You have a Shopify shop and want to expand your offer with one of the integrated Shopify apps? You've searched everywhere for options with good reviews that aren't completely overpriced? Disheartened by numerous reviews about bugs and annoying errors, you wish you had chosen a different e-commerce software?
Hang in there, we'll help you. Because the solution you're looking for isn't called another Shopify app: it's called automation. Shopify automation with Zapier, to be precise. For almost every Shopify app, there is a simpler automation via a cheap Zapier account.
In this post, we'll show 10 examples of successful Shopify automations with Zapier that will save you time, money and nerve-wracking Shopify apps, increase your customer retention and let your customer journey benefit from Shopify automation.
That sounds too good to be true? From the experience of our successful projects we can claim:
We have been able to reduce the cost of Shopify apps in all our client projects, replacing them with scalable custom developments that save time, money and effort.
However, this blog post is mainly about the core functionalities of Shopify to show that not only fancy marketing automations are possible, but also everyday tasks that are necessary, important and time-consuming can be automated.
The entire blog post is also available as a PDF:
Shopify is one of the world's largest e-commerce software that enables small and medium-sized businesses to open, manage and develop their own shop. Among the many shop software on the market, Shopify impresses with its user-friendliness, flexibility and scalability as your shop grows. There are numerous Shopify apps that also help you to expand and advance your shop.
However, many of these apps are expensive, don't work as they should, have well-known bugs and are simply unattractive for small and medium-sized shops.
The good thing about it? Shopify's technical infrastructure is ideally suited for automation through its interface (API) and can therefore be integrated by Zapier.
Zapier is a cloud automation application that connects a company's different apps to automate simple tasks. These pre-built process steps (called "zaps") create an automated workflow that allows users to move data between web applications. This results in a process that is defined from start to finish and can be extended by many "if, then" decisions (see detailed description here).
No programming knowledge is needed to create automations and workflows in Zapier. The interface is intuitive and easy to understand and the community is extremely helpful if something does not work as desired.
The individualization also allows you to define workflows efficiently and exactly according to your ideas. This saves you time and effort and does exactly the work that nobody likes to do anyway.
Accordingly, Zapier can connect and automate a variety of apps and thus help to optimize various business processes:
As a certified Zapier expert, 0hands is the leading provider of complex cloud automation in the DACH market. We enable sophisticated automations via cloud platforms, according to the requirements of our customers. Instead of expensive and rigid custom developments, Zapier creates flexible, scalable and cost-efficient cloud automations. You can read more examples here .
Is this all a bit too complicated and time-consuming for you? Leave the automation to the professionals
We admit that this is very basic Shopify automation, but we still love it because it represents everything that automation is: it takes on a necessary, yet undemanding, repetitive and boring task so that it doesn't have to be done by a human.
We just upload a new receipt automatically, like this:
Furthermore, a CSV file is created and uploaded, which allows us to be easily used for cash flow calculations.
Do you offer a product or service in your shop that is also available as a subscription? If customers order this subscription, you have to store this information in a separate management system of your choice. Or you can use a Shopify app for this.
That's right - you just automate it instead. This Shopify automation is especially suitable for small and medium-sized shops that don't sell many subscriptions but still want to keep track of them. Instead of spending a lot of money on an overkill app solution, we automated this task for a Shopify customer.
Whenever customers order a subscription, the relevant employees receive a notification in Slack to store the customer information in the management software. At the same time, the information about the shipping date, the delivery address and the product is transferred to a Google Sheet. We could go further and automatically generate a new order and invoice every month.
Your advantage? Save the money for a Shopify app! The corresponding apps cost at least 60€ per month, but if this is only a small part of your business, it's extremely expensive. Best of all, Shopify automation grows with your business. Even if your subscription sales increase.
May we introduce?
Address validation in Shopify - what a cramp.
The problem: There is basically no built-in address validation in Shopify. You can put letters in the post code field, numbers in the street name field, place orders with no post code at all.... it's terrible.
And as always: there is a Shopify app for it. But it only works really well in the USA, not in Europe. And it has poor usability. And it's expensive. And is not automated.
So We Built This in Zapier!
Step 1: We check whether the post code is actually a post code by matching it with the existing post codes of the selected country.
Step 2: We split the post code if post code and city name were accidentally entered in the same field
Step 3: We match the address with a geo-code from Google. We can't explain in detail how we do this because we'll get in trouble with our lawyer and Google's lawyer, but we found a way to get the geo-code from Google to validate the address.
Step 4: If we do not receive an error code from Google, congratulations! We have a valid address. And that's with only 10 lines of code.
BUT the process does not end here. There is still a bonus:
Step 5: We also validate the phone number via regex. This is important for our clients because sometimes it is necessary to call the client during delivery to find the right address, room, floor or door.
Step 6: We have also implemented a validation for the order code. This might sound familiar: After a shopping cart is abandoned, customers who have already entered their email address receive a reminder email through a Shopify app of your choice, asking them to complete the purchase. The customers decide to do just that and boom: there is a new order without an order date. What a bug!
Note: We can't publish every single line of code but we do our best to give you a good impression of it.
We have solved this known problem with code and now whenever an order date is missing, we add it automatically.
So we were able to solve three significant Shopify problems in 50 lines of code: Address validation, phone number validation and order date validation.
On the one hand, this saves expensive validation apps, errors in delivery, expensive returns due to wrong phone numbers and makes it possible to send follow-up orders automatically.
This Shopify automation would not be possible with any other tool except Zapier, because only Zapier can add and execute code so individually and easily. That's exactly why we love Zapier.
