If there’s one consistent enemy that ecommerce business owners have almost regardless of the size and sector of their store, it is complexity. After all, it is complexity that makes many of the most important backend operations overwhelming, laborious and confusing.
Wouldn’t it be great, then, if some kind of automation software existed to enable ecommerce businesses to automate business processes? We’re talking about something that would enable you to say goodbye to having to sift through extensive data to know which customers spend the most on your site, or having to manually scrutinise every order to guard against fraud.
Well, as it happens, such software does exist for Shopify Plus merchants. It’s called Shopify Flow, and it’s all about creating workflows to automate businesses tasks and processes that you might otherwise have been forced to do manually.
It’s an invaluable tool for bolstering your ecommerce business’s efficiency – but what, exactly, can you use Shopify Flow to do?
Explaining triggers, conditions and actions
Before we delve into some specific Shopify Flow examples, let’s touch on some of the terms you’ll hear about in relation to this automation software, and what roles they play. Basically, in order to set up any of the automations – or ‘workflows’ – that Shopify Flow makes possible, you need to choose specific triggers, conditions and actions.
- A trigger is an event that starts, or ‘triggers’ a workflow. It can be something that happens in your store or in an app. A good example of a trigger could be a customer placing an order in your Shopify Plus store.
- A condition, as the term suggests, is about setting the conditions for an action to be taken. A given workflow might only be triggered, for example, if the customer above has placed an order with a value exceeding £300.
- An action is the actual action or change that is to be made if the aforementioned conditions are met. So in the event, for instance, that the customer does place an order with a value of more than £300, you might have a workflow that adds a tag to the given customer account.
What are Shopify Flow connectors?
You’re also likely to come across references to Shopify Flow connectors. Connectors allow you to automate across apps, creating workflows with a combination of triggers and actions that are from Shopify or an app you have installed that has built a connector.
If you wish to create a workflow that involves a connector, the process is simple: install Shopify Flow, and then install an app that has built a connector. You’ll then need to set up the app. This process will naturally differ across different apps; for some, it’ll simply involve creating an account, while for others, it might entail adding information about your store, or subscribing to a paid service.
Finally, you’ll just need to set up a workflow in Flow, by adding the parts we have described above. So just to go through it again, that means adding a trigger that begins the workflow from an event in Shopify or from an app.
You’ll then need to set the conditions determining whether the workflow should run, and finally an action to end the workflow, the task being carried out in a store or app.
Shopify Flow examples you should know
So, now that you’ve hopefully got the gist of how a workflow works using this software, it’s time to look at some of the best – and most popular – Shopify Flow examples.
- Receiving notifications when product inventory is low
- Creating a task in Asana when product inventory is low
- Receiving notifications when out-of-stock items are in high demand
- Tracking wholesale applications in a Trello board
- Texting a discount code to the customer after their second order
- Sending an email to a customer when one of their ‘wish list’ items is on sale
- Emailing a discount to a customer on their birthday
- Beginning a win-back email sequence for at-risk customers
- Sending a ‘thank you’ email for reviews of at least four stars
- Awarding loyalty points once a customer has paid for an order
- Showing different landing page hero banners to VIP and non-VIP customers
- Creating a customer-service ticket in response to a negative review
- Tagging and organising new products by title
- Adding suspicious orders to a Google Sheet for review
1. Receiving notifications when product inventory is low
No ecommerce store wishes to only realise that a certain in-demand product is out of stock, long after actions should have been taken to replenish it. That’s why it’s such a great thing that Shopify Flow allows for workflows to happen specifically in response to changes in your store’s inventory. The Inventory quantity changed trigger enables workflows to be created that track changes in inventory, checking Product variant inventory quantity so that if stock of an item falls to a certain number, a reorder email can be automatically sent.
2. Creating a task in Asana when product inventory is low
We’ve already discussed a fair bit in this article the role of Shopify Flow connectors. Thankfully, various apps have custom triggers and actions that, once you’ve downloaded the apps in question, will be automatically available for you to use in Flow. Just one of those apps is project management tool Asana. So, why not set up a workflow that starts when a given product decreases to a level of stock that would be considered “low” for your business – for example, 10 – and creates a task in Asana that you could even opt to have assigned to one of your team members?
3. Receiving notifications when out-of-stock items are in high demand
There’s both an art and a science to inventory management, with one – perhaps overlooked – aspect being the proactive replenishment of the most sought-after items. The Back in Stock app is great for this. It can be set up to send you email notifications for currently out-of-stock products that are in particular demand, so that you can prioritise the restocking of these items over less popular offerings.
4. Tracking wholesale applications in a Trello board
If your store sells items on a wholesale basis, you’re likely to appreciate a means of better tracking applications customers may make to your store for a wholesale account. You could connect Shopify Flow to a centralised project management tool like Trello, for instance, so that when an application is made in your wholesale channel, a card is automatically added to the board in Trello. That, in turn, makes possible the more transparent tracking and monitoring of such tasks by everyone in your team.
