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eCommerce automation: 5 ways to increase your sales speed and streamline your marketing workflow

Automation inspiration

5 min read

eCommerce automation: 5 ways to increase your sales speed and streamline your marketing workflow

By Alison Groves · November 3, 2015
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The holidays are coming. And if you sell anything online, you know that the "most wonderful" time of the year can be the most stressful, too. Gift-giving season translates to long hours for you and your team, and fewer hours with family and friends.

Adding automation to your eCommerce strategy can help you spend less time fulfilling orders, and more time with the people you love. Tedious tasks like keeping up with new customers, sending emails, and cataloging orders can be handled in the background so you can get back to the important stuff.

Here are five Zaps that our customers use to stay on top of their eCommerce efforts, cut out time-consuming tasks, and make more sales. Consider them an early gift, from our community to you.

P.S. Return the love in the comments: How do you use automation to simplify eCommerce?


Add new customers to your email list

"Zapier has enabled us to do this in a completely automated way, so we can focus on our business rather than manual additions of data on a daily basis."

When someone purchases your product, they're giving you a digital high-five. They believe in what you're doing, and they want to be a part of it in the future. Is there anyone better to add to your email marketing lists?

But adding new customers to your email lists one-by-one is the definition of tedious. And in the hustle and bustle of the season, do you want to take the time to sit down and do it? This is the part where you shake your head "no."

Instead, let a Zap do the work for you. That's how men's clothing company Mizzen+Main built relationships with their customers, without wasting a minute on copy/paste.

"Mizzen+Main is constantly adding new fans," says CEO and founder Kevin Lavelle. "We think it is imperative to stay in communication with them as often and efficiently as possible. In order to do that we needed to find a solution that integrated with Shopify, our eCommerce platform."

Using Zapier as the glue, Mizzen+Main constructed an email-based system for staying in touch with their biggest fans.

"We wanted to be able to welcome our new customers via email to thank them for subscribing to our mailing list. We also needed to communicate with them anytime they pre-ordered a specific product, in order to ensure they received notice on delivery times," Lavelle says. "Zapier has enabled us to do this in a completely automated way, so we can focus on our business rather than manual additions of data on a daily basis. It has made our operations and customer service far more efficient!"

Create New Customer Records in Your CRM

Your work isn't done when someone makes their first purchase. If you want to make repeat sales, you need to create a connection between you and your customer.

A CRM app can help you track each person's purchases, contact information, and interactions with your brand. It allows you to take customer relationships to the next level.

Right now you might be creating contact records by hand, adding a lot of extra work to your day for no good reason. Zapier is connected to more than 30 CRMs, meaning chances are you can cut this tedious job out of your day once and for all.

Curious about what a CRM could do for your business? Download our free guide to choosing and setting up a CRM.

Turn orders into tasks

"This is a flawless system and gives our team all the order details in each task on Asana in no time."

You made a sale—great! But now the real work starts: fulfilling and shipping everything to your customer. If you streamline that process by using a task management app, that means manually creating a task for every order, copy-and-pasting the order details into your to-do app, and moving it through your fulfillment process.

Unless you're using Zapier. A Zap can automatically add new orders, and any relevant details, to your favorite task manager. That means you can focus on keeping your customer happy.

Zeke Murphy uses Magento to host his online eco store, Sustainable. And thanks to a Zap, he can automatically create to-dos in his team's task management app, Asana, based on the details in an order from Magento.

"This is a flawless system and gives our team all the order details in each task on Asana in no time," he says. "Orders can be tracked, updated and commented on in Asana seamlessly. We really look forward to exploring Zapier further to give us more functionality and automation in our business processes."

Send Personal Emails to New Customers

Many eCommerce platforms allow you to send some sort of email—like an invoice or a confirmation—to anyone who purchases a product. But if you really want to build a relationship, you should send welcome and thank you emails, too. Even better if that message comes from your personal email address, whether that's via Gmail, Outlook, or another service.

Connect on a more intimate level with those new customers by automating an email that comes directly from you. It's an easy way to welcome people, to gain feedback, and begin to build an important relationship with that customer. Saying a simple and personal thank you has never been easier with just one automation.

Back up sales to spreadsheets or databases

"A manual process would be error-prone and eat up substantial staff time—a non-starter for a small business like ours."

The very essence of eCommerce is knowing exactly what you have sold, how, and when. Unfortunately, that can take the form of a messy, exported spreadsheet full of merged data. That's a recipe for human error.

One of the simplest automations you can set up is a Zap that sends every new sale to a spreadsheet or database. Something like Google Sheets or can easily catalog each new sale, and will always keep a running account of everything that's been purchased from your store.

At Raaka Chocolate, Matt Keesan helps run a limited-edition chocolate subscription program called First Nibs. He uses Zapier to track every order in a spreadsheet.

"Every month, our head chocolate maker creates two brand new flavors and mails them to our subscribers," he says. "When someone orders a gift plan through our Shopify site, we need it recorded in our master spreadsheet for both shipping and business intelligence. Zapier made it totally trivial to drop every new Shopify order into Google Sheets. A manual process would be error-prone and eat up substantial staff time—a non-starter for a small business like ours."

Ryan Detwiller, Senior Designer from Open Mesh had a specific problem he needed to solve with a sales promotion, and turned to a Zap to handle the heavy lifting.

"We first used a Magento to Google Sheets Zap when we needed a way to track orders related to a buy two, get one free promo we were running," he says. "We set up Zapier to send any orders with that specific promo code into a Google Sheet, so at the end of the campaign period we had a report with the details of every customer and order ready to go. The team could check the Google Sheet at any time to see how successful our campaign was.

"From there, we had to set up a customer with custom pricing, but only on a certain number of units. Every time that customer places an order, Zapier tracks it in Google Sheets and sends us an email so we can keep an eye on it."

You can use spreadsheets for more than just number crunching. Here's our guide to transforming Google Sheets into a custom CRM.

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Alison Groves picture

Alison Groves

Alison Groves formerly worked on community and partnerships at Zapier. She's an amateur homebrewer, vinyl collector, and semi-pro sports yeller.

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