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E-Commerce Automation With Shopify Flow

E-Commerce Automation With Shopify Flow

17th September 2021
17 Minute Read

Shopify Flow, the e-commerce automation is ready to support nearly any task or process that merchants could dream up.


Written by Madeleine

17th September 2021
17 Minute Read

E-Commerce Automation ⚡

For 16 years Shopify has powered hundreds and thousands of ecommerce stores across the globe and in that time, we’ve all learnt a thing or two about helping businesses to scale and grow.

One of the most fundamental aspects of an efficient business revolves around the use of custom workflows. The purpose of customised workflow is to automate and fulfil everyday tasks that would otherwise take up a sizable chunk of the working day and trust us when we say there are better things that your team could be putting their minds towards.

Repetitive tasks are a monotonous attribute of the working day and let’s face it, nobody here wants to have to deal with them. We believe that this is why Shopify targeted this grey area so that the lives of merchants on the platform could be made easier.

So, the team sat down and thought about what they could do to make this problem disappear. Ultimately all that was needed was an idea for how the re-occurring mundane tasks of business could be managed without everyday manpower and that’s where Flow comes in:

Introducing Shopify Flow

Shopify Flow is a merchant’s first and final port of call for e-commerce automation, as the application provides Shopify Plus stores with the ability to save time and cut out the excessive costs of human error.

Flow is the one size fits all approach that many businesses welcome with open arms to achieve a carefree way of running their day-to-day task list.

Whatsmore is that store owners can sleep comfortably at night knowing that their workforce is focusing on the areas that truly matter to keep the self-sufficient business turning.

Shopify understands that merchants want the easy life and with Flow, online stores can set up and go as the application requires nothing more than a one-time installation. So, why not leave the tedious repetition of a daily checklist to Flow? You just might be able to give freedom back to your businesses in the process.

The Key Features of Shopify Flow 🔑

Shopify Flow is like the painkiller that all merchants should want to take. As we’re sure you know, tedious and repetitive tasks are a wasted resource of money, time and energy. So, why should brands continue to face this influx of unnecessary pressure and strain?

The simple answer is that they shouldn’t and if all truth be told we can’t believe that there are stores on Shopify that are yet to discover Flow for themselves which is why we’ve dedicated today’s guide to the wonders of Flow and everything that it provides for stores on Shopify Plus.

Many of you will be new to the concept of Flow but fear not as we’re here to help you understand the purpose that the solution plays for many online businesses. So, here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect from the application:

Build What’s Needed: Create custom solutions and processes to keep things running smoothly for your business.

Save Time, Achieve More: Turn repetitive manual tasks into automated workflows and allow your team to get back to what’s important.

Automation In Seconds: Activate workflows in just 3 clicks with pre-built templates for common use cases.

Do the above characteristics sound like something your business could benefit from? We think so too so, why not stick around for the rest of the article to discover the full extent of what Shopify Flow has to offer your online store?

The Role of Shopify Flow

With Flow, Shopify merchants can build workflows to automate; tasks, campaigns and processes within their store and across their apps.

At this point, we’re sure that you’ll know the purpose of Flow is to give power back to the business at hand, but before you get started with Flow, take your pick from the library of available templates, or use the visual workflow builder to create custom automation of your own.

Then, all that’s left on your to-do list are the tasks that you need to do so, don’t worry about anything else, Flow will take care of the rest:

N0.1: Buyer Experience

Kick-off nurture campaigns for preorder purchases.

Create support tickets when your business receives a negative review.

Track negative product reviews within a spreadsheet.

N0.2: Customer Management

Personalise marketing by tagging customers based on their past purchasing behaviours.

Organise customers by lifetime-spend tiers.

Tag and track the conversion of customers that order samples.

N0.3: Inventory & Merchandising

Get notified when products are low in stock and merchandise them in your store.

Hide and show products based on their inventory level.

N0.4: Risk Management

Send a high-risk order notification before capturing payment from the customer.

Cancel and restock high-risk orders.

Track high-risk orders within a spreadsheet.

N0.5: Order Management

Tag orders with specific shipping requirements.

Add international orders to a spreadsheet.

Send an expedited shipping notification to the logistics team.

N0.6: Loyalty & Retention

Reward loyalty points to your customers for adding items to their wishlist.

Start a win-back email sequence when customers are at risk.

N0.7: Promotions

Add a free gift to orders valued at over $100.

Text a discount code after the customer makes a second order.

Mail a handwritten note after the customer makes the third order.

As you can see from the list above Shopify Flow is the one size fits all solution to automation that has made it beyond easy for merchants to create custom capabilities without the use of code and in recent months, Flow has made some important changes to its criteria that fundamentally altered the positive impact that it provides to merchants on Shopify Plus.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at all of the details below:

The New Shopify Flow 🙌

Here’s a run-through of the new and improved aspects which Shopify Flow can now perform to deliver smarter commerce for merchants on the platform:

N0.1: Easily Access Data Points In The Admin API

This exciting new capability is a really big deal where e-commerce automation is concerned, as the latest updates for Shopify Flow has dramatically increased the number of fields that merchants can select to build conditions and actions for automation.

Additionally, Shopify Flow allows merchants to dive deeper into their store's data and build flows that simply haven’t been possible until now.

For instance, online stores can now build a workflow off of a product tag within an order, such as tracking final sale items. Whereas in the past, Flow could only go as far as order-level data which did not allow merchants to access the specific product data within it.

N0.2: Building Complex Workflows

The new Shopify Flow e-commerce automation tool has greatly enhanced the available options for stores on the platform that would like to build a workflow. Practically speaking, this means that merchants can build complex automation by leveraging advanced condition logic and workflow sequencing.

Merchants can now build workflows that contain “or” conditions, alongside being able to compare one variable against another. For instance, a merchant could build a fraud workflow that checks for any orders over $10,000. Additionally, Shopify stores will have the power to check if a customer’s billing country and shipping country do not match. Should either of these criteria be met, Flow will send an email for merchants to review the order manually.

In addition to the advanced condition logic, Flow allows merchants to determine the specific order of operations within automation. This capability is especially important if stores are in a position where they need to hide an out-of-stock item before initiating a reorder or alerting marketing to switch to a new ad campaign.

All in all, the advanced condition and order options combined with even greater access to Shopify data makes this e-commerce automation tool more flexible than ever.

N0.3: Simpler Navigation and UX

The goal for Shopify is to make it super easy for any business on the platform to create new workflows which is why they’ve focused on the tasks that users would benefit from most. With the new Shopify Flow update, the team has made; triggers, conditions and actions simpler to delete and modify. Furthermore, it’s easier than ever for online stores to determine which apps integrate seamlessly with Flow.

So, now merchants can easily locate a; trigger, condition or action by simply typing into the new search bar and all related topics will immediately display on-screen.

Triggers, conditions and actions in nested menus are now grouped, which means that businesses can start with an overarching topic and then drill down to the specific option that they need.

Additionally, all third-party apps that integrate with Flow are now visible in the trigger and action menus which enables merchants to view which of their apps have connectors or are available for use within Shopify Flow. So, there’s no guesswork here, just straight-up business.

This next point may sound simple, but the change to how users delete items with Flow has been altered. Previously, if merchants deleted any item within the workflow, the item, as well as the workflow’s contents created after this, would be lost.

Shopify knows that this caused a bit of an “Oh no, what have I just done?” moment for many merchants, so the platform has fixed this issue. So, now when businesses need to remove an element from their workflow, this can be achieved by removing that specific item only - which in our opinion is how it should be.

Of course, you’ll still need to relink anything that’s no longer connected, to make your workflow smooth again, but other than that, everything is in place making workflow alterations easier than easier.

Unmatched E-commerce Automation

Unlike many of its competitors, Flow was designed to empower merchants so that they can quickly activate pre-built workflows and build their own custom solutions with ease.

Shopify’s entire user interface was designed specifically with ecommerce in mind so that merchants could find the exact options and actions that they're looking for. Then, all that's left to do is plug them in and get started with the task at hand.

Take, for instance, the ability to cancel orders in Flow. On other platforms across the web, merchants would need to painstakingly build out separate actions for every activity related to order cancellation and generally, that would look a little something like this:

Providing a reason for order cancellation.

Notifying the customer that the order has been cancelled.

Refunding the costs for the item and shipping.

Restocking inventory.

As far as Flow is concerned, that platform has provided all of these options in a simple drop-down menu so that merchants can quickly select the steps that they need. This makes the workflow-building process significantly faster and easier for those involved.

Another example that proves Shopify Flow is the ideal e-commerce automation solution is down to the pure level of depth and variety that the application provides when creating a unique workflow.

As we touched upon earlier, Flow can access data from the GraphQL Admin API which means that merchants can dive three layers down and trigger automation at the Shop level, Order level and Product level.

Compared to this, other platforms are only leveraging the REST API, which means that competitors are vastly limited in regards to how many; trigger, condition and action options can be brought into the mix.

For example, imagine that your business needs to be able to send an order that requires refrigerated shipping. With Flow, merchants can set up a workflow to check if any products within an order are tagged as “fresh food.”

In the situation that one or more items in the order contain this Product tag, Flow will add a “Refrigerated Shipping” Order tag to ensure that the order's delivery is shipped and fulfilled correctly.

Unlike Shopify Flow, other automation platforms on the web are unable to dig down to the Order or Product level which means that businesses outside of Flow are simply not able to receive access to a customised solution.

For us, this is criminal, as solutions like this are critical to the success of businesses, as well as providing a positive end-customer experience.

Flexibility With Shopify Flow 💪

At this point in the article, we’re pretty sure that it’s been made clear how useful Flow can be, but we’re not quite finished yet, as we have to mention Flow’s flexibility when it comes to building unique workflows.

A great example of Flow’s flexibility in motion is Shopify’s condition logic. Within Flow, all of the Shop and Order-level conditions are available to a merchant. The platform even allows stores to build "or" conditions and trigger when A or B occurs.

This flexibility ultimately provides online stores with the power to build the custom workflows that they need for specific areas within risk management.

The platform has stated that they regularly hear from merchants on the platform in regards to the importance of minimising the risk of fraud and now, with Shopify Flow on hand to help, businesses can make use of the “order risk analyser” to set custom rules that will trigger a review before an order is fulfilled.

For instance, merchants can now set additional conditions in place to protect their business from fraud. How is this detected? Well, if an order's risk is high and its shipping country and billing country do not match then the order will be triggered for manual review before payment is collected. The same outcome will also occur for orders that are over $10,000.

What’s also great about Flow is that it can build out other risk management branches, by automatically cancelling orders that have come from blacklisted email addresses. This type of risk management customisation is super easy to build in Flow, as the e-commerce automation application was purposely designed to empower brands to create what their business needs.

Command of Commerce at Work

Just like us, Shopify has been doing the ecommerce thing for a long time, which is how they were able to create such an innovative automation tool.

Shopify Flow gives merchants the power to do so much more with their business, in a fraction of the time than they're used to and the application is capable is fulfilling practically any task that merchants could dream up.

We’re pretty sure that the platform cannot wait for more brands to experience the awesome power of Flow so if you’re ready to get started, look no further than the Shopify App Store to download the application.

Dozens of apps already integrate with Shopify Flow and more additions are being added to this list every single week. Check out the Shopify Flow Connecters section in the help centre to see the full list.

So, that concludes today’s article on e-commerce automation with Shopify Flow. What are your thoughts on this update? If you’re actively looking to work with a Shopify agency designer or developer to assist you with your business, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch to get started!

Get Started with Shopify

Looking to get started with Shopify? Take advantage of Shopify's 14-day free trial, no credit card is required.

If you're actively looking to work with a Shopify agency designer or developer to assist you with your business, we'd love to hear from you. Get in touch to get started!

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