“We’ve sold something! What do we do now? How do we ship it?” Hard to believe, but that was the conversation Ateeq of Genie and the Geek told me occurred many years ago when they sold their first item on eBay.
It’s reassuring to know that when Tayyab and his brothers set up My1stWish, their first eBay shop, they had pretty much the same steep learning curve as all of us. It’s only when you start selling that you realise quite what resources you need in place to start shipping efficiently. Since then Tayyab and the team have been fastidious in streamlining their business, so much so that they set up Genie and the Geek to offer their expertise to other retailers.
I went up to see their operation a few weeks ago, and it’s impressive to walk into their offices and meet the team. There are listing teams, customer services teams, account management teams, not one but two fully kitted out photography studios. Ateeq told me he’s not sure how the customer service guys keep up with the thousands of eBay messages and phone calls that come in, but they do a fantastic job keeping everything running smoothly.
It’s when you get to the warehouse you start to get an idea of the scale of the business though, walking in past a row of about 15 Royal Mail “Yorks” of parcels waiting to be collected, you start to find rows and rows of racking full to the rafters with stock. Standing in the middle of the warehouse racks stretch into the distance in all directions, and this is just one out of a multitude of hidden storage areas.
Working with clients
Walking around the corner Ateeq tells me “We do fulfilment for other companies too. We’ve learnt to be so efficient and with our resources we are probably the only people who can manage an multichannel business in it’s entirety, from photographing, listing, shop design, selling, payments, shipping, returns, customer service – everything” he says as we walk into yet another warehouse.
This time the warehouse is stacked to the ceiling with jeans and as we walk further in there’s row after row of loose stacked jeans all in their own pigeon holes. “This isn’t our stock” explained Ateeq, “it’s a client’s and we look after their business for them.”
Some retailers do like to keep control of some aspects of their business, and Genie and the Geek will work with them. One might want to list their own products and just outsource the fulfilment whilst another might want to do their own customer support. Genie and the Geek are a true “full service” partner and can either run the entire business barring stock sourcing, or just the bits you don’t want to do yourself.
The future for Genie & the Geek
They’re not overstretching themselves through, back in the board room they explain that they are working with a manageable yet increasing number of clients. They’re not small businesses though, many are eBay clothing Outlets and all are doing significant volumes. Genie and the Geeks real specialisation is getting high street brands up and running on marketplaces whilst ensuring that the brand reputation is protected and the service given to customers is what they’d expect from a trusted retailer.
Next for My1stWish and Genie and the Geek is a move into new premises. Their warehouse in the centre of Manchester is bursting at the seams, they are looking at a few different premises one of which is quite near to their existing premises, most of their team live locally and they wouldn’t want to lose them.
The team are an integral part of Genie and the Geek’s success and the company culture is obviously a fun place to work. They’re also essential to ensure the smooth running of the business and the reason that so many high profile clients are willing to trust Genie and the Geek to manage their online sales.
Back in the board room, sitting in pride of place, is the Tamebay Ecommerce Football trophy. Genie and the Geek managed the competition and then promptly won it in 2012. We’re almost ready to announce details of the 2013 event and we’re looking for someone to take the trophy away from Manchester. The guys at Genie and the Geek reckon they can retain the cup though, so get training if you think you can give them a run for their money!