3 Ways to Make Automation Work for You
Automating repetitive tasks can be a powerful way to scale your business

Why automation?

Automation is a way to get computers to work for you, without manual intervention, right when you need it. Store owners and their staff have better things to do than manually input specific information, rearrange spreadsheets or send notifications. These tasks, called workflows, are really just a list of steps that are triggered to answer questions and take action based on the answers. It's a way for repetitive tasks – from the mundane to the incredibly important – to be run quickly and predictably. 

Here are our three favourite ways to automate your Shopify store:

1 - Go with the Flow

Shopify Plus powers some of the most popular stores online. It has many great features; one of its best is Shopify Flow, an ecommerce automation tool that is included in all Shopify Plus platforms. Here’s how to make Shopify Flow work for you:

First, identify an event that happens in your store, such as an order being created or a new product being added. From here, a workflow can be designed to proceed through a series of conditions to determine the next step(s).

Some workflows have just one or two steps, while others have many; Shopify Flow lets you use logical operators like AND and OR to create even more powerful workflows; the level of complexity is up to you! It’s surprisingly simple to set up, and Shopify provides all the data necessary to quickly set up workflows to do that work. 

Here’s an example: you can create a workflow which determines whether the customer came to the store through a holiday marketing campaign. If they have, it adds a tag to the customer record and updates the order note (a task that, though important for marketing analysis, is definitely worthwhile to automate):


An example marketing campaign workflow

Shopify has also made external actions available. These allow the workflow to interact with systems outside of Shopify, such as sending email notifications to a particular person or group, or Slack notifications to your Slack channels. You can also use it to interact with external vendors, third-party websites, and cloud applications. 

Find out more about Flow triggers, conditions and actions on Shopify's help centre, along with many more examples and guidelines.

2 - Like and subscribe

It’s been proven again and again that subscriptions and recurring orders are some of the best ways to add a predictable income stream to your store. This is especially important to seasonal businesses, for whom a reliable injection of cash during the offseason can make the difference between succeeding or not. 

There is a tradeoff, however. Subscriptions and recurring orders require a great deal of monotonous -- yet essential -- time spent to re-input customers’ credit card details and adjust their order preferences and information at each of your delivery intervals. Without this, your products can’t ship on schedule. These tasks can be automated, though, by adding a brilliant app like Bold Subscriptions to your store. This app populates the required fields for you, based on the information your customers provide. So, you set up the subscription options and intervals you’d like to make available, and your customers manage their own information and preferences. 

Recurring income and time saved? Priceless.


3 - Stop fussing with spreadsheets

Too many orders? This is one of everyone’s favourite problems to have. But, once your business grows past the point of being easy to manage, and once fulfilling the floods of orders involves third parties or warehouses, it might be time to think about a better way to handle your order exports. 

Your warehouse, fulfillment partner, delivery staff or 3PL each may require your order export information in a different format than Shopify’s default. While it’s easy to rearrange your export spreadsheet to meet their needs, it’s time-consuming to do repetitively, especially if you need to repeat this process for each order. 

An order export app like Exportify can save you hours every month by automating and simplifying your order workflows. This app sets up a customized format that works for you and your partners, then automates the rest. It’s compatible with major shipping, accounting and custom production workflows, and you can even choose when, how, and whom you’d like to be notified about new orders. 

The power of automation

These are simple, effective features to help your store grow bigger, faster. Automating repetitive tasks can be a very powerful way to scale a business and improve your customer experience using technology that integrates beautifully with -- or is built right into -- your Shopify and Shopify Plus platforms. 

Whether it's tagging high-value customers for personalized service or offers, or just having an app take a mundane task off your hands, automation means that you can put more time into what’s important: your business and your customers.