Friday, 7 August 2009

Third time’s the charm

We weren’t enamoured with Very’s catalogue or its website at all (see Doing less with more and Very ambivalent). And consequently we didn’t have high expectations of Very’s customer magazine either. So when it landed on my desk this week, I was pleasantly surprised.
The first 11 pages of the magazine are dedicated to introducing Very, its core values, reasons to join its shopping network, and the content you can expect from its contributors. I particularly like the way it spells out the benefits and advantages of shopping with Very on pages 6 and 7 and its emphasis on the word you—“gorgeous buys for you, your, family and your home”, “if you become an insider…” “Very customers like you can write reviews… share your online experience”. Not very subtle, but on target in positioning Very as a customer-focused “community”.
And where the Very catalogue failed in its salesmanship, the magazine excels. Unlike the catalogue, the Very magazine varies the pace and layout to actively sell the merchandise. Whilst product copy is still minimal, many spreads feature customer testimonials that add to the community feel Very is striving to create. The fashion spreads are nicely done and seem to hit the right balance between looking aspirational but affordable. Similarly, the “get the look” section in the home department looks to current trends to help customers update their homes without it costing an arm and a leg.
Granted there isn’t that much to read, the kids section for example would have benefited from more editorial, such as some suggestions for outdoor games, or a craft section to keep children occupied during the summer holidays. But already this is a huge improvement on the catalogue.
This is just the preview issue, we’re promised much more in September's “bumper” edition. If the magazine continues along this path, it looks set to become a handbag staple. Finally, it looks like Very got one of its social-shopping components Very right.—MT

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