The Incredible Story of Retailer Naked Wines

Naked Wines is a wine retailer that conducts its business on the Internet. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that it is a new business by the standards of other wine retailers, seeing as how it started up in 2008. With that said, while Naked Wines is an upstart in relative terms, it has managed to carve out a considerable part of the market for itself within no more than a short period of time, which is a feat that merits a fair amount of respect and recognition.

What Does Naked Wines Do?

Since it has managed to carve out a considerable part of the market within a short period of time, it should come as no surprise to learn that there is something new and innovative to Naked Wines’s business model. After all, online businesses had become popular in 2008, meaning that while Naked Wines’s online focus would have been unusual, it would not have been revolutionary in nature. For that matter, even if Naked Wines had managed to be so successful by selling online, there is no reason to believe that it could have made so much progress so fast unless it had something special, not least because its competitors should have been able to set up online operations of their own within a short period of time if that was the sole factor behind Naked Wines’s success. Simply put, Naked Wines must have had an edge of some kind, which was exactly the case.

In short, Naked Wines runs a system that has more than a few similarities with what most people would recognize as angel investing. Theoretically, Naked Wines’s customers fund independent wine-makers situated all around the world. After which, the products of these independent wine-makers are made available to Naked Wines’s customers at what it claims to be wholesaler prices, which should be lower than retail prices because of the smaller number of links between the producer and the customer. As a result, Naked Wines can be summed up as a way for interested individuals to get access to a wide range of wines at better prices than otherwise possible, which tends to be a significant plus for most customers when it comes to most products. However, this is particularly important for wine connoisseurs because choice is something that matters in that particular market in a way that doesn’t matter in a lot of the other markets that can be found out there.

With that said, there is a second component of interest to Naked Wines’s system, which is that it encourages what can seem a lot like a social media feel. Simply put, it encourages its customers to experience the products that it makes available to interested individuals before posting reviews consisting of a number score, a Yes/No answer on whether they would consider buying it once more in the future, and a text description of how they felt about the whole thing. On top of that, Naked Wines encourages its customers to interact with one another beyond the limitations of the review system, thus resulting in what can be called a true community of sorts situated on the Internet. Speaking of which, it should be mentioned that Naked Wines has not neglected the other side of things, as shown by the fact that it encourages its winemakers to engage with their potential customers through its platform. Something that contributes to the overall feel that Naked Wines has sought out for its system.

Behind this inventiveness, it should be mentioned that Naked Wines was backed up by plenty of expertise and experience with the winemaking industry at the time of its founding. After all, its founder was Rowan Gormley, a South African who went on to work in the United Kingdom. To be exact, Gormley had a pivotal role in launching a number of business initiatives at Virgin, with an excellent example being Virgin Wines, which was a business that he founded in the first place before being bought out by Richard Branson. Eventually, Virgin Wines was sold to Laithwaites Wine, which is one of the biggest wine retailers in the United Kingdom. As a result, Gormley was prompted to found Naked Wines. Moreover, Gormley didn’t do this alone, which explains the considerable expertise and experience that was available to help Naked Wines reach its full potential from the start of things. Something that contributed much to its relatively smooth path over that period of time.

Does Naked Wines Live Up To Its Hype?

So far, Naked Wines has managed to build up a considerable reputation for its operations. For proof, look no further than the fact that it collected a number of awards and accolades from a wide range of notable organizations, with an excellent example being the London Stock Exchange Group. Furthermore, Naked Wines has a pretty outstanding reputation with its customers, who seem to have built up powerful bonds of loyalty to the wine retailer. Combined, these factors make it clear that there is a fair amount of hype built up behind Naked Wines, though whether it actually lives up to it or not is a whole separate issue.

Speaking bluntly, there are some signs that Naked Wines might have been hyped a bit too much, some of which have been covered by the Financial Times in 2014. For example, the Financial Times raised the issue about whether the independent wine-makers were actually independent wine-makers or not. Instead, when it looked through the list of names that were receiving support via Naked Wines, it seemed that a fair number of them were people who were already involved in the wine industry, meaning that the impression projected by Naked Wines might have been a bit too strong for it to be perfectly faithful to the spirit of things. Speaking of which, the Financial Times took issue with the claim about wholesale prices as well. In short, the thing about wholesale prices is that there has to be wholesalers involved in the process for there to be accurate knowledge of wholesale prices. After all, if no one has actually sold anything to a wholesaler who will presumably sell their products on to the actual retailers, then no one actually knows the wholesale price.

