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A Majestic State of Nakedness

Published:  15 April, 2015

A short blog reviewing the surprising news which saw Majestic acquire Naked Wines

The acquisition of Naked Wines by Majestic in a £70 million deal last week already seems like old news given the amount of commentary on it. Always one to be a follower I thought I’d have my say.

 

I’m writing this partly as a consumer given I currently buy wine now and then from Majestic (admittedly mainly for corporate wine tastings when working to a budget) and have previously in my youth been a Naked Wines customer. I also spent five days in Napa a few years ago with Rowan Gormley and a few of Naked Wines’ Archangels helping them taste prospective wines to bring back and retail in the UK. This gave me a up close insight into Naked and their philosophy. Clearly being different was valuable to them and the word “disruptive” seemed to keep coming up. Rowan and the team at Naked had looked at the structure of wine sales (both here and in the US) and felt they could cut out a few layers.

 

Like or loathe the Naked model what they do better than anybody else is give their customers a unique chance to discuss the wines and give feedback directly to the winemakers. Their use of social media has been impressive and their approach to “extreme customer service” seems to keep their customers feeling loved. Majestic clearly are more traditional in their approach. They do use social media but no more than people such as Laithwaites and other comparable wine retailers and it can feel a bit tired. I’ve always seen them as being a more steady operator than Naked, certainly not seeking to be disruptive but instead offering their customers a chance to purchase wine in an environment where experts are readily on hand and a lack of specialist wine knowledge is by no means a pre-requisite. They’re not without their own good ideas though; the move to free delivery on 6 bottles (whilst seeming simple) was a good way of expanding their customer base without expecting online purchasers to buy 12 bottles.

 

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