High fashion gets high tech with SaaS embrace

Clothing stores predict cloudy outlook

Clothing stores predict cloudy outlook

Fashion retailers are champing at the bit to embrace software as a service (SaaS) technology, a new report reveals.

The vast majority of UK clothing and footwear retailers - over 65 per cent - expressed an interest in SaaS, citing the benefits of having no capital costs, low financial risk and the SaaS pay-as-you-go model.

A total of 44 companies, with combined sales of £5.6bn - representing about 16 per cent of the UK fashion industry - were questioned by software and services company Prologic.

Sam Jackson, CEO of Prologic, said: "Seventy per cent of retailers thought it was a great idea in principle, despite awareness of it being quite low initially."

Despite SaaS enthusiasm among fashion retailers, anxieties remain about the tech. A quarter of companies surveyed raised concerns about the responsiveness of SaaS and whether service levels would be as high as an in-house option.

The silicon.com CIO Jury recently delivered a mixed verdict on whether the cloud was the future of enterprise computing, with six of the 12 IT heads saying they believe SaaS will be the future of software.

silicon.com Retail & Leisure

Get the latest retail and leisure news straight to your inbox. Sign up for the R&L newsletter today!

Fashion retailers meanwhile are keen to splash the cash on tech. IT spend among clothing and footwear companies stands at 1.8 per cent of sales - higher than the 1.3 per cent average across all retailers.

Some 97 per cent of fashion retailers said they expect their IT spend to remain the same or increase in 2009.

For the fashion industry, cost reduction is the main tech priority followed by enhancing websites and multi-channel retailing, according to Prologic.

The company is revamping the website for fashion retailer Ted Baker to give it a glossier "magazine"-style feel in a five figure deal. The new site is expected to be up early in 2009.