The Top 500 apparel chain plans to expand its reserve online, pick up in store program, as well as its presence in China.
Retailers turn to outsourcing as web sites become more image heavy
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Outsourcing, however, is not for everyone. Houston-based The Men’s Wearhouse Inc. is deploying TrueSpectra’s technology on its own servers. “We have better control over the whole process if we can do it in-house,” says Steve Lambert, manager of e-commerce. “If I want to make a change, I can do it more quickly than if I had to go outside.” Even with a small IT staff, Lambert finds it more efficient to use an in-house system. “The more we can do in-house without getting involved with an outside management company, the easier we can integrate it into our workflow,” he says.
The Men’s Wearhouse changes images about twice a year and doesn’t have the extensive image changes or severity of spikes that Berries.com experiences. Thus it makes more sense to maintain the application in-house. “The merchandise itself doesn’t change very much, but the ensembles do,” Lambert says. “This gives us the ability to present new images on a more frequent basis.”
From Speedera’s point of view, offering content management capability such as this in addition to the content acceleration, load balancing and other services it provides makes a lot of sense, says Aldort of InfoTrends Research Group. “Content delivery networks are becoming a commodity,” she says. “This offers Speedera a value-added service that it can take to market.”
For its part, TrueSpectra believes that the arrangement opens a market to it as well. More than a quarter of TrueSpectra’s customer base has inquired about the possibility of acquiring the technology on an ASP basis, Watkins says, and he believes that up to 40% of the entire market is not interested in buying software for image management. Purchase licenses start at $20,000 and Watkins estimates another at least $10,000 investment in hardware to run the software and $1,495 a year in a maintenance contract.
Berries.com clearly falls into that ASP category of users. Noting that between the store in Sacramento and the online operation, Shari’s dips 2 million strawberries into 25 tons of chocolate and sells about $10 million a year in sweets, Beresford says: “We don’t have a lot of experience with delivery of the graphic. Our expertise is in selling the product.”