August 30, 2015

Dear United Colors of Benetton...

Dear Benetton,

I haven't written on my blog in quite a while because I've moved on from fashion obsession, but you've managed to excite (read pi$$) me enough to pick up the "pen" again and write a few words just for you.

If you don't have enough time to read, well, I'll try to sum it up in these first few lines:

What the #*^@ is going on with you?

But let me start from the beginning.

As I am soon traveling to Washington DC, I was doing some preliminary research about things to do and places to shop at while there. Since here in New York we have only ONE pathetic Benetton store left, I wanted to see if maybe I could find a store in Washington DC to buy some fall items before the cold hits us.

Well, I wasted a good few minutes of my precious time looking up and down your list for the UNITED STATES store locator, but as you can see below, it seems that the UNITED STATES are not included in your list.

As this seemed hard to believe, I looked up the WHOLE list one more time, wasting more precious time that I could have used to read up on how many new stores Zara is opening up in the US... but, alas, you've decided that the United States do not need to be on the list (I've already notified you, so if by the time you read this the error has been already corrected... you're welcome).

So basically I had to use Google to find the store in Washington DC, but I better hurry up and get there before it closes, because from reading the reviews on Yelp, it's not looking good for those folks over there:

Not that the reviews from San Francisco look any better: 

The biggest complaint is that the sales people are rude, and that is a HUGE problem for any retail business, so maybe that's a good place to start if you are in any way interested in keeping your business going here in the US.

Next is the declined quality of your clothes, and I can attest to that since a lot of my sweaters never make it past one year of wear.

Lastly, your online store is one of the worst out there (not to mention the fact that you came to the online shopping scene so late that so many people still think you don't have an online presence) with such a little selection and long shipping times.

So Mr. Benetton, what is going on??? 

See, when I got tired of blogging I just stopped writing, I didn't continue just because, without passion and putting horrible pieces of writing out there just to abuse my readers. No, I just stepped away, because that's the right thing to do.

But you? What are you doing here in the US?

Every time I turn around another store closes. We are left with only one store in Manhattan, when we used to have quite a few. And when I try to ask any of your sales people they never know what to say.

I was in Italy last year, and I've found many Benetton stores still open and happy to operate and help customers. But here in the States it seems that Benetton is a completely different animal, a brand that nobody cares about anymore. So what's the point of keeping it open?

I understand that it operates as a franchise here, and that is what many people are pointing at as the problem, but guess what? McDonald's is a franchise, so no, that should not be the problem.

The problem must be up top. It's the operations, it's the lack of interest and focus, it's the complicated business model, it's the resigned attitude that are going to be the fatal blows that will make Benetton disappear from the US.

Is that what you want? If yes, then congrats, you will get your wish soon.

But if not, what are you waiting for?? You need to make a serious 180 turn asap.

You need better people managing these US stores, you need better quality control, you need to care and show that you care. People in the US have far too many choices to let any sales person be rude to them more than once. They don't need to shop at Benetton.

The only thing keeping you alive is people like me, nostalgic idiots who travel miles and miles to get to a store, but how long do you think this is going to last?

So, if you are in any way interested in keeping Benetton alive here in the US, please start making tangible changes, starting with hiring people who know how to handle the US market and US customers (because it seems you are lacking on both fronts).

Best Regards,
a soon to be ex customer

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