Automate Shopify operations to save more time
Running a Shopify store is hard work. Between marketing, customer service, inventory management, fulfillment, and other areas of managing an ecommerce business, your team's time can be taken up by lots of manual and repetitive tasks. Wouldn't it be great if you could automate manual tasks so you can focus on more strategic projects?
Due to the rise of Shopify's App Store, thousands of apps have been introduced that can free up time for you and your team. Email marketing, rewards, SMS marketing, customer service, live chat, subscription management, shipping, fulfillment, and other types of apps are great at their key focus areas. But even they're limited because not every app is integrated. You need a true automation solution that can integrate your apps and workflows.
In this Shopify automation guide, we'll go over how to automate your Shopify store and the best tools for automation.
What is Shopify automation?
Shopify automation focuses on eliminating all of the manual processes and tasks involved in running your ecommerce store. This is done through workflow automation and unifying your app integrations.
The benefits of automating your Shopify store
Automation used to only be available for enterprises that could spend lots of money on developers to build custom workflows and use APIs to integrate apps. As a Shopify store owner, you can automate your workflows and daily tasks through the App Store and integrations. But why should you automate in the first place? Here's how you benefit from automation:
Remove manual work
Manual tasks are prone to human error which can harm your business in the long run. Just one mistype on a discount code could lead to customers getting 100% off instead of 10% off. Creating shipping labels takes time and can delay shipments if the person creating the labels gets distracted or has to deal with an emergency. Many manual tasks these days can and should be automated to reduce human error and improve productivity.
Tagging customers is an important part of managing your Shopify store. By giving each customer a unique tag based on their purchase or browsing history, you can segment your campaigns and messaging to further improve conversion rates and average order value (AOV). Automated tagging also isn't available with Shopify Flow, so it still has to be done manually.
One of the best benefits of automation is that it allows you to scale your business quicker than ever before. Instead of hiring multiple people to work on manual tasks, you can build workflows that help your existing team scale their productivity. For example, with customer service automation, you could create automatic replies to common questions to reduce the number of tickets your support team has to handle on a daily basis.
Another automation can be used for fraud. As your Shopify store grows, fraudulent orders will become more common. If an order has a high-risk level, you can automatically cancel the order to prevent a chargeback and save money in the long run.
Better data collection & analytics
You have many data sources when running a Shopify store. With so much data being generated in real-time, trying to manage all that data in multiple apps or databases is time-consuming and makes you miss out on potential
Integrate all your Shopify apps
Most Shopify stores are using at least 10 apps from the Shopify App Store to run their day to day operations. Some of the best Shopify apps like Klaviyo, Smile.io, Postscript, ReCharge, Gorgias, and more are used by thousands of Shopify stores. But they don't all integrate with each other. For example, SMS is a rising channel for online stores that can outperform email and become the central point of communication with customers. Wouldn't it be great if you could send emails to customers about your rewards program
Can I use Shopify Flow to automate?
Absolutely - as long as you're on Shopify Plus. Since Shopify Plus can't be used by other types of stores, you have to rely on Shopify Apps being able to integrate with each other.
For example, ShipBob is a leading 3PL service for Shopify stores. Instead of sending tracking updates via email where they might not get checked, wouldn't it be great to integrate ShipBob with Postscript so SMS notifications can be sent with delivery updates? The issue is that Postscript and ShipBob don't have an integration. They have open APIs, but you'd need a developer to help build that automation in Shopify Flow.
Luckily, Shopify Flow alternatives make custom automation and integrations possible.
Examples of Shopify Automation workflows
We've talked about the benefits of automation. But what does an actual automated workflow look like? Here are some examples of automated workflow templates you can implement to automate your Shopify store:
Marketing automation is a big focus for many growing Shopify stores. By automating marketing tasks, you can create personalized campaigns for each customer to help improve conversion rates and see a better return on investment (ROI) for your marketing campaigns.
Send a coupon email when a customer is tagged
As mentioned earlier, tagging is important for segmentation. If a customer leaves a negative review, you could tag them as "negative" and automatically email them a coupon to improve their rating of your business.
Reward your customers with a discount code when their friends sign up
Referral marketing is powerful when it's automated. With this workflow, when a new customer makes a purchase, you can collect their friends' email addresses and email them discount codes of X% with suggestions on what to buy.
Automating customer support means you can spend less time on replying to common questions and more time focused on improving products, shipping, and other areas of your business to improve the customer experience.
Ask the customer for a review after their order is delivered
Happy customers tend to leave positive product reviews, but many Shopify businesses don't ask for reviews when a product is delivered. By using this workflow when an order is marked as delivered, an email or SMS message is sent to the customer asking for a review.
Email customer after purchasing a specific product
Order confirmation emails are pretty standard these days and every Shopify store needs to use them. When an order is processed, you can send the customer an email after making the purchase to confirm their purchase and its estimated delivery date.
Send an email to a customer when an order is tagged
Sometimes, an order needs to be tagged for a specific reason. Some of those reasons can include fraud detection, shipping delays, out of stock notifications, and more. So when an order is tagged, an email is sent to the customer notifying them about their order.
Shipping & fulfillment
Shipping and fulfillment automation allows you to speed up delivery rates and more efficiently pack your orders. It also allows you to better manage your inventory to ensure products don't go out of stock.
Automatically pause advertising when inventory starts running low
If you're running a successful ad campaign that's causing your inventory to run low (congrats on the successful campaign btw!), you can use this workflow to automatically turn off the ads once you reach a specific inventory threshold.
Send a low stock notification when product variant inventory drops below a threshold
Can't sell products without inventory right? If inventory drops below a certain threshold, an email or text is sent to your team to let them know it's time to reorder the product(s).
Notify customer that order is low inventory, buy fast
The fear of missing out (FOMO) can be a powerful incentive to make customers buy your products. Once the inventory level for a specific product reaches a certain threshold, you can send a text or email your customers to notify them that the product is running out fast and get them to make a purchase.
Fraudulent orders and chargebacks can be a big drain on your profits. With automation, you can prevent fraud to protect your Shopify store.
Notify staff and tag fraudulent orders
Your team has to be made aware of any fraudulent orders. When an order is placed and it's high-risk, a "Risky" tag is applied and a team member can begin verifying the order.
Cancel the order and email the store owner if the order risk level is high to prevent fraud
Want to automatically cancel high-risk orders? When a new order is placed, check if the order is listed as high risk and if the conditions are met, cancel the order and email your team notifying it was canceled.
Upselling can be a great way to improve customer retention and AOV - especially if you personalize recommendations for each customer.
Use email to cross-sell products that are complementary to the ones they'll be receiving in their next shipment
Here's an example of an automated personalization email: When a customer makes a new purchase, get all the items in the same product category and trigger an email campaign to the customer with product recommendations.
Send customers an SMS message with a special upsell offer
SMS is a great channel on its own. For customers with a certain tag, you can send them an SMS message with a discount code.
How to begin automating your Shopify store
Now that you're ready to automate your Shopify store, you have a few options:
- Use Shopify Flow, but you have to be on Shopify Plus
- Use Zapier, but they have limited integrations with Shopify apps
- Hire a developer to build custom integrations, but that's expensive (at least a $10k minimum)
- Use Alloy - an automation tool built specifically for automating Shopify stores
Here's why you should use Alloy for Shopify automation:
Built for Shopify
Alloy is built specifically to integrate with Shopify and its ecosystem of apps. You can seriously be up and running with automated workflows in 5 minutes. Check out the Alloy Automation app on the Shopify App Store to get started right now.
Integrates your favorite Shopify Apps
We have integrations with leading Shopify apps like ReCharge, Gorgias, Postscript, Smile.io, Shippo, and more. New integrations are available every week. Want to see a specific integration? Contact us and we'll let you know when we can build the integration!
Pre-built workflow templates
We've built a library of over 100+ workflow templates that you can easily use and customize for your Shopify store. Best of all, the workflow templates are free and won't cost you extra fees to use.
With ecommerce automation, you can scale your store to new heights while saving time for your team. By automating simple and complex tasks, your Shopify store can keep up with the competition and grow even more.
To learn how Alloy can help automate your Shopify store, click the button below to request a demo.