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4 min read

Automation for eCommerce businesses

By Zapier Editorial Team · March 1, 2017
An eCommerce icon showing a laptop with a shopping cart on the screen.

Products don't sell and ship themselves. No matter how great your eCommerce store is, you'll still need to market your products, ship orders, communicate with customers, and keep your store running smoothly. As your business grows, you can easily end up spending more time managing your store than you do creating new products and expanding your market.

Here's how to take back your store and get more done in less time, with Zapier automated workflows that can do your most tedious tasks on their own. You'll have more time to talk to customers and create the next big thing to sell.

Share new products

You've already taken the time to make beautiful listings for each of your new products. Now you need to share those products with the world—and Zapier can do that automatically. Just create your product listings as normal, and as soon as they go live, these Zaps will share your new products on Facebook and Twitter automatically.

Post new Big Cartel products to a Facebook Page

Post new Big Cartel products to a Facebook Page
  • Big Cartel logo
  • Facebook Pages logo
Big Cartel + Facebook Pages

Find out whenever you make a sale

When someone places an order, it's time to celebrate—and time to get to work. You'll need to pack your products for shipment, let your customers know you've received their order, and head out to the post office. You'll want to get on it ASAP—and these Zaps will help you do it. When a customer makes a purchase, Zapier can send a message to a channel in your team chat app, like Slack or Microsoft Teams. The relevant team member can then follow up. And those who aren't involved directly in any post-purchase tasks, such as a manager, can track daily activity. Creating a channel specifically for purchase notifications is a key part of this workflow so team members can check in as needed. This keeps everyone from being overloaded with and distracted by frequent notifications.

Stay on top of failed charges

There are few bigger headaches than when a customer’s payment source falls through. It’s like braking when you’re sailing along the highway at a smooth 70. To mitigate the whiplash, you can create a Zapier workflow that automatically posts in Slack when there's a failed charge in a payment processor like Stripe. This will prompt the relevant person assigned to this channel to act.

Advanced technique: Add another step to your Zap to automatically email your customer from a platform like Mailchimp to notify them of the failed charge and prompt them to enter another form of payment.

Ship your products

Or, you might not even have to ship your products yourself. Maybe you're making a digital product, like an eBook or course, and just need to send the file to your customers. Perhaps you're offering a service, and just need to book a time to work with your new client. Or you could have a physical product, but are using Amazon warehouses or a printing service to ship it directly.

Zapier can get those orders shipped without any extra work. Just set up a Zap that watches your store or payment processing service for new orders, and link it to your shipping tool to get your product sent out automatically.

Track your customer info

Shipping your order isn't the last time you'll talk to a customer. Ideally, you'll get repeat orders—and every now and then, you may need to process returns and refunds. Either way, you'll want a record that includes each of your customers. Let Zapier build that for you automatically by listing your new customers in a CRM, spreadsheet, or anywhere else you'd like to track customer data.

Manage your store accounting

You should never need to copy and paste info from your store into your accounting systems—and you shouldn't need to export and import data manually, either. Zapier can keep your accounting up to date automatically, adding each new sale to your accounting apps. No matter which app you open, you'll always have the correct financial data.

Make sure you finish everything

New orders often come with a lot of extra tasks. In addition to shipping products, you'll need to talk to customers, track inventory changes, and perhaps customize products or offer additional hands-on support. That's why you'll need a to-do list with every task for every sale in one place. Zapier can build that for you, logging new tasks as soon as a new order comes in.

Find out what customers think

Your products are likely great—but they might not be perfect. There might be something you've overlooked, something that's not working for customers as great as you'd like it to. The best way to find out is with a survey.

Surveying your customers doesn't have to take much time, either. Just have Zapier send out a survey invite to each of your customers, and you'll automatically get a feel for what's going great—and what isn't. You can even get your customers to share their thoughts by reviewing your products online, something that just might be a new marketing channel that helps you acquire new customers.

Market to your customers

Your job isn't done yet. Now that you have some happy customers, it's time to keep marketing to them. After all, they're the most likely to recommend your products to others and buy them again.

So build an email newsletter, and add your customers to it. Whenever someone new buys your products, Zapier can keep your list up to date by adding the new customers to the list. Then, send regular emails to share new products and specials, and you'll have a group of people ready to buy and share whenever you have something new.

Learn more
  • Whether you're just starting your first store, or need tips to help you run an existing online store better, Zapier's free Ultimate Guide to eCommerce has the tools and tricks you need.

  • Need help building your email list to market to customers? Our Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing is the first place you should start.

  • Find out what customers really think with our guide to writing effective survey questions.

This article was updated in October 2021 to incorporate information from a post by Leah Levy.

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'