‘We’re the world’s largest seller on Amazon and eBay,’ is how musicMagpie’s CEO summarises the success of the business.
Speaking at the TDCGlobal (The Delivery Conference), Steve Oliver the co-founder and group chief executive officer of musicMagpie says that many people often question the company’s status of the biggest merchant on Amazon and eBay. He said that people often say to him – ‘what, you’re the biggest seller of CDs, DVD and games?’ Steve replies, “no, we’re the biggest global seller in the history of Amazon and eBay marketplace in any product category.”
It seems like a proud, but justified, claim for a business that has started in a garage. Most of their scaling of their business comes from sourcing products from consumers and then selling through Amazon and eBay.
In 2017, Steve was surprised to be ambushed on the stage by the president of eBay, Devin Wenig, who presented the company with a picture of a Magpie bird. Steve said that it was an amazingly proud moment for everybody in the business to be recognised as the only seller to hit 5m positive feedbacks on eBay. Now, the business boast 7.5m of positive feedback, some 18 months later.
Steve states that musicMagpie have sold to more than 200 countries worldwide and have a global audience of 25m customers. He adds that they have sold a Jason Donovan CD to North Korea. “My feeling and suspicion are saying that they bought it to play over the border to South Korean soldiers!” laughs Steve. They have also sold Brokeback Mountain to the Vatican City. When he said “two happy customers” he was showing pictures of Kim Jong-Un and the Pope.
musicMagpie CEO on creating the company in his garage
Steve said that he started the business in his convertible garage in Hazel Grove, Stockport. He jokingly said that it was the company’s very first ‘website’ where they sold CDs, DVDs and video games. That was the company’s origin in 2007. In late 2008, early 2009 musicMagpie appeared on the Martin Lewis ‘MoneySavingExpert.com’ weekly email, once in late 2008 and again in March 2019 and they featured on GMTV with Lorraine Kelly.
musicMagpie CEO recalls the “horrible” time when their website crashed, and nearly “killed them,” but actually it “was the making of them.” Since then musicMagpie started seeing financial growth. The first-year saw the company turn over £0.5m, £2.5m the second year and £11m the third, following £34m, £64m and £84m in the years after. Steve said that the business experienced plenty of roller-coasters rides. He said that they won some awards but lost some sleep.
We’re not just all about CDs, DVDs and games anymore, said Steve, that’s less than half of our business – we launched buying Consumer Technology products, mainly mobile phones in 2013. In 2014, musicMagpie launched the US brand, Decluttr. musicMagpie and Decluttr have both become champion brands for consumers who now have a fast, easy and trusted method to raise cash for their unwanted products easily and to save money in buying ‘as-good-as-new’ branded products at a great value price. They are also champions for the environment, saving many tonnes of plastic, paper and electrical waste going to landfill per annum.
musicMagpie CEO on challenges
Steve said that when the business buys a product, the challenge they face is reverse logistics. He said that this process currently requires manual labour. If a customer wants a refund, musicMagpie emails a return’s label for a shopper to either drop off a product or have it picked up by a courier. We have to credit our main inbound logistics partner Hermes, said Steve, who has been a brilliant partner for us.
For many years, the business wasn’t branded as musicMagpie on Amazon or eBay, so consumers might not have realised that they were buying off musicMagie because they were called estocks on eBay and zoverstocks on Amazon. Now, they’re presented as a musicMagpie on eBay as a best-priced, and best-matched products seller. On Amazon US, they boast 6.5m ratings but are still called zoverstocks. musicMagpie is also the biggest seller of media on Amazon Japan.
musicMagpie CEO on becoming the biggest seller on Amazon and eBay
Steve puts down the company’s success to customers’ trust. He said that the company had gained customer trust through the help of their logistics partners who’ve serviced those shoppers. The other part of this is the standard of the product they’re offering. Steve said that nearly everything they sell is used, and when they say used they never use the word second-hand because he claims that their products are as good as new. They refurbish their products, sometimes changing the case, polishing a disk and re-wrapping a product to make it look like new.
Adding value to a product, creating trust and superb logistics partners – if you want to grow your business to a 7.5m feedback and counting marketplace business, these are the things to focus on.