A Family Business Cut Out 90% of the Time Spent on Manual Work

Joey Blanco
Joey Blanco / November 22, 2017

Once upon a time, family-owned brick and mortar stores were everywhere. Need groceries? That's Sarah's Shoppe. Tools? Tim's Toolhouse. Books? Bob the Brain's Book Emporium. Now, it's hard to find local handmade goods and mega-retail stores dominate most towns. Farmer's markets and co-ops can be a treasure trove, but not every city has those.

Australian Woodwork started as a stall at Sydney's Rocks Markets, built from Sarah Davidson and Gregory White's mutual love of woodcraft. The pair then took their business from market stall to physical store. When their storefront closed, they transitioned online with the help of their son, Ben Davidson. The Head of Digital Sales & Marketing, Ben brought Australian Woodwork into eCommerce.

Australian Woodwork's founders, Sarah and Greg, showing off handcrafted bowls.

But instead of expanding the product line, working with new woodcrafters, or taking care of customers, Australian Woodwork found itself bogged down in the tedium of eCommerce. When Ben found app automation tool Zapier, all that changed.

"Zapier cuts down the time we spend manually copy and pasting emails or sales figures into spreadsheets by over ninety percent!"Ben Davidson, co-founder, Head of Digital Sales & Marketing, Australian Woodwork

Create MailChimp Email Lists Automatically

A perfectly timed email can add a sale (or several) to your ledger. Email provides a platform to connect with your customers on an emotional level, encouraging them to become part of your brand's story.

"By adding new customers and prospects to our mailing lists, we ensure they're integrated into our sales funnel," Ben says. "Once in there, we can upsell customers, show them similar products, and share our story."

But first, you need an email list. Australian Woodwork builds their customer email list in MailChimp from several sources. The list grows with every new Shopify customer, Jotform response, and help requests from Olark. With Zapier, Ben built a few Zaps—bridges between two or more apps—to sync each of these channels together.

Zaps connect different apps, using triggers and actions to automate your work.

When a customer purchases through Australian Woodwork's Shopify store, they have a choice to opt-in to marketing materials. If they do, Zapier grabs their email from the order and adds it to a list in MailChimp.

Australian Woodwork's 'Contact Us' form is actually a Jotform. When someone fills it out, another Zap jumps into action and adds that person to MailChimp. Support requests are also added to MailChimp lists from Olark by Zapier.

With these three Zaps, Ben did more than just eliminate tedious, manual work: "We get to work ON our business, not IN our business!" he says. Less copying and pasting means more new pieces and woodcrafters.

"[These Zaps] mean our customers go into our sales funnel instantly, instead of on a delay, which generates sales we wouldn't have otherwise."

Build a Shopify Order Database in Google Sheets

Australian Woodwork isn't the work of only Ben, Greg, and Sarah. They surround themselves with skilled woodworkers from across Australia, providing a wide talent pool and diverse products.

Each crafter at Australian Woodwork receives a percentage of the sale of their products. It's paid out weekly, and until Ben found Zapier, the percentage was calculated manually. "It was very boring, tedious work that we had to do every week," he says.

To track the sales of each contractor's products, Ben built a Zap to connect Shopify and Google Sheets. When new Shopify orders are placed, Zapier sends specific order details to Google Sheets. Instead of spending hours each week tallying products and sales, Zapier automatically sends the data to Australian Woodwork's database.

This Zap eliminates the manual work tied to monitoring each sale. If you spend an inordinate amount of time (which is any amount of time) tracking sales by hand, try this workflow:


Now that Australian Woodwork uses Zapier to create newsletter lists automatically and track sales instantly, they can focus their efforts on acquiring new customers.

"We spend more time on the activities that help most to build the business, like marketing and advertising, increasing our average order size, and much more," Ben says.

All images courtesy of Australian Woodwork.

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