5. Texting a discount code to the customer after their second order
Image source: SMSBump
As other entries in this rundown make clear, there are so many Shopify Flow examples that enable ecommerce store owners to cultivate customer engagement and loyalty. This is another fine one, tapping into the power of the much-maligned discipline of SMS marketing. The principle of it is simple: when a customer places their second order, this workflow allows you to thank them for their loyalty to you, by texting them a discount code using an app like SMSBump. And as those in the know... well, know, SMS marketing can be an extremely potent marketing medium due to its combination of intimacy and high open rates.
6. Sending an email to a customer when one of their ‘wish list’ items is on sale
Shopify Flow also allows you to add tags to your customers on the basis of any of a wide range of characteristics, such as their email address, postal code or order history. This functionality can extend to making a connection between a given customer and their wishlist items, so that if a particular item begins to be offered at a discount in your store, they can be automatically alerted to this by email.
7. Emailing a discount to a customer on their birthday
It’s all of those little, caring touches that can so often make the most difference to how customers perceive you. One such touch could be sending your customer a birthday email that contains not mere marketing guff, but a discount code they are actually likely to appreciate.
This is also a relatively straightforward workflow to make happen. It can draw upon data captured with LoyaltyLion and automatically adds customers to a list in an customer engagement platform like dotdigital, where rules can be set for automatically sending each customer an email on the right day.
8. Beginning a win-back email sequence for at-risk customers
Don’t allow any customers of yours who become inactive to stay inactive. Instead, use an email sequence to freshly engage them again, while giving them an obvious reason to come back to your store, such as a discount code. This workflow begins when a unique algorithm in a loyalty program app like LoyaltyLion detects that a particular customer is “at risk”. The Klaviyo email marketing app can track this and respond with an automatic win-back email sequence.
9. Sending a ‘thank you’ email for reviews of at least four stars
Yotpo is a valued app among many Shopify Plus merchants for collecting product reviews, site reviews and photo reviews. So, in the case of this example, someone creating a new Yotpo review could be the trigger. The condition could be the customer’s rating being at least four stars, and the action could be a tailored email being sent to the customer to thank them for that four-star review, perhaps suggesting they join your loyalty program to get rewards for referring your brand.
10. Awarding loyalty points once a customer has paid for an order
Image source: LoyaltyLion
Loyalty-points schemes have long been integral to many merchants’ efforts to build strong long-term relationships with their customers. So as you might imagine, there are various possibilities – including through apps like Yotpo or LoyaltyLion – to create Shopify Flow workflows to encourage loyalty. Those could include awarding double loyalty points to a customer as soon as they have made a purchase over a certain amount, or in response to them submitting a review.
11. Showing different landing page hero banners to VIP and non-VIP customers
In today’s world of ever-greater personalisation, your industry competitors will be going further than ever before to give each of their customers the most tailored and consistent experience. But are you currently doing the same? If not, you might be interested in learning how Shopify Flow triggers can be used to divide your customers into different Nosto segments for automatic and stress-free personalisation to cater to their different needs.
This helps to ensure – with the help of apps like LoyaltyLion and Yotpo – that you can provide an exclusive experience to your most loyal, long-time customers by showing a different landing page hero banner to your VIP customers only.
12. Creating a customer-service ticket in response to a negative review
All responsible ecommerce store owners know that responding swiftly and helpfully to a customer’s complaint can help to make an opportunity out of a seemingly adverse and undesirable event.
Again, there are various Shopify Flow examples of how at least a proportion of this process can be automated. One way of doing this could be using the Stamped.io app to collect customer reviews, and when a customer review is submitted of two stars or lower, a workflow could create a customer-service ticket in the Gorgias live-chat and helpdesk app. This ticket could include contents of the review and the customer’s contact details, to make it easier to reach out to them with a feedback survey.
13. Tagging and organising new products by title
You don’t even necessarily have to do your own product tagging with Shopify Flow. That’s because you can arrange for Flow to do this and add the given product to manual collections. Imagine, for example, that you’re creating a new product in your store with the word ‘t-shirt’ in the title. You could have a workflow set up that automatically puts a t-shirt tag on this product, and adds it to your store’s Summer collection.
14. Adding suspicious orders to a Google Sheet for review
Various fraud prevention apps are also available in the Shopify App Store. You might therefore take advantage of this to create a workflow that – in the event of your chosen app determining a particular order to be suspicious – adds a row to a Google Sheet. You or a member of your team could then check the specific entry in the sheet, to decide whether the given order really is an unwanted one before you proceed to fulfil it.
There you have it – just some of the ways in which Shopify Flow triggers and connectors can allow your ecommerce business to keep on automating, and automating, and automating, for all manner of key tasks.
Just imagine, in the process, how many hours you could save each year... and how much in sales and revenue your business could be generating as a result, thereby powering its growth.
Get in touch with the Underwater pistol team to learn more about what Shopify Plus and it's exclusive features, like Shopify Flow, could do for your business.