Squishables! They're giant round fuzzy stuffed animals which are massively popular across the US and Canada. From Kittens to Sea Turtles, there's a Squishable for everyone with over 70 styles to choose from.

When we were appointed as the UK distributor for Squishables we were excited and our first thought turned to Shopify. We knew we needed a feature rich, easy to manage and beautiful looking website and having tested Shopify previously we knew it fit the bill perfectly. Working with our web design company Full Phat Design we set out to create a custom theme that appealed to our young demographic and showcased the product in the best way possible.

How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?

Since launching the site in May 2014 we have been primarily focussed on Facebook marketing and have gained 3,735 Likes to 2nd June. We have also done a little with Twitter and Google Adwords and plan to grow through word of mouth using some of the apps discussed later.

Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?

Due to the huge range of Squishables our initial focus was on a selected range for the UK and European market stocking 24 of the 15" styles. Inspired by squishable.com in the US where users vote on which Squishable design should be put in to production next, we decided to create a section where customers would vote on what Squishables we brought to the UK next. That way we knew we'd be bringing in the most popular styles. We added a Vote collection in Shopify and created a custom product template which had no add to cart button but instead embedded Facebook and Twitter buttons which would serve as the count of votes but also have the added bonus of social sharing. We added to this further when we discovered the BackInStock app. Not only could we use it to notify customers when out of stock products were available again but we could also take email registrations on the Voting products and count these as votes. This is a very powerful feature because as soon as we receive a shipment of new styles the BackInStock app will email all of these potential customers who are interested in these specific products.

We have also used some other Shopify apps to help with our marketing:

ViralSweep - this app offers a very viral way to run competitions as entrants receive bonus entries for sharing on social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. It has helped to grow our social media following and our email list.

Google Shopping - this app makes adding products to Google Shopping very easy.

S Loyalty - we have used this app to set up a loyalty and referral program called Squishy Reward Points. Our customers earn points for their purchases and for referring friends to squishable.co.uk. These points can later be redeemed for free Squishables.

Yotpo - we love the Yotpo app because it makes it easy to get product reviews from customers. Our favourite part is being able to share these reviews on Facebook and Twitter at the click of a button.

Klaviyo - we are using Klaviyo for abandoned cart recovery emails and autoresponders for various follow up emails.

Facebook Store - as we have an enthusiastic and ever growing Facebook community we have added the Facebook store app so that customers can view our products without having to leave Facebook. Many will click through to our website for more information.

We're still testing new apps and hope to add more features in the coming months.

What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?

Take advantage of the free trials offered by the Shopify apps, examine other Shopify sites to see what they have done well, use analytics software to measure everything.

Most importantly, have fun!

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