Instead, the best that they can do is guess at what would have been the wholesale price, which tends to be a rather imprecise process even under the best circumstances. As a result, while Naked Wines can certainly claim that it is offering its products at wholesale prices, there is no real way for that claim to be confirmed one way or the other because a lot of its products aren’t available through conventional channels in the wine market. On top of this, the Financial Times made note of the fact that the prices offered by Naked Wines weren’t that much different from the prices offered by other wine retailers through other more conventional channels, which is further reason to be skeptical of the whole marketing pitch.

With that said, there can be no doubt about the fact that Naked Wines has managed to make a positive impression on a lot of customers out there. This can be seen in how said individuals tend to talk about the wine retailer, which can be best summed up using words such as “glowing.” It seems safe to say that some of this impression comes from the excellence with which Naked Wines has executed its basic premise. However, much of it seems to come from the kind of experience that Naked Wines offers to interested individuals, which is something that is playing a bigger and bigger role in what can sometimes seem like an ever-expanding range of businesses.

Simply put, there is a clear narrative to Naked Wines’s services, which seems intended for maximum appeal to a particular kind of customer that can be found out there. For example, look at how Naked Wines calls its customers “angels,” which is a word that has some rather strong connotations to it. Generally speaking, “angel” tends to make people feel that they are doing something good as well as they are doing something of considerable importance, which is why it sees so much use in the related context of angel investors. Speaking bluntly, there can be no doubt about the fact that “angel” was chosen in a deliberate manner to induce a deliberate feeling in Naked Wines’s customers. Likewise, the rest of Naked Wines’s narrative seems designed to support this narrative as well. After all, the idea of supporting independent winemakers creates the impression of people who have the talent but not the means to make the most use of that talent, which is exactly the sort of thing that tends to make most people feel good when they support such individuals. Something that is remarkably important in business because when people do good, they tend to feel good as well. Summed up, it is clear that Naked Wines’s success is based on not just its system but also the way that it has managed to sell its system to the segment of consumers who would be most interested in it.

However, whatever else that can be said about how Naked Wines operates, there can be no doubt about the fact that it is providing a valuable service for a fair number of people out there. After all, value is where people sees it, meaning that if people are willing to pay for something, that same thing possesses value. As a result, Naked Wines deserves considerable respect for what it has managed to achieve within so short a period of time.

Further Considerations

Currently, Naked Wines is not an independent company but rather one of the companies that fall under the corporate umbrella of Majestic Wines. For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Majestic Wines has the distinction of being one of the biggest wine retailers in the United Kingdom, which possesses a particular focus on being a specialist retailer of wines. With that said, it seems clear that while Naked Wines was bought out, it wasn’t as though it was helpless in the process. For proof, look no further than the fact that Gormley was appointed as the CEO of the resulting group, though to be perfectly fair, while the CEO tends to be a very powerful position for most corporations, there are still positions to whom the occupant has to answer to in most cases so long as said individual isn’t occupying those as well.

So far, the purchase of Naked Wines seems to have been a significant boost for Majestic Wines as a whole. After all, said corporation mentioned in 2016 that Naked Wines had provided it with a boost to its sales that was measurable in the double digits, which tends to be rather considerable by most standards of measurement. However, it should be mentioned that Naked Wines has not had a perfect 100 percent record of success when it comes to business, as shown by an incident that happened later in the same year. In short, what happened was that Majestic Wines saw a tumble in its share price because of its announcement that it would be missing its expected profit because of a serious mistake that it had made in regards to its marketing for Naked Wines in the United States, which had wound up costing it multiple millions of dollars. This is because much money was spent on direct marketing, which wasn’t as effective as it might have been under better circumstances because the United States was still a relatively new market for them at the moment.

Still, on the whole, it seems clear that Naked Wines is a wine retailer that is doing very well. Certainly, it has made mistakes over the course of its operation, but that is a normal part of things for most businesses. Moreover, it is managing to provide a new and valuable service for a lot of people out there, which in turn, means that its current position in the wine industry is a well-earned one.


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