In addition, the cost of a corresponding Shopify app for large shops is around 1500$. The project in which we were able to solve these three bugs for our customer had a value of 1000€. The return on investment was therefore immediately given and exceeded with this Shopify automation.
Now that we've written a lot about very technical Shopify automations, it's time for the exciting part:
Shopify automations for retention management and improved customer journeys.
We built this Shopify automation for a client who sells flowers and bouquets online and delivers them directly and personally to their customers' homes or offices. To improve their customer engagement, we built a unique automation that sends personalized and automated emails to customers as soon as the order is packed, with an attached photo of the exact flowers ordered.
Increasing the number of returning, loyal customers and their profitability can have significant benefits. The effort you put into attracting new customers should not be in vain. Once you have acquired new customers, you want them to buy your product or service again and again.
This often happens through memorable, outstanding customer experiences and customer journeys. From the moment customers search for your product or see it for the first time, they have an impression of your company. Let's make the most of it!
Studies suggest that improved customer retention has a direct impact on profitability: When your customers are convinced and engaged, the increase in turnover can be up to 3.4 times more than normal.
So focusing on customer journey and retention to increase revenue and profitability is a great way to grow your business. Automation can help with these goals and we'll give you a really creative example of exactly how.
When the flowers or bouquets for the order are ready to be sent, they are photographed beforehand. A handsome man takes the flowers, smiles at the camera and continues packing.
What happens then is pure automation fun:
There is a tiny little QR code on the flowers. With the help of artificial intelligence, the QR code is read so that it is clear exactly who the flowers belong to. All the information is uploaded to Google Drive, logged in a new column of a Google Sheet and then processed further: The customers receive a personalized email with just this picture of their flowers in the hands of the handsome man with the information
"Hey, your flowers are on their way to you, packed and sent by hand and with lots of love".
Wow! That's what we call innovative retention management. And it goes down really well with our client's customers. They feel valued and look forward to their order.
Now it's getting a bit more sober again. We have built an automated warehouse inventory management system using Shopify, Zapier and Airtable.
All products listed in Shopify are also listed in Airtable. Whenever a certain defined value is fallen short of, an order is automatically triggered to the suppliers. This value is calculated on various parameters:
There are 3 columns in Airtable: seasonality, moving average and minimum value.
The best way to explain this is with an example:
The product inventory in Shopify reaches the value 10, the minimum order quantity for the corresponding supplier is also 10. However, it is September and seasonality tells us that the order value for this month should be a minimum of 25. We have obtained this information via the empirical value of the last few years. However, if we find that an average of 50 units has always been ordered over the last few months, then this moving average beats seasonality and 50 units are ordered.
This is exactly what automation is: statistically driven inventory management
This Shopify automation is possible with and without statistical evaluation and we have both variants in operation with our customers.
As soon as a defined value of a product has not been checked or updated for some time, it is possible to send an automatic notification with the request to check ads product in the warehouse. "Are the products expired? Still in stock at all? Dusty? Ready to ship?". This is how stock monitoring runs in the background.
If you offer different collections of products in your Shopify shop, different employees may be responsible for the collections. With Zapier it is possible to assign tasks in Slack or Asana as soon as a certain criterion is met. As an example:
Peter is the product owner for vegetable boxes. There was a new subscription for a vegetable box, which doesn't happen too often. As explained in #2, Peter does not use an overpriced Shopify app, but an automation that informs him about new subscriptions. Besides the notification in Slack about the new subscription that he should manually transfer the customer information into the management software, it is also possible to create Asana tasks:
As Peter enters all information about new subscriptions once a month, he receives an Asana task for that very date and customer with all relevant information from Shopify - transferred directly into Asana.
Of course, there are Shopify apps for that too. But by now you probably know the motto: Automation via Shopify Apps:
With each order you can assign custom fields or tags. To invoice your affiliates correctly, you can charge them automatically. Via tags, collections, custom fields or the product itself, the automation tets knows which product belongs to whom and whether it is an affiliate product or not. This way, the shares and the absolute amount of commission are always tracked and calculated automatically. It is also possible to offer your affiliates a dashboard where they can see their current commission. At the end of the month, your clients will also receive an automated invoice.
The same applies to influencer marketing: Let's say you commission influencers to create a post with your product. The influencers inform you about the post in a customized form including the exact time when it will be posted. Within the first 72 hours of publishing the post, the influencers will receive a higher commission on all orders received with the specific voucher code.
Why do all this? This way you can make sure that influencers don't just publish your product as a sponsored post and leave it at that, but also care about the community and engagement.
You can activate users for a hidden Shopify shop depending on their email domain: Users register for a hidden B2B shop via a form. Via an interface, we then check whether the domain is a company domain and whether it belongs to competitors (this is done by comparing it with the commercial register, Google and Bing entries). If it is not a competitor, the email domain is activated and the person can enter the shop.
In addition, we have automated a complex direct shipping management for a customer with an attached warehouse and inventory management.
Through Shopify automation, we can create custom fields for your print label to speed up your warehouse fulfillment. The print label is printed with various custom fields and codes that make it easy for staff to find the product in the warehouse without getting in the way of the logistics provider's codes.
As you may have realized reading this blog post, it's almost inevitable to use code in automation at some point. As much as we love Zapier's approach to accessible and easy-to-use automation, we think that for big projects like the ones presented here, it takes developers with professional knowledge and skills to drive your custom Shopify automation.
As a certified Zapier expert, we benefit from our years of experience and have automated numerous Shopify customers. We are happy to support you in the analysis and subsequent automation of business processes, explain possibilities and individually address the business processes. We look forward to getting to know you in a free 20-minute Shopify automation and Zapier consultation. Or don't hesitate to send us a message .
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