, and, to be sure, the grain of the Triple Stitch sneakers or the cashmere softness of a padded jacket are strikingly realistic.
“This is modern clienteling, it’s the future and there’s no going back,” he said.
Revenues for the Zegna segment, which includes Zegna-branded products as well as the textile and third-party brands product lines, last year reached sales of 1.17 billion euros, up 13.7 percent compared with 2021. The brand is part of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, which is publicly listed in New York and also comprises the Thom Browne label, and is led by chairman and chief executive officer Gildo Zegna, Edoardo Zegna’s father.
Prior to his current role at the company, Edoardo Zegna was appointed head of content and innovation and omnichannel at the group in 2014.
Artistic director Alessandro Sartori has been spearheading a new course for the Zegna brand since January 2021, acknowledging that traditional formalwear had run its course.
To change Zegna’s aesthetic to respond to the need for more comfort while staying stylish, he introduced luxury leisurewear, the new suit, keeping the high quality and craftsmanship of the storied company.