by John Russel Jones

United Colors of Benetton will transform its Corso Vittorio Emanuele store during Milan Fashion Week to echo the look of the brand’s new shop in the metaverse, opening at the same time. 

“We want to turn the immersive experience on its head,” states Massimo Renon, CEO of Benetton Group. “We will achieve this by creating the same emotional ecosystem in physical retail as will be available in the new virtual store in the metaverse, which will open in the next few weeks. Anyone visiting our Milan shop in Corso Vittorio Emanuele over the next few days will be able to immerse themselves in a world where physical reality and digital connection come together in an explosion of creativity, color and sound.”

The Benetton metaverse store will not allow visitors to buy clothes but will instead encourage participation in gaming experiences that allow them to accumulate QR codes. The codes can then be used to make purchases in physical shops. In this manner, the brand creates an additional touchpoint with the consumer, enhancing its omnichannel strategy.

“We are one of the first brands to experiment with a distributed omnichannel model, one that creates a circular relationship between the physical world and the metaverse,” explains Antonio Patrissi, Chief Digital Officer of Benetton Group. “The aim is to offer a dimensional link between the present and the future, the real and the virtual, through a brand experience that is increasingly immersive and, above all, in tune with the language of young people.”

The virtual store will mirror the shopping experience that visitors can expect at the Corso Vittorio Emanuele location during Milan Fashion Week, redecorated in pink to cover all areas — from the windows to the store interior, even hangers and shelves – naturally emphasizing the shades of the current Benetton collection.

This temporary set-up will be in the store for four weeks, accompanied by the #playchange project: From February 21st to 23rd, five talented individuals will share their personal stories of change with Benetton, recounting the moments in their lives when they have had to reinvent themselves. The five talents are radio presenter Andrea Delogu, TV presenter Stefano di Martino and social media stars Giulia Paglianiti, Davide Vavalà and Anna Ciati. The three TikTokers will also be in-store on 23 February from 5pm, when they will offer dedicated styling sessions to shoppers eager to try out new looks.