Solutions

Vienna Benetton
Mega Store

FileMaker-based solution for iPad streamlines inventory and sales

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Vienna Benetton Mega Store Deploys FileMaker App for iPad

Shoot, scan, done – stylish, elegant data capture with FileMaker Go for iPad

Overview

  • World-famous retailer creates iPad app for merchandise inventory.

Industry

  • Fashion retail

Solutions

  • Barcode and image capture with iPad; intuitive views of always-current showroom inventory on iPad and central database.

Benefits

  • Lower IT costs; more precise and current inventory; enhanced customer service.
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The Vienna Benetton mega store

Flashy, colorful and modern - these are the adjectives that spring to mind when describing Benetton. However, when the talk turns to retail data management, the conversation tends to use words like boring, drab and dowdy. Not in this case, though: This trendsetting retailer is showing the world just how hip retail database access can be. Equipped with a custom FileMaker solution for iPad, the Benetton Mega Store in Vienna is demonstrating that modern data management can drive sales at the point of sale.

The new line has just arrived. Stacks of chic new designs are piling up in the collection room of the Benetton Mega Store. There are red turtleneck pullovers, yellow V-neck jerseys and button-up sweaters. Blouses patterned with flowers are everywhere; some are fitted and short-sleeved, others are tunic tops with long sleeves. It’s an explosion of colors and commotion in the backroom of the Benetton store, the world’s largest with a 4,000 square meter sales floor.

Armed with iPads, staff quickly photographs each item and scans its bar code, matching the bar-coded info to each image. This enables their co-workers to later track the inventory, see what’s in stock, follow the paperless trail, and move that inventory off the sales floor and into customers’ hands.

With our system, we have created a fantastic solution we wouldn’t want do without. It’s as perfectly tailored to our
needs as our clothes are to our customers.

— Mark Weiser, Manager Benetton Mega Store, Vienna
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A sales assistant can call up articles and instantly see how many items, in what sizes and in which stores, are available.

Not so long ago, this process was anything but convenient. Employees had to take every garment from the hanger and capture its data with a bar code scanner connected to a computer. Then they put the scanner aside and reached for a camera. Each product and every color variation had to be photographed and each picture stored manually on the computer. The employees filed each picture with its order number in Benetton’s merchandise management system. It was time-consuming and complicated.

“This is why in 2011 we began searching for software and hardware to provide support for our business, particularly at the point of sales,” says Marc Wieser, manager of the Benetton Mega Store in Vienna. Christian Glöck, Benetton’s IT system administrator, saw the answer to this challenge the moment he picked up his first iPad with a built-in camera. He realized immediately that it held the key to simplifying and modernizing the complicated data management process. Now all he needed was a “mobile solution that would let me enter data directly to an iPad or iPhone," says Glöck, recalling that groundbreaking moment.

“We had considered writing our own program for iPad," adds the IT administrator. However, an email inquiry sent to Zimmel + Partner GmbH resulted in a far better option - the combination of the database app FileMaker Go for iPad and FileMaker Pro. “We found that the costs of coding a tailored program for iPad would be far higher than simply grabbing a ready-made solution off the rack," says Glöck.

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Christian Glöck, IT System Administrator for Benetton

He then designed a graphic to show how the solution he wanted should be structured. It was to enable automated transfer of data to and from the merchandise management system. What’s more, he wanted pictures to be uploaded and allocated to the products automatically without having to first enter the serial number. He worked out his specifications and emailed them to the general manager of Zimmel + Partner GmbH. Robert Zimmel immediately got to work on a solution. It was implemented within four days, “and we have been using the program ever since," says a clearly delighted Glöck.

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It's simple and easy to capture inventory information using FileMaker Go for iPad.

From hours and hours of data capture to a few clicks on iPad

Zimmel combined the free iPad app pic2shop, FileMaker Go, and the iPad’s camera to craft a simple yet elegant solution that accomplishes the needed tasks in just two steps:

  • Capture the bar code with the built-in iPad camera to call up the article.
  • Capture an image of the product: The photo is automatically filed under articlenumber.jpg

A touch of the File Photos button is all it takes to store the pictures automatically in the desired resolution on in a FileMaker Pro database on the server, in the proper folder and with the right name so that the merchandise management system can also allocate these data automatically. The FileMaker specialist also integrated the individual outlets’ inventory, turnovers and order quantities into the system. Now a sales assistant can call up articles and instantly see how many items, in what sizes and in which stores, are available.

Benetton has since been working with five iPads. One is in the collection room to capture the article’s data and picture. The remaining iPads are out on the shop floors, used by the sales force in Benetton’s various Vienna outlets to provide information to customers and employees: When will an article arrive in our store? How many individual items have arrived and in what sizes? How many have been sold? Now that the mobile solution has been put into practice, sales assistants in the Vienna stores can answer questions like these in a matter of seconds, without having to reach for the phone or fuss with a central computer. This also simplifies and streamlines customer service. If a customer has her heart set on a particular outfit, staff can immediately check right there on the sales floor which sweater and trousers are available in what colors and sizes.

“With iPad and FileMaker Go, we can easily provide our sales team with a vast amount of information that is accurate and readily updated," says a gratified Marc Wieder. This solution masters three challenges in one: It serves as a camera, identifies garments via a bar code scanner, and enables data to be exchanged between the mobile device and the Benetton database.

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All information on each article of clothing is instantly available.

The effort to roll out the mobile solution was “short and sweet." It took just two days to train the 120 members of the sales team, much to Glöck’s satisfaction: “I can hand iPads with FileMaker Go to any employee, and they immediately understand the product and data shown in it. In other words, it’s all self-explanatory." And Wieser is convinced that “with our system, we have created a fantastic solution we wouldn’t want do without. It’s as perfectly tailored to our needs as our clothes are to our customers.” And so Benetton has left yesterday’s unwieldy data management behind, instead setting the trend today with this stylishly elegant FileMaker solution.

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Vienna Benetton Mega Store

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