As an eCommerce business owner, one needs to take care of a number of backend operations to keep the business running. While you’re able to do it all ‘yourself’ at the start of it, as your business grows, the backend operations start to become more complex, time-consuming and overwhelming. That’s when you have to start looking at actions you do repetitively across various processes and automate them all for effective scaling.
Luckily, for Shopify Plus stores, having to automate various tasks does not require them to move from tool to tool. They can do most of it using Shopify Flow.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through what is Shopify Flow, the benefits of Shopify Flow and Shopify Flow examples that will automate tasks, making your eCommerce operations more efficient, effective and less prone to human error while processing data.
What is Shopify Plus Flow?
Shopify Flow is an eCommerce automation solution created by Shopify themselves to help you easily automate various tasks and processes within your store, and across the Shopify apps you’re making use of to enable them.
The good thing about it is that its functionality is really simple. It requires no amount of coding or development expertise - you can do it all on your own with its three-step visual builder that makes use of a trigger, condition and action logic to help you create custom workflows in just a few clicks.
Shopify Flow basics
Now, if you read the above paragraph carefully, you would have noticed that we used three terms - trigger, condition and action. These three terms form the basics of Shopify Flow and are brought together by something called a connector. So before we move into seeing what Shopify Flow can do for you, let's go over what they mean.
- Trigger - It is an event that marks the initiation or the start of a workflow. It can be something that happens on your storefront or in a Shopify app. The simplest example being that of a customer placing an order in your store.
- Condition - It is basically a setting that you add on top of your trigger that determines whether an action needs to be taken on it. A simple example in correlation to the one we gave above being when a customer places an order above USD $150.
- Action - It indicates exactly that - action that needs to be taken if the above trigger and condition are met. For example, giving the above customer $10 worth store credits for their next purchase.
- Connectors - It is a little connector (its literal meaning) that lets you automate tasks across apps, creating a workflow with a combination of different triggers and actions that are from your storefront or an app you have installed on it.
How does Shopify Flow work?
While the basics essentially explain how Shopify Flow works, here’s a quick video by Shopify to give you a visual explanation of the same:
Shopify Flow examples to inspire your workflows
Honestly, there are innumerable ways to use Shopify Flow. If you can identify a series of tasks/ processes you need to complete every time an event occurs, you can actually automate it and make your storefront work more seamlessly!
But to give you an idea, we’re here to walk you through a few Shopify Flow examples that you can definitely get started with to get your hands dirty.
These are also Shopify Flow workflows that are commonly used by leading Shopify Plus brands to automate various processes across their operations.
1. Receiving notifications when product inventory is low
Imagine running out of stock on a product that is trending in the market and is clearly selling like hot cakes in your store. With Shopify Flow, you can automate receiving a notification when a product inventory goes below a specific number and also send out a reorder email to the manufacturer/ supplier automatically.
2. Creating a task in your project management tool
Let’s assume you’re running a limited period sale and the customers that make a purchase from you during that period, need to be reached out individually to ask for feedback. The task of getting feedback needs to be assigned to different team members. Shopify Flow can help you set up this task-creation automation and even assign a member to it so that they can take the next set of actions required.
3. Receiving notifications when out-of-stock items are in high demand
Similar to receiving an alert on low inventory of hot-selling items, you can set up one for keeping track of the demand on the out-of-stock items. This helps you prioritize the restocking of these items so that you don’t miss out on consumer demand.
4. Tracking and approving wholesale applications
If your Shopify storefront also caters to wholesale customers, you’re probably already seeking ways to keep track of the applications. Shopify Flow can help you do this better by either creating a workflow that brings the applications to your project management board or CRM, so that you can easily keep track of their progress. You can also set up conditions to approve (or not) the applications based on certain criteria.
5. Sending a discount code to keep a repeat customer motivated
Driving repeat purchases can be tough; especially when the consumer has so many options to choose from. When a buyer makes a second purchase from your store, you want to acknowledge their trust in you. This is where you can send them a little thank you with a discount code using Shopify Flow automation.
6. Awarding store credits or loyalty points to customers
Continuing on the above point, you can use Shopify Flow automations to boost your customer loyalty by automatically assigning store credits or loyalty points to buyers for taking certain actions on your store. For example, on signing up for a customer account, creating a wishlist, dropping a review or rating, or making a purchase.
7. Setting up win-back campaigns
No matter how consistent you are at adding value to a buyer, there will be some customers that get distracted by offers from other stores. With Shopify Flow, you can set up a workflow for identifying these customers based on their last activity in your store and trigger win-back campaigns across multiple channels at strategically spaced out intervals. This includes email, SMS, web push and even Messenger!
8. Creating customer support and service tickets
Every time a buyer drops a query on your live chat or submits a negative review, you can actually trigger a workflow on Shopify Flow to notify your team. The team can then reach out to these customers personally to address their concerns and resolve active issues.
9. Displaying custom home page banners to different customers
The reason we go back to Amazon time and again, is the personalization they offer right from the point we land on the store. With Shopify Flow, you can actually do this! Since it helps you automatically segment customers; it can also enable you to display different offers via homepage banners to let’s say new and repeat customers.
10. Monitor and act on fraudulent orders
To save on your shipping and logistics costs, one of the biggest things an eCommerce business needs to tackle head-on, is preventing fraud orders. With Shopify Flow, you can actually set up a trigger to analyse orders received on your storefront, as well as the actions that need to be taken when a risk is detected.
11. Automating communication on abandoned and wishlisted items
There will be some shoppers that leave your store without completing a purchase. Now they may either add the product to cart or simply wishlist it for later. Either way, it’s important to reach out to them as they have shown a purchase intent on it. With Shopify Flow, you can automate reminders across multiple channels and also automate sending a discount to encourage the buyer to make a purchase.
12. Adding inventory updates to Google Sheets for easy review
Another thing that you can automate is keeping track of your inventory and how it is being processed, or performing in the market, in Google Sheets. With Shopify Flow you can automate the movement of data from multiple sources/ apps that are involved in inventory management onto one Google Sheet so that you can review how your store is fairing.
Exploring Shopify Plus Flow workflows
Wait, this is not it. There are way too many automations that you can enable with Shopify Flow.
So if you’re on Shopify Plus, you need to reach out to the developers of the Shopify apps you’re making use of to explore what automations they can enable with the help of Flow. Most developers have custom workflows created to cater to eCommerce automations for Shopify Plus merchants.
You can also request further customizations to the Shopify Flow workflows to cater to your unique needs as your store grows.