Running an eCommerce store is no easy feat. As your Shopify store scales and your ambitions grow, you may find yourself and your team bogged down by mountains of repetitive tasks. Not only do such errands feel tedious, but they can also be a drain on the time and talents of your team. How can your store blossom when precious time is being spent on mundane tasks?
This is where Shopify Flow comes in. This tool takes the driving seat on repetitive, manual tasks so you and your team can direct more energy to productive and business-growing activities. In this article, you’ll find out all about Shopify Flow and the ways it could be beneficial to your business.
What Is Shopify Flow?
Shopify Flow is an app that gives merchants the ability to automate a myriad of tasks, processes, and campaigns so they get more done in less time.
Workflows are built using a drag-and-drop system and can be used for activities and processes that take place within your Shopify store. Shopify Flow can connect with installed apps to make them perform actions and send data as part of the process.
It’s also possible to create workflows from your Shopify Admin. This means you can execute automation on individual or several orders, draft orders, customers, or products. What’s more, this feature enables users to retroactively run workflows.
How much does Shopify Flow cost? You’ll be glad to hear that this app is completely free! Previously only available to Shopify Plus merchants, Shopify Flow can now be added to stores on the Shopify, Advanced, or Shopify Plus plan.
As it stands, Shopify Flow is only available in English.
How Does Shopify Flow Work?
Workflows are created using a visual drag-and-drop builder. They consist of three components:
- Trigger: this is the event that initiates the workflow
- Condition: the rule that dictates whether or not an action is occurs
- Action: the thing that happens when the condition is met
Shopify Flow uses triggers, conditions, and actions for workflow building (Source: Shopify)
Shopify Flow gives its users the flexibility to build custom automation. There are a ton of triggers to choose from including an order being placed, a collection being added, and a customer account being enabled. You can then set one or multiple conditions, and choose from a myriad of associated actions.
Recent updates give the platform access to any field in the API and the enabling of OR logic in conditions. Therefore, elasticity is among the greatest advantages. Furthermore, Wait actions were introduced in the app earlier this year. It hands merchants the power to make a workflow wait for a set amount of time before an action is executed.
Shopify Flow templates (Source: Shopify Plus YouTube)
For merchants who aren’t quite sure where to start, there are thousands of pre-built workflow templates to choose from. These are all based on some common problems and scenarios faced by e-merchants. The pre-built templates are also customizable.
For apps to be integrated, Shopify Flow uses Connectors. Connectors allow you to make triggers based on app data, or create an action that will take place via the app. Apps with an in-built connector are compatible with and accessible in Shopify Flow. You can find the full list of compatible apps here.
What Can Shopify Flow Be Used For?
Let’s take a look at the use cases and scenarios that the platform is best suited for. Particularly if saving time and being more efficient are your ultimate goals.
There’s nothing worse for your customers than stumbling across a product that they love only to find out it’s no longer in stock. Shopify Flow can help you avoid this scenario by automatically hiding, pausing, and republishing items based on their quantity. It can also instantly send a notification to your fulfillment team so they know that stock needs to be re-ordered.
This workflow could look a little something like this:
- Trigger: stock quantity changes
- Condition 1: check if quantity is less than or equal to 10
- Condition 2: check if quantity is 0
- Action for condition 1: send email to fulfillment team
- Action for condition 2: hide product
Shopify Flow integrates with apps like Slack to automate inventory management tasks (Source: Shopify)
The platform is a real helping hand for surcharging your store’s merchandising process. When new products are added to your store, Shopify Flow can assign tags based on their title, SKU, variants, or type, and add them to appropriate collections.
(Source: Icee Social)
Shopify Flow is a useful tool to create customer segments. Workflows can be set up to identify, track, and tag visitors to your store based on a range of parameters. Useful tags for segmentation include total order, total spend, order cancellation, order history, email address, postcode, sales channel, and more.
Workflow to tag high volume customers (Source: MEM Creative)
These tags can then aid in sending targeted marketing campaigns, and help identify customers for communication regarding customer service. This saves the time of your marketing and customer services team.
Loyalty and retention activities
Speaking of tagging customers, Shopify Flow can fire off campaigns to tagged customers to drive loyalty and retention.
Workflow to help drive loyalty and retention (Source: By Association Only)
You could create a workflow with a trigger when an order is placed. The condition will be centered around the order value, the number of times they have ordered, or their lifetime order value. Using this as a basis to tag customers, you can then fire a personalized email, thanking them, offering a discount on their next purchase, or encouraging them to join your loyalty program.
If you use a loyalty program such as Loyalty Lion, connect it with Flow to enable automated actions via the app.
Upselling campaigns can also be automated to help steer customers back to your store. Build a workflow that includes a Wait action, so that after a certain period of time post-purchase communication with special offers is sent to win back your customer.
Push notifications and text messages can automatically be sent to win back customers (Source: Shopify)
Do you want to be able to reward customers for leaving a review, or track negative reviews to help improve customer service without batting an eyelid? Maybe you have customers in foreign markets, and you don’t want to run the risk of asking for a review before their order arrives.
All of this is possible with Shopify Flow. It can help you streamline and optimize your product reviews process thanks to its ability to connect to apps.
Workflow for managing reviews (Source: Shopify)
When paired with Yotpo, you can reward points to customers who left a review. If a poor review is left, a support ticket will be created. This will allow your customer services team to address the issue a customer has had with a product.
Workflow for reviews from customers in foreign markets (Source: Reviews.io)
It’s also possible to add a review request to a queue so you avoid sending it too soon with Reviews.io. Alternatively, you can set up Wait actions to allow some time to pass before sending a review request.
Part and parcel of running an eCommerce store is exposure to bad actors. Bots and fraudsters lurk online, and you, of course, don't want to fall prey to them.
Rather than having your team sift through hundreds or maybe even thousands of orders to find fraudulent ones, you should simply set up a workflow to do the job. Shