Benetton India has done what no other brand in the country has – unveiled an exclusive collectible line in collaboration with established artists of the country…on Instagram! The brand has titled the collectible line #UnitedbyArt.
The collection was revealed at an Instagram live auction with actress Rhea Kapoor and popular fashion influencers including Pallavi Ruhail, Bahaar Dhawan Rohatgi, Rasna Bhasin and Sherry Shroff coming forth to support the technological initiative.
Echoing the brand’s long standing dedication to art, Sundeep Chugh, Managing Director & CEO, Benetton India said, “Benetton is a brand built on innovation. We have always kept creativity and social relevance central to our culture and we have consistently strived to do business in a way our associates, partners and customers are proud of. Art is very close to our cultural fabric and this special collectible line is our commitment to empower the artists and bring them to the forefront. We are proud to see the paintings coming alive with the first collectible line, every artwork has a creative story to tell keeping the core of Benetton in mind.”
Since 1965, Benetton has strived to promote identity through equality, diversity and optimism. And art has a somewhat deep and complex relationship with identity. The brand’s latest project reinforces the theme of ‘Social Integration’, something which has long been dear to the Benetton brand, imbuing it with new meaning.
“Indian consumers are keen to own the best of fashion trends today, especially since their fashion sense is rapidly evolving, all thanks to a digital wave which is increasing awareness. To address their growing needs, we introduced this Collectible line on Instagram,” Chugh stated.
Reinventing its India Stores
Along with reinventing itself with the help of technology, Benetton – which gained glory because of its iconic, solid yellow sweater – is planning to revamp its existing stores in India on global lines. It will replicate its London store concept in all Indian stores. The first concept store for the brand will be launched in New Delhi.
“Our store in London has no cash desk. We use technology to raise invoices along with making sure that if a garment is not available in store,we should still be able to deliver it to customers. The London store also boasts of a knitwear theatre displaying the brand’s extensive knitwear collection, LED-screen clad 12 ft arches, a lounge area and touchscreen interactive tables. The idea is to give consumers a seamless experience, hassle-free and convenient,” explained Chugh.
Brand custodians are confident that by the end of 2019, they will have atleast six stores in India which are aligned to the global direction, with a focus on technology.
Innovating its Product
Since Benetton was launched, the quality of product has been one of the key pillars of the brand.
“We constantly keep on working on how do we give consumer a better fabric feel and better quality experience, so there is a lot of innovation which keeps happening on the quality front,” Chugh said.
“The latest that we have done has cotton fabric on the front and net fabric at the back, that is how actually we are looking at evolving. Apart from this, the current collection – A Heritage Line – inspired by what we have done in the 80s. We are doing what we did in 80s but in a way that will appeal to Millennials,” he added.
The Importance of Visual Merchandising
Visual Merchandising (VM) is a store’s calling card. Even before a customer walks in, talks to a salesperson, browses leisurely through a store, it is VM that would decide whether he will enter the store and buy something.
“All our collections are divided into three parts: Foundation Line – which is the core of the collection, Fashion Line and Fashion Forward. Our VM exercise is integrated at the time of conceptualising of this collection structure. For us VM is not something that starts in store but begins along with the brand’s story for the season,”explained Chugh.
However, Chugh firmly believes that for VM to be a hit and bring in a desired number of footfalls, a brand’s product has to be great. If the product is not good enough then no amount of formatting, technology implementation or visual merchandising can help.
Benetton, which is planning to launch its Omnichannel strategy by the end of 2019, has around 400 exclusive stores in India and 5,000 stores globally.
“We are looking forward to open 50 stores this year and over the next three years, we will open nearly 150 new doors. As a brand we have been growing at high double digit CAGR for the last 8 years and our objective is to maintain this statistic,” Chugh concluded on a high note.