In any business, staff are required to execute several hundreds, if not thousands, of small tasks ranging from two to five minutes. Individually, the impact doesn’t appear to be significant; together, however, they are consuming hours upon hours of skilled human resources. Time is finite and precious, so the question remains, how can you do more with less? More specifically, how can you spend more time on growing your business and less time mindlessly performing steps required to complete the dreary frequent tasks that run your business? The answer lies within automation.
Automation drives efficiency by offloading time consuming, repetitive tasks created by the demands of high volume ecommerce. More importantly, it unleashes your team’s potential to do their best work across all departments.
Often times, when businesses look to increase profits, they consume all their resources by focusing on the ability to sell more and save more. In reality, saving time creates opportunities to have more resources available, allowing you to scale quicker and streamline your business focused efforts. As your daily tasks, demands, and processes mount you’ll often see businesses turning to new hires since people don’t scale. This is a haphazard way of compensating for increased workloads. People are very costly, even when it comes to just pushing buttons, which makes it harder to save money. Fortunately, there’s now a turnkey solution available to automate these tasks for you - meet Shopify Flow.
Shopify Flow – ‘Hit Autopilot’
Flow introduces the most effective way to automate real-time alerts and business operating processes. Flow doesn’t only replace an ascending workload performed by your current staff, but it will also never complain, call in sick, or forget to communicate important information that keeps everyone on the same page. Let your staff focus on what they’ve been hired to do - grow your business.
Workflows are created visually using a common language and logic; you don’t need to hire costly developers or have any coding knowledge. Simply choose a pattern specific to your organization’s processes that you’d like to automate. Creating each automation is super easy using Shopify Flow's visual builder. It follows a simple trigger (inventory changed, customer created, order created), condition (out of stock, spent over $100, high risk), and action (un-publish from store, tag customer as “VIP”, cancel order) format.
What specifically can you automate?
Flow allows you to create complex conditions to automate many of your existing Shopify Plus processes. Since launch, the thousands of ‘if this then that’ use cases that have already been identified by creative merchants is astounding and we’ve only scratched the surface of Flow’s potential. The options are limitless - use your imagination.
Here are 10 Shopify Flow examples to improve your organizations processes:1. Security Monitoring: Flow enables merchants to tag orders as “risky” based on specific risk conditions and notify internal security teams instantly.
Save on Chargebacks: Enhance Shopify Plus’ existing risk analysis blueprint to further protect order fulfillment. In addition to automatically halting or flagging orders for review when high-risk orders are identified through IP address checks, address verification system (AVS) or Shopify’s own database, you can now alert your fraud prevention team or security specialists; potentially saving you thousands of dollars in chargebacks and lost revenue.2. Inventory Management: Let your inventory manage itself by automatically replenishing based on specific conditions.
Automate re-orders: Initiate a product re-order with a vendor when inventory dips below a specific threshold, is out of stock, or when preparing for a scheduled sale/promotion.3. Advertising Management: Pause and resume advertising based on inventory conditions. Avoid backorders and keep your customers happy.
Optimize Your Advertising Budget: When products are added to or dropped from your storefront, marketing departments can be notified, forwarded product details, and prompted to start/stop advertising. Also, loop in your design team to queue marketing initiatives such as: “back-in-stock” banners, overlays, and action-oriented visual messages like “buy now - limited quantity remaining" — all of which can be published and unpublished automatically.4. Customer Segmentation: Automatically group your customers based on a host of conditions.
Identify Your Customers: Segment customers with tags based on their lifetime spend, order refunds, order history, campaign source, acquisition channel, device, re-visits, location, etc. to streamline your marketing initiatives.5. Tracking and Reporting: Use Flow to eliminate the need to run daily reports, saving hundreds of hours every year.
Receive Reports Automatically: Whether you’re running reports for traffic, inventory, marketing, sales, etc., run your reports in the morning, afternoon, evening and night and have them automatically appear in your inbox.6. Personalized Customer Service: In addition to creating customer segments and automating reports, notify your customer service agents and sales reps to contact specific vertices of customers.
Customer Service Notifications: Make sure your top customers feel the brand connection. Prompt your sales reps to initiate onboarding and follow up calls when customers in their region place an order or create an alert for your customer service agents to send a handwritten thank you note, a personalized welcome message/gift, a loyalty program invitation, a customer satisfaction survey, etc. to ensure your customer relationships remain strong.7. Product Targeting: Direct customers to what appeals to them most.
Increase Conversion Rates: To help standardize visual merchandising and make discoverability easy, your customers can be automatically tagged to view specific product/collections based on product title, SKU, or type.8. Pricing and Promotions: Adjust your prices and discounts relative to customers’
Bulk Discounts: Give your high-volume customers a discount when they spend over $400 on an order. Simply use Flow to apply a “HV” tag to their account. As they proceed to the checkout a specific discount will be applied to their order.9. Shipping: Create different shipping rules for customers by applying tags specific to email addresses, billing info, mailing info, etc.
Free Shipping for VIP Customers: Give your top customers free shipping when they spend $100 or more on 5 orders by adding VIP tags to the customer. Flow will segment all customers with this tag to give them free shipping on future orders.10. Hide and Publish: Automatically hide, publish and change different elements of your shop.
Storefront Visuals: Display a specific slider, promo banner, product, collection, theme, etc. on your shop based on a variety of conditions such as inventory levels, time periods, campaigns, etc.
Before Flow, there were a variety of tough processes that required a lot of heavy lifting. Developers would play a substantial role in building workflow automation, costing you a lot of time and money. Now you have the ability to create your own workflows in minutes. This is just the tip of the iceberg – there’s still so much more to come, such as the potential for artificial intelligence integrations where, ideally, your system will start automatically creating workflows for you. If you haven’t already bought into automation, don’t get left behind!
Flow is available for all Shopify Plus merchants. If you’re interested in using Shopify Flow with your store, give us a holler to learn how you can get started.