The Very Group

A Future-Focused eCommerce Experience

Industry eCommerce


The challenge

The Very Group is a digital retail company that sells home, fashion, and family products from over 2,000 brands, driving £2.3bn in annual revenue. They operate a handful of unique websites, each selling a curated catalog of products to customers across the UK and Ireland. The company also offers flexible financing options to make their products more accessible to customers around the world.

The Very Group brand has gone through many iterations of technology since starting as a catalog company over one hundred years ago. While the team had operated with a monolith system that served them well over the years, they wanted to prepare for a future where they could offer even more customer-focused and personalized experiences. This meant embracing a system with more flexibility for rapid innovation and experimentation.

A customer looking at The Very Group's webapp on desktop


Beginning with strategy

With the goal of making changes on the site quicker and more frequent, the team needed to shift their customer experience away from their existing system to a new platform.

In collaboration with the Very Group, we began a discovery process to develop a multi-year tech investment strategy and roadmap. This roadmap needed to include both the updated tech criteria and tools, as well as the workflow, team, and business operation changes necessary to implement it.

The first step was to understand the overall architecture needed for a composable setup. We took a look at the components of their existing system and identified the mission-critical areas of the business along with desired improvements for site experience and functionality. From there, we prioritized work according to the business priority.

Enhancing the customer journey

To facilitate the shift towards an enhanced customer experience, we created a multi-year platform transition plan centered around a microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native, and headless (MACH) architecture. We are currently working on building out a custom presentation layer that is supported by several (MACH) partners. This setup will enable customer experience changes to be delivered even faster than before.

commercetools was identified early on as the Very Group’s preferred commerce platform. To support the team in rolling it out, we assembled specific teams around a few core work areas: front-end development, back-end development, data transformation, and search tools.

With dynamic search being an important element of high-performing eCommerce sites, we supported them in evaluating a handful of search providers before making their choice. They decided to go forward with to achieve the customized customer experiences they were looking for.

Improving product information pages

One of the first project phases we tackled was analyzing and integrating their product information management system (PIM) and product details pages (PDP). As a retailer that sells multiple products from different brands, having a robust PIM and PDPs are two areas that are critical to get right in the new system.

For the PIM, our discovery exercise found that the solution would require customization to accommodate the wide variety of data points the system had to manage. This included data like product color, style, material, photos, size, and pricing for each product. As the Very Group’s product catalog is made up of items from other brands, the system needed to be able to accommodate data that is constantly changing across data sets. We worked to ensure there was a robust data transformation plan that would feed changes accurately into the product pages.

A laptop screen showing various filters on The Very Group's website

Developing an approach fit for the future

As the technology plan evolved, so did the need for updated team skills and workflows to put it into action. Over time, current employees will have the opportunity to go through specific training designed to set them up for success using the new system.

A person looking at furniture on The Very Group's app


The Very Group now has a clear tech transformation program and roadmap. Their new eCommerce platform is built on a MACH architecture, enabling them to make customer experience changes faster and more often than before. Overall, the technical roadmap ensures the retailer will remain future-fit as it continues to scale and evolve.