EQUUS

We all want to spend as much quality time as possible with our horses. What we definitely don’t want to be doing is spending that time chasing around the country for a particular equine product, running from tack shop to country store, or searching for fruitless hours online then waiting up to a week or more for delivery.

Frustrated by this lack of available options for convenient quality equestrian clothing and tack, co-founders Kim Horton and Steven Wood were inspired to bring customer-focussed shopping to the forefront of the online equine retail sector.

“Equus really grew from a rant I had about a particularly disastrous trip to the tack shop,” says Kim. “As a keen horse rider working full time, I was unable to find somewhere that sold the kind of quality equine clothing and equipment I wanted, AND could deliver it to me quickly and reliably.”

Based around the principles of choice, service and convenience, Equus provides a wide and well-stocked selection of high-end equestrian wear and equipment which is delivered quickly and efficiently. The customer is at the heart of everything we do. We know what you want - because it is what we want as equestrian consumers ourselves. We are ‘designed by customers, for customers’

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

Six months before our launch, we set up a Facebook page, Twitter account and holding page for our site. By the time we launched, we'd built a social media following of nearly 18,000 fans and followers and a healthy subscription list. Our social media channels allow us to keep in touch with our customers in ways we never imagined before we launched! It's amazing when fans share content we've produced or curated because we want to provide our audience with engaging content that helps them practically with their horses.

Paid search has been a great way to get our name out there with prospective customers and to reinforce our brand identity. You have to be careful with how you structure your campaigns to make sure you're investing in the right keywords. We've spent a lot of time trying to get that right.

By referral we mean Newsletters. We try not to be too spammy and always make sure the content we deliver is engaging and relevant.

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?

There are so many great apps in the Shopify appstore, it's difficult to choose just one! We've picked out a few of the less well known apps. These are gems that may get overlooked!

- Shopify Wishlist - super app and the support given by Jeffie is awesome. Now our customers can tell their friends what they like!

- Metafields editor - this nifty app has allowed us to do all kinds of great things on our site as it allows us to add custom attributes to our products. We can use it to set links to buying guides, size guides. Super app!

- Variant Images - this app allows you link an image with a variant. So what? That means when a customer chooses the blue jacket, the image of the blue jacket gets displayed. Neat and simple!

What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?

1. Know your customer. Who are you serving? Where are they? Why would they buy from you? If you don't know your customer, how can you possibly find and even sell something to them? Take time to understand your market - and don't stop there! Make sure you put a phone number on your site - you'll be amazed what you can learn in a sixty second telephone conversation with a customer!

2. Know your product. Go to trade fairs to meet suppliers so you can learn about the market. Buy your own products, test them, wear them, eat them (if you're selling food). How can you expect people to buy your products if you don't live and breathe it yourself? If a customer sees you're not using your own product (and they will), they'll never buy from you. It's true!

3. Stay curious. Use the Shopify ecommerce university. Browse the forums. Read the Shopify blog. Subscribe to other blogs outside of your vertical. Study companies that sell products well in different markets. There are so many great resources out there. One of our favourite blogs is 50 Ways To Make Your First Sale. see here http://www.shopify.co.uk/blog/11415817-50-ways-to-make-your-first-sale.

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