Shopify automation with Zapier: a perfect match. 10 examples of succesful automation of your Shopify store

February 2021
Shopify-automation-with-Zapier

You own a Shopify Shop and want to broaden your offer through one of the integrated Shopify Apps? You’ve looked for a well-rated option, that doesn’t cost the earth? Discouraged about several reviews of bugs and misfunctions you wish you chose a different E-Commerce-Software? 

Hold on, we got your back. The solution you’re looking for is not another Shopify app: It’s automation. Shopify automation with Zapier, to be clear. Because for nearly every Shopify app there´s an easier automation through a cheap Zapier account. 

In this post, we’ll show you 10 examples of successful Shopify automations with Zapier, that save you time, money, nerve-wrecking Shopify-Apps, increase your customer retention and let your customer journey benefit from Shopify automation. 

Sounds too good to be true? We’ve automated over XX Shopify Shops with Zapier and let’s just say: 

We were able to decrease the costs for Shopify Apps in all our customers projects and replaced them with highly scalable, individualized developments to save you time, money and effort.  

However, in this blogpost we want to focus on the core functionalities of Shopify to show you that not only fancy marketing automation is possible but also everyday tasks, that are necessary, important and time consuming.  

Get this full blogpost as a PDF-file for free here:

Shopify automation with Zapier

Shopify Automation – work smarter instead of more – Grow instead of administrate 

Shopify is one of the biggest e-commerce-software worldwide, that enables small and medium-sized companies to launch, manage and develop their shop. Amongst the many shop-software on the market, Shopify impresses with its usability, flexibility and scalability as your online store grows. There are numerous customized apps for Shopify, with which you can enlarge your shop.

However, most of these apps are expensive, don’t perform that well, have well-known bugs and are just not attractive for small and medium-sized shops. 

The good thing? Shopify’s technical infrastructure is ideally suited for automation through the interface (API) and offers possible automation with Zapier. There is extensive documentation available for this. And we’re making use of it. 

What is Zapier?  

Zapier is a Cloud-Automation tool that connects a company's various applications to automate simple tasks. These are ready-made process steps (so-called Zaps) to create an automated workflow, with which users can move data between different web applications. This then results in a process that is defined from start to finish and can be supplemented by numerous "if, then" decisions. (A more detailed explanation can be found here)  

Zapoier Experten Deutschland Zertifikat

No programming experience is required to operate the Zapier interface and to set up such workflows. The interface is intuitive and the community is very helpful as well, in case something doesn’t work out.   

The individualization allows workflows to run efficiently and exactly according to your ideas. This saves a lot of time and effort and takes away exactly the work that nobody likes to do.    

Zapier can thus connect and automate a wide variety of applications and therefore help to optimize numerous business processes:  

  1. Automate routine tasks like manual data entry. 
  2. Automatically move data from one application to another (never copy and paste again).  
  3. Automatically back up data from multiple sources to one central location
  4. Connect applications that don't normally "talk" to each other and save the cost of hiring a developer.  

As a certified Zapier expert Wemakefuture is the leading Zapier service provider for complex automations in the DACH market. We enable complex automation with the cloud platform according to the customer's wishes. Instead of expensive and rigid individual developments, Zapier creates flexible, scalable and cost-effective cloud automation. You can read more examples here.

The best thing about Zapier? 

It runs code. Python or Javascript – however you like. And in this post, you’ll see why this is one of the most powerful tools that Zapier provides for your Shopify automation. Because every shop and every customer’s needs are individual and different, we sorted that out and enable extensive Shopify Automation via Zapier, over 2,000 Apps available in Zapier and the great magic of coding. 

Let’s dive in. 

#1 Basic Shopify automation: receipt upload 

We admit that this is a very basic automation, but we love it as it is everything automation stands for: It takes over a necessary, yet undemanding, repetitive and boring task so that humans don’t have to do it. 

We upload a new receipt automatically, here’s how: 

Whenever a new receipt has been created, we enlarge it with Javascript custom coding, assign the correct payment type, date of creation and thus create a pdf-file, which is uploaded in Dropbox. The Pdf includes various Shopify fields such as name, date, billing address, shipping type, payment type, shipping address and phone number.  

There’s also a CSV-file created and uploaded, which allows us to use it easily for a cashflow calculation. 

#2 We love this: Never care about a subscription notification again 

You offer a product in your shop, which is available as a recurring subscription? If customers order this sub, you have to set up this information in your separate management software of choice. Or you could use an expensive Shopify-App for this. 

OR... 

You guessed it – you automate it instead. This Shopify automation is especially attractive for those small and medium sized shops, which don´t sell a sub that often but still want to keep track of it. Instead of wasting unnecessary money in an overengineered App-solution, we automated this task for one of our Shopify customers. 

Shopify-automation-subscription

Now, whenever a customer buys a subscription, the assigned employee gets a Slack notification to set up the customer information manually in the management software. At the same time the information about the date of shipping, shipping address and product gets transferred to a Google Sheet. We could go even further and create a new order every month, that gets charged to the customer automatically. 

Your benefit? Save money for the Shopify App! Those apps cost min. 60€ per month, but if this is only a small part of your business, that´s ‘hella expensive. The best thing: The Shopify automation grows with your business. Even if subscription sales increase after a while.

May we present to you?

#3 The one Shopify automation that solves three major Shopify bugs in one: Validation of customer data  

Address validation in Shopify – what a pain. 

The problem: There´s basically no built-in address validation for Shopify. You can enter letters in the ZIP Code field, numbers in the town name field, create orders with no zip code at all... it´s a mess.  

And again: There´s a Shopify app for this. But: this only works remarkably well for the US not for Europe. And it has a bad usability. And it´s expensive. And it´s not automation. 

So, we built that in Zapier!  

With only 50 lines of code, Javascript to be exact, we customized Shopify and Zapier to offer our customers a well working, scalable address validation. Let’s break down how this works: 

Step 1: We check if the zip code is actually a correct zip code by comparing it to existing zip codes in the country of choice.

Step 2: We split the zip code accordingly if e.g. the zip code and the city name accidently got typed in in the same field. 

Shopify-automation-ZIP-adress

Step 3: We match the address to a Geo-Code we get from Google. If you´re asking us how we did that: the honest answer is, according to our lawyer, not quite publishable but let´s just say we found a way to work around it and validate the address by getting the necessary information from Google.

shopify-automation-geocode

Step 4: If we receive no error code from Google, congrats! We have a valid address. Checked with only ten lines of code.  

BUT, the process doesn´t stop here. We have a bonus for you:

Step 5: We also validate the given phone number via regex. This is extremely important for our clients, as they sometimes have to call the customers during delivery to find the right address, door, room, floor... 

Step 6: We implemented an order code validation as well. This might seem familiar: After a shopping cart cancellation, customers who entered their e-mail address get a reminder mail of your Shopify App of choice to complete their order. Now the customer decides to complete the order and boom: There´s a new order without an order date. What a bug! 

shopify-automation-phone-and-date-order

Note: we can't publish every line of code but tried our best to give you a good impression.

  

We fixed this problem with code and now, whenever there´s an order date missing, we add it automatically.  

We solved three massive Shopify pains within these 50 lines of code: Address validation, phone number validation and order date validation. 

This saves expensive address validation apps, errors in delivery, expensive returns due to a wrong phone number and makes it possible to send follow-up orders automatically.  

This Shopify automation wouldn’t be possible with any other tool besides Zapier because you cannot execute customized code this easy in competitor´s software's. That´s why we love Zapier.

Moreover, the costs for the according Shopify-Apps for large Shopify stores are approx. 1500$. The project, in which we solved these three bugs for our customer, had a value of 1000€ once. You see: the return on investment for this Shopify automation was given directly. 

Now that we talked a lot about very technical Shopify automations let´s get to the exciting stuff: 

Shopify Automation for Retention Management and improved customer journeys. 

#4 One of the most awesome and fun hacky tool we built so far 

We built this Shopify automation for a customer who sells flowers and bouquets online and delivers them personally to their home or office. To improve his customer retention, we built an outstanding automation, that sends personalized and automated e-mails to the customers, when their order is ready for shipping, with an attached picture of exactly their flowers.  

