What being part of a Top 250 E-Commerce company means to us

We learned last week that Andertons had ranked as one of the Top 250 UK E-Commerce retailers according to Internet Retailing magazine’s 2017 report.

To have got this far as ‘little old us’ is a surreal achievement. Also: F*@#ing WOOHOOOOO.

I’ve been here a long time; maybe a touch too long! When I started, we had single digit subscriber numbers on YouTube, there was no Facebook page… Andertons was just another one-hick-town bricks & mortar retailer who thought they should probably have an internet site.

From then to now, I’ve seen a team of ridiculously dedicated, talented people, come together to move the needle on what, to me, is stage worth singing on. That somebody thinks that Andertons is one of the UK’s top 250 e-commerce companies made me punch the air with joy.

And — I’ll stick my neck out — I think we have 10x more to give…

I can and will continue to blubber unabashedly about the digital team’s part in this. When it was just me and the dog (literally), I had no way of foreseeing Andertons turning the e-commerce e-corner it has, and no way of knowing that I’d have the privilege of working with and leading such driven, creative, funny people as those that make up my team.

But only a restaurant-sized portion of the e-commerce experience is down to the efforts of the herbal-tea desk brigade.

Every day I see a customer services team who deeply empathise with every single musician they help. We have leadership prepared to invest in capital and people, and take risks, and an administrative operation that works with the effectiveness and elegance of a steam train.

The team at ‘the magical box machine down the road’ (a.k.a. the warehouse), work at full capacity pretty much 100% of the time, and the staff in the store & back-room techs form bonds with the customers who walk in, often trekking from all corners of the globe to visit… Andertons.

There’s a wonderful theme in Walter Isaacson’s book about Steve Jobs, referring to Jobs’ attitude towards his products: No matter how few people see it, the insides of a machine should be just as beautiful as the outside.

I can’t help but think it is this quality of Andertons’ people that makes the brand what it is.

I chuckled when I realised I had sat with Lee (Mr A) in 2014 at the Internet Retailing Conference. We listened to Jérôme Cochet of Zalando explain how they mobilised a million (or something) teams of good-looking, multi-lingual superstar unicorns, quarterbacked by James Bond, to roll the Zalando brand out across the globe like the bloody Allied powers…

With the 2014 IRUK Top 500 in my lap, I wondered when anyone would care about the work that we did at Andertons. I feel now like people do!

2017 is a scary year for us. I could cite at least four big things that we’re trying to achieve that are all, individually, projects that would have been ‘too much’ to take on two or three years ago; if Andertons has ever bitten off more than it can chew, we’re just about to find out.

Maybe in the autumn, we’ll look back at the burning cinders of failure and wonder what we were thinking… But for me, it’s a thrill to carry some of that responsibility for this leap into a new era.

There are so many people busting a bollock right now (some people might even lose two) to get Andertons through this change. It’s that which gives me faith that we will emerge the other side as a tour de force!

Thank you to anybody reading this, because it’s most likely because of people like you that Andertons is the company that it is. Unless you’re one of those chaps from GAK or Red Dog Music who are spying on us on Medium (in which case thanks for keeping us on our toes).

Along with all my colleagues, I feel stupidly lucky to have landed in this business unwittingly. I only hope we can keep on being the right thing for all our customers (and the wrong thing for GAK 😉).

If you’re an A-Gamer who loves music, retail, digital, or all of the above, you can apply prospectively for a position at Andertons on our jobs website: https://jobs.andertons.co.uk

Andertons Music Co. Is a UK based, rock ’n’ roll music instrument retailer which has served the community for over 50 years. The brand is known by musicians worldwide, with videos by Chappers & The Captain reaching nearly half a million YouTube subscribers.

About the Author
Andrew Chart is the daddy of the E-Commerce team at Andertons. Seven years? Eight years? Can't remember. Living for the next cup of herbal tea. Mine's the 'Orange Cookies'. Smells amazing (the tea).