The Benetton Group

Fashion forward with iPad.

Benetton is internationally known for its lively fashions and memorable ad campaigns. From the company's headquarters near Venice to the farthest reaches of the fashionable world, Benetton requires reliable, easy-to-use mobile technology that transcends all boundaries of culture and geography. So naturally, they chose iPad.

With a network of 6,000 stores in 120 countries, the Benetton Group — which includes the casual United Colors of Benetton line, the high-style Sisley label, and leisurewear brand Playlife — produces 160 million garments every year. With this amount of production in the works, this fashion giant relies on iPad to better communicate and stay connected.

"When iPad came out, the company was quick to see the device's potential, and decided to adopt it immediately," says Aldo Chiaradia, Benetton's Chief Information Technology Officer. "The ease of use, the attention to detail — these are things you don't see in other devices. Today, our entire sales force and all of our C-level executives and managers use iPad."

iPad makes it simple for Benetton employees to stay connected regardless of their location. "They have Mail, Calendar, Contacts," says Sylvia Re, IT Service Manager. "They have all the documents and information they need traveling around the world. And the information flows in an encrypted and secure way."

Transforming Sales

For Benetton's sales team, iPad changes everything. Before iPad, the company distributed printed catalogs to its sales staff four times per year, 15 days before the launch of each collection. Besides being bulky, expensive, and time-consuming to produce, the hardcopy catalogs couldn't be altered to reflect last-minute design revisions or changes in inventory. And since the printed images couldn't show all the details, Benetton representatives also carried samples of each garment — about 15 pounds (6.8 kilos) of clothing — on sales calls.

Now, Benetton creates a custom iPad catalog app that gives sales staff a lightweight, lightning-fast visual interface and streamlines the entire sales process. Salespeople can quickly navigate through the collections and zoom in on garments for a more detailed view. Products are displayed with complete color accuracy on iPad, and the catalog content can be updated in seconds to reflect changes. As a result, the company saves 60 days per year in preparing its sales materials and is able to adapt instantly to changes.

"With the video resolution and calibrated colors on iPad, we can instantly display things that used to be much harder to show," Chiaradia explains. "People can see and share details of our collection at a speed that would have been unthinkable before."

Another in-house app that Benetton designed for retailers illustrates how the company's clothing can best be placed in stores. "It shows ways to display the collection, and lets you navigate through in 3D," says Re.

In addition to providing valuable business resources on the go, Benetton's iPad apps keep proprietary information secure. "On iPad we have encryption, security, and authentication," says Re. "The applications won't work if the user is not authenticated." Users can easily download and update apps via an in-house app center, she notes: "They can see the versions right in the iPad browser, and just click an icon to download an app."

The Apple iOS SDK includes all the essential resources for easy in-house app development. "We found that it's very easy to write apps and integrate them into our other systems," Chiaradia says.

True Colors on iPad

Color means the world to Benetton — it’s a key component of the company's five-decade international success, a language everyone understands. And with iPad, the company can show its truest, most vivid colors to colleagues and customers around the globe, whether it's corporate communications, images of the latest designs, or retail display materials.

"iPad is a driver for the company to modernize and still maintain its fundamental values," Chiaradia says. "Basically it's a device that allows Benetton to grow."

"We used to think of iPad as a device from the future," Re adds, "but now we practically can't do without it! Our salespeople, our executives — they’d be kind of lost without iPad."

Company Snapshot

  • Founded in 1965
  • Based in Ponzano Veneto, Italy
  • Annual revenues exceed two billion euros
  • www.benetton.com

"We used to think of iPad as a device from the future, but now we practically can't do without it! Our salespeople, our executives — they'd be kind of lost without iPad."

Sylvia Re, IT Service Manager, Benetton Group


"With the video resolution and calibrated colors on iPad, people can see and share details of our collection at a speed that would have been unthinkable before."

Aldo Chiaradia, Chief Information Technology Officer, Benetton Group

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