Excursus: Why you should care about Customer retention

To increase the number of long-term, loyal customers and to increase their profitability can have major advantages. Your effort of acquiring new customers shouldn’t be useless, whenever you’ve gained new customers you want them to stay and to buy your products or services again and again.
This often happens through an outstanding customer experience and customer journey. From the moment a customer searches for your product or firstly sees your product online, they have an impression of your company. Make the best of it!

source: https://www.shopify.com/blog/customer-retention-strategies 

There is research suggesting that customer retention has a direct impact on profitability: If your customers are engaged, they generate 1.7 times more revenue and even better: if your customers and your employees are engaged the revenue gain is up to 3.4 times the norm.
So: focussing on your customer journey and customer retention to increase revenue and profitability is a great option to grow your business. Automation can help you reach these goals, and we give you a creative example how.

When the flowers or bouquets for the customer order are ready for shipping, they first get photographed. A good-looking man picks up the flowers, smiles in the camera and proceeds to pack them for shipping. 

What then happens is pure automation fun: 

On the flowers there's a teeny tiny QR-Code. With the help of AI we render this QR-Code, extract it and therefore know, to which customer the flowers belong. All this information gets uploaded in Google Drive, recorded in a new row within a Google Sheet and then processed further: The customer gets a personalized e-mail with a picture of his exact flowers our bouquets in the hands of a good-looking man with the information

“Hey, you're flowers are on its way, packed and shipped by hand with love”. 

Wow! That´s what we call innovative customer retention management. And our client´s customer love it. They feel valued and excited.  

#5 Warehouse management 

Now it gets a bit more unemotional again. We built an automated warehouse inventory based on Shopify, Zapier and Airtable. 

All products listed in Shopify are recorded in Airtable as well. Whenever a certain, fixed limit value is undercut, an automated order for the supplier is initiated. This limit value is calculated based on several parameters: 

There are three rows provided in Airtable: Seasonality, moving average and minimum value.  

Let´s explain that with an example: 

The product inventory in Shopify reaches the value 10, the minimum order value for the supplier are likewise 10. However, it is September and seasonality tells us, that the order value for this month should be minimum 25. We get this information through the empirical value of the last years. If we notice however that during the last months an average amount of 50 units has been ordered, then this moving average beats the value of seasonality and 50 units are ordered.  

This is automation: statistically driven warehouse management  

This Shopify automation is possible with and without statistical evaluation and we have both in use for our customers.  

#6 One small example of Shopify automation: Stock monitoring 

Whenever a certain value of a product has not been updated, it´s possible to send a notification with the request to validate the product in the warehouse. “Are the products expired? Still in stock? Dusted? Ready for shipping?” 

#7 Task Management 

In case you offer several collections of products through your Shopify Shop, maybe different employees are assigned to these collections. Through Zapier it's feasible to assign tasks in Slack or Asana when certain criteria are met. Let's give you an example:

Peter is the product owner for vegetable boxes. There was a new subscription order done for a vegetable box, what doesn't happen to often. As explained in #2 Peter doesn't use a Shopify app for this but rather an automation to keep track of subscriptions. Apart from being noticed in Slack, that he has to set up the customer information manually in the management software, it's also possible to create an Asana task for this: because Peter processes all information about subscriptions once a month, he gets a task in Asana for this exact date and customer with all relevant information out of Shopify - all set up in Asana.

#8 Improve your affiliate marketing while staying on top of it 

Of course, there are Shopify apps for this. But by now you may know the spirit: Automation over Shopify apps: 

With every order you can add custom fields or tags. In order to bill your affiliates, you can charge them automatically. Through tags, collections, custom fields or the product itself the automation always knows which product belongs to whom and if it´s an affiliate product or not. This way, the percentage and total amount of commission is always tracked and calculated automatically. It´s even possible to offer a dashboard where the current commission status is viewable for affiliates. By the end of the month your customers get an automated invoice as well.  

#9 How to push your influencer marketing to the next level with Zapier 

Same goes for influencer marketing: Let´s say you have an influencer posting a picture with your product. The influencer informs you about this post in a custom form with the exact time they´ll post it. Within the first 72 hours from the time the post gets published, the influencer will receive a higher commission on all received orders with the custom voucher code.  

Why that? This way we ensure that influencers don´t just post a sponsored post and leave it, they´ll also care about the community.  

#10 Hidden B2B Shops 

You can activate users for your hidden Shopify Shop based on their e-mail domains: Users register for your hidden B2B store via a form. Via interfaces we then check whether the domain is a company domain and if this domain belongs to a competitor (this works through a comparison with commercial register or Google and Bing entries). If it´s no competitor, the customers E-Mail domain is activated and he can enter store.  

