Automation promises to help you take care of your day-to-day business needs with little to no effort, so you can focus on the bigger ticket items.
Unfortunately, the very tools that promise a quick path to automation often end up being more of a headache than they’re worth—from steep learning curves to compatibility issues with your current ecommerce solution. And because no platform offers a built-in ecommerce automation tool, developing one yourself means devoting research and development time, and resources.
Then, came Shopify Flow
Since the launch of Flow, merchants have steadily been relying more and more on the power of automation to help their businesses run better. To date, merchants are offloading 1 billion decisions per month. That includes over 14 thousand unique use cases, and that number is growing by roughly 150 new use cases every single week. In short, merchants have seen firsthand the awesome power of Flow and they can’t get enough.
The new Shopify Flow is on a mission to help merchants automate repetitive tasks and get more from their existing apps through connections that weren’t possible before, so they can get back to building their businesses.
So how does Flow make this possible? By using a three-step visual builder, Flow lets you put repetitive, labor-intensive tasks on autopilot, without needing to touch a single line of code. You can use out-of-the-box templates that are ready to go, or quickly create your own customized workflows that solve your unique business needs. And since Flow integrates with your existing apps and solutions—and lets you connect them together—you get more value and power, allowing you to create and automate whatever you want. Find out more
Shopify Flow’s simplicity is matched only by its power: the possibilities are entirely customizable and nearly infinite. But we wanted to make it even easier for merchants to implement ecommerce automation in their business operations. So here are 10 workflows that solve common business problems that you can put to use right away.
Now, onto the Shopify Flow workflows:
- Track and reward your top customers
- Review high-risk orders
- Hide, pause, and republish products
- Track pre-order purchases and kick off email campaigns
- Automate your product review process
- Cancel, refund, and restock orders from known bad actors
- Automate inventory management and reordering
- Gain insights into your returns
- Notify customer service of a draft order
- Track special orders based on conditions
1. Track and reward your top customers
A study at Harvard Business School discovered that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. This is how the top-performing ecommerce companies retain their best customers, setting them apart from merely decent ecommerce companies.
Before developing these customer relationships, you need an idea of who your most active top customers are, and what they’re up to at your store. If you’re at a loss for where to start, look at the ones who are most active right now, and connect with them.
With this workflow, you can easily implement loyalty and retention initiatives by segmenting customers with customer tags based on their lifetime spend. In the same workflow, you can notify your customer service team when customers have passed spend thresholds so your team can add loyalty points to their account.
2. Review high-risk orders before capturing payment
As you know (all too well), dealing with high-risk orders is a headache. They often require some combination of manual sorting and verifying orders, contacting facilities, and paying product costs and chargeback fees. Custom clothing retailer Shelfies dealt with this exact problem.
Using Shopify Flow, Shelfies set up a workflow that immediately identifies orders flagged as high risk and automatically sends an email to the appropriate printing manufacturer requesting that production be halted and the order be canceled.
You can now download a workflow built with a similar foundation. In this case, high-risk orders set off an action that will send an email or Slack notification to your customer service team to review high-risk orders before capturing payment.
If the order risk is medium or low, Shopify Plus will automatically capture the payment. For this workflow to execute properly, you must have manual payment capturing setup for your store.
3. Hide, pause, and republish products
Stockouts happen. Most visitors are completely fine with that. The problem happens when the merchant doesn’t communicate that the out-of-stock item is, indeed, out of stock.
Perhaps they saw the product in an advertisement, got excited, only to find that it wasn’t available.
When an item goes out of stock, this workflow automatically hides the product from your online store and notifies your marketing team to pause any marketing efforts that include that item. When the item is back in stock, it will republish the product to the online store and let your marketing team know to reactivate the ads.
4. Track pre-order purchases and kick off marketing campaigns
Pre-orders have never been as effective for brands as they are today. Merchants around the globe are leveraging them to build excitement for upcoming product releases and to get a better gauge of total demand. You can learn more about how pre-orders work in our recent blog.
