Benetton chooses WebScience to innovate store management

Press release May 10, 2023

  • WebScience, part of the adesso group, has created the Phoenix mobile app to allow Benetton store staff to always have timely and up-to-date information available to manage all store operations efficiently  
  • The application was created with a Co-design approach, the result of a co-creation work that has incorporated the needs and feedback of the store managers  
  • The project did not end with the creation of an application, but started a path of application modernization  
  • It is an ambitious digital transformation project that not only affects digital applications and tools, but also culture, processes and organization

May 10, 2023, Milano

“Supporting a Group like Benetton was an exciting opportunity for WebScience and, at the same time, an important challenge. Benetton proved to be an ideal customer for us. Our contacts have always put us in the ideal conditions to generate value, thanks to multidisciplinary teams able to manage the end-to-end process with a transparent approach and continuous feedback: a case where we have applied the agile methodology in practice” - Massimiliano Stanglino, WebScience Business Developer

Benetton Group is present in all the main markets in the world, with a sales network of about 4.000 stores and headquarters in Ponzano Veneto (Treviso). The sales strategy of its products is multi-channel: direct stores (DOS), indirect channels (IOS), franchising (FOS), direct eCommerce and indirect eCommerce.

The need: support mobile activities in stores

In an uncertain scenario, due to the international crisis and inflation, in 2022 investments in digital have not undergone major changes, with 2.5% of total retailers' turnover, similar to 2021. However, the priorities of investments changed, with a need on the one hand to exploit digital to cope with the crisis, improving and reviewing processes, on the other to enhance the consumer experience with a new idea of store: not just a space solely dedicated to sales, but a place to get closer to the customer to enhance the relational aspect. This is what emerges from the Omnichannel Customer Experience Observatory of the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano. 

In this context Benetton has chosen WebScience, part of the adesso group, specialized in the creation of tailor-made digital applications, application modernization and cloud migration, to innovate the management of its stores. To do this, two directions were followed: on the one hand, to modernize the application portfolio and digitize the processes, on the other hand to work on the company's mindset to bring everyone to act and think in an agile and collaborative way.

The opportunity of application modernization

The modernization process started from the creation of the Benetton Platform: a cloud-native microservices architecture, based on an event-driven model, on which it is possible to build front-end applications. The Benetton Platform, designed with state-of-the-art DevSecOps tools and practices, guarantees flexibility (it responds, in fact, to different models - IOS, FOS and DOS - and integrates with the various cash register systems - SAP, CEGID), ease of evolution (functionalities are progressively released according to business needs), the availability of stock data in real time (critical success factor), scalability (both Performance and Team) and reuse of microservices for other business applications. Despite the complexity of the scope, the first production release of the first front-end application was made after only 4 months from writing the first line of code.

The need to strengthen digital culture

Benetton has decided to start a transformation process that focuses on store operations, not only by evolving digital applications, but also by intervening on culture. Benetton recognized WebScience as the ideal team for an internal agile coaching path "on the job", thanks to the co-design approach that characterizes its working method.  

Phoenix, the co-created mobile app

Starting from the Benetton Platform, WebScience has created for Benetton Phoenix, a mobile app capable of optimizing and automating processes in stores, both Direct and Franchising, bringing in-store activities into mobility. Thanks to Phoenix, store staff can always have – literally – at their fingertips the necessary and reliable information to effectively manage store operations, thus being able to dedicate more resources and more time to guarantee an excellent sales service. Phoenix is already available for the Italian market for both Direct and Indirect channels, for all the Group's brands. It is present in Portugal, the first roll-out country, and will soon be available in Spain. Between April and early May it is scheduled to be released in all other countries. The app will be released in 20 European countries for around 1,500 users. 

Phoenix focuses on the store staff, which is increasingly strategic for creating relationships and customer loyalty. An application that was born mobile-first to better support the Employee experience. For this reason, Phoenix was co-created in collaboration with the users benefiting from the solution, from store managers to sales associates, listening to their feedback and needs.

"We didn't just want to create a mobile application and simplify operational management in our stores. We also wanted to innovate the way we design and build it, engaging end users from day one by collecting their feedback and suggestions" commented Francesco Robustella, Product Owner of WebScience. “We had a clear mandate: to design Phoenix and accompany Benetton in the adoption of innovative Co-design methodologies. We did this by engaging the business to fully understand the needs of store staff. This reflects our agile working model, based on collecting feedback by iterations and continuous improvement."

An app in continuous evolution

Phoenix has been released with features for viewing stock and pricing, printing labels, returns, and transfers and reporting will be released soon. By scanning the item code, you can view the original or discounted price and know its availability in stock. It is also possible to access the Omnichannel app and let the customer conclude the purchase of items not available in the store. The transfer function provides to start a transfer request for the items you need, selecting the item of interest, size, color, requesting it from the nearest store and checking the progress of requests. For returns, Phoenix simplifies the process by allowing you to complete all tasks end-to-end directly from the app. Label printing simplifies the in-store labeling process, bringing it entirely on mobile. Finally, in the reporting section you can view the main KPIs and monitor the progress of the store over time. You can analyze in more detail the various data reports such as UPT - Unit per Transaction - and CR - Conversion Rate - over days, weeks or months. 

Next steps

In the future, some developments are already planned to support inventory management and packing list reception. The Benetton Platform, thanks to the reuse of microservices, enables the rapid development of front-end applications that can take advantage of the availability of up-to-date data and all levels of security. The next application that will be released is Skyscraper, a tool that rethinks end-to-end order management: from the creation of catalogs to the sending of the order. The creation of the "digital fitting room" is also being evaluated, a feature that allows the user in the dressing room to view the available items and sizes in the store.