We also built and implemented a complex Drop-Shipping Management for a customer with an attached Warehouse- and inventory-management system.  

Through Shopify automation we can create custom fields for your print label to fasten your warehouse fulfilment. The print label gets printed with various custom fields and codes to help employees find the product faster in the warehouse, but they don´t interfere with the codes of the logistics provider.  

Bring your Shopify Shop to the next level with Shopify automation and Zapier

As you may have realized while reading this blogpost, it's nearly inevitable to use code at some point in the automation journey. As much as we love Zapiers approach to accessible and easy-to-use automation, for big projects like this we think it needs developers with professional knowledge and skills to boost your individual Shopify automation.

As a certified Zapier expert we benefit from years of experience and have automated several Shopify clients so far. We're excited to get to know you in a 30 minute, free Shopify automation and Zapier consultation. Or feel free to send us a message. We are happy to support you in uncovering potentials, examining possibilities and implementing automation.

Cloud Integration, iPaaS, SaaS, BPA… Ough, hard to keep track of all these terms. They are currently used frequently (and increasingly) in the context of automation, and it is sometimes difficult to make a clear distinction and distinction. We have already written blog posts on the terms iPaaS, SaaS and BPA, but we’ll take them up again here to make the difference.

But let’s start with cloud integration, because that’s the central umbrella term in which we embed all the other technologies in this blog post.

Arrange a free cloud integration consultation now

What does Cloud Integration mean?

What does Cloud Integration mean?

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  • Is available in real time
  • Can be accessed from almost anywhere
  • Reduce potential sources of error by entering the same data multiple times
  • Require less installation and maintenance
  • Can optimize business processes

Arrange a free cloud integration consultation now

To illustrate these advantages, an example is suitable that we know well from our everyday work as an automation agency:

The central data to be used here is the data of a major customer. This can be the simplest information, such as the address. This address is required in numerous but completely different processes in the company: on the one hand, for correct invoicing in accounting. On the other hand, in the CRM system, where all the data of the large customer is also stored. But the address is also important in sales, for example, when employees go to the sales meeting on site.

Now the customer announces that the address of the company has changed after a move. This information will reach you by e-mail. There are now two options:

01. The e-mail is forwarded to all affected departments, accounting, sales, customer service, marketing… All persons open their corresponding program, CRM, accounting software, marketing tools (such as newsletter marketing) and change the data already stored there of the customer. This means that in multiple applications, different people do exactly the same thing: change one address.

02. But there is also an alternative: By connecting your applications, thus by integrizing them, the customer’s e-mail, or rather the information it contains about the address change, is automatically passed on to all affected applications: CRM, accounting, marketing, ERP. This does not require any clicks, because the cloud integration detects a trigger, i.e. address change, and thus automatically starts the process.

What sounds unimpressive in a single process becomes more effective when such a process occurs several times a day or weekly. Because there is a lot of data that is available in different applications and should always be correct. If these applications are cloud applications they are suitable for cloud integration.

But cloud integration doesn’t just happen. There are now a variety of applications that enable and implement this. Such tools usually allow us to link the relevant cloud applications on a central platform and define clear rules on when, how, where, how much data should be passed on and what happens to them.

IPaaS, SaaS, BPA, ABC – who can still see through it?

To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used interchangeably.

We have made a first distinction between iPaaS and BPA here.

We explain the term SaaS in more detail here.

Here the short version, again:
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Cloud integration cannot be done without SaaS, iPaaS and BPA

Cloud integration is rather an umbrella term that includes numerous technologies, such as SaaS, iPaaS and BPA, and this is also absolutely necessary. Cloud integration is a concept that is made possible by appropriate technologies.

However, all terms share the commonality that they are cloud-based and thus offer enormous potential for growth and scaling. In addition, they are often cheaper to implement and maintain because changed requirements are easy to implement.

As an independent automation agency, we implement cloud integration according to your requirements. We use a variety of SaaS tools and iPaas (strictly speaking BPA) software. Together we find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable.

Arrange a free cloud integration consultation now

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We advise you independently and offer our expertise.
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Automation consulting. Automate. Improve. Succeed.

We advise you independently and offer our expertise.