With this workflow, any item tagged as a pre-order is automatically tracked in a spreadsheet and all of the pre-order information is sent to your preferred email marketing app. That way, you can kick-off a nurture campaign to all pre-order customers and ensure that they stay excited about their purchase.
5. Automate your product review process
With more and more customers shifting to ecommerce, product reviews have never been more important than they are today. As reported in Retail Inc, 95% of customers are influenced by online reviews. Since a review can have such a major impact on conversion, it’s critical to have a strong review program in place.
With Shopify Flow, you can completely automate your review program and ensure that you never miss the chance to correct a negative review. When a new product review is created, Flow will check the star rating and then determine the appropriate actions. For example, 5-star reviews will be tracked in a spreadsheet and shared with sales and marketing so they’re aware of the positive things customers are saying about the product.
On the other hand, any 1- and 2-star reviews are immediately tracked in a spreadsheet and a support ticket is created with customer service to reach out to the reviewer and determine what went wrong with the product or buying experience.
The reviewer will also receive loyalty points in all scenarios for taking the time to complete a review.
6. Cancel, refund, and restock orders from known bad actors
Shoppers aren’t the only ones driven by a deal—flash sale events also attract bad bots and fraudsters. Flow is ready to help you take them on, with bot protection built into Shopify Plus. And being ready for these bad actors adds additional protection during busy sales periods, like Black Friday/Cyber Monday, when you’re probably too busy to catch them yourself. This type of multi-layered security approach is what Union Los Angeles used to stop bots from buying coveted sneaker collabs before actual consumers could.
And this Flow is beyond easy to set up—all you need is the email or IP addresses of known resellers. Then, if a blacklisted shopper places an order, Flow automatically cancels it and restocks the item in your inventory, so that the people who matter most—your actual customers—get through first.
7. Automate your inventory management and reordering for low-stock items
Inventory management can be complicated. Amidst all the other crucial activities for your company, you can’t leave it to a purely manual process.
Lest you end up like Spikeball, who ran out of inventory in the midst of its three-year 2,754% growth spurt.
You can use this workflow to automatically reorder any product that reaches low-stock volumes.
Your team will automatically receive a notification, and Flow will send a reorder email to your vendor. Flow will also add a tag so it can display low stock at your store to create urgency for the customer.
8. Gain insights into your returns
A refund is a terrible thing to waste. It’s not just a lost sale, it’s a pain that can cause you to improve your store for someone else, or to win back the customer. For example, Smoke Cartel learned that responsive customer service was crucial to minimizing refunds.
With this workflow, you can tag customers who have refunded over $100 in an order. You could then create a support ticket to follow up specifically with that customer to see why they weren’t happy with the products or the experience and figure out how you can improve.
A return provides an opportunity to improve, and this workflow makes it easier for you to do that.
9. Notify customer service of a new draft order
Some workflows can and should be very simple. In this example, when a draft order is created manually or by a customer via the wholesale channel, your customer service team is notified to add shipping fees, review the order, and collect payment.
It also adds tags to the draft order for organization and reporting purposes, as well as updating the draft order note with order process status.
10. Track special orders based on conditions
Manually managing and tracking special orders can be a pain in the neck. As mentioned previously with Shelfies (a specialty custom retailer), it requires heavy coordination and back-and-forth with multiple parties.
Plenty of room for error.
This Shopify Flow workflow notifies you and automatically adds order tags when a certain kind of order is created. You can use powerful operators and conditions for use cases such as these:
- Customer’s email address includes “.edu” or your domain name
- Segment-specific discount code is used (or not used)
- Orders that come from a certain sales channel
- Orders that come from a particular billing country (or not)
- Customers whose purchase is tax-exempt
- Shipping method price is free
- Specific payment gateways are used
- Discounts on the order totaled above a set threshold
This workflow can be customized to fit all sorts of different orders and conditions. It’ll take you as far as your imagination goes.
Ecommerce Automation Software Really Can Save You from Complexity
Shopify Flow makes commerce better for everyone. With purpose-built templates, easy-to-customize workflows, and the ability to sync with all your existing apps, it flat out helps you get more done. So start using Flow and turn your attention back to growing your business and thrilling your customers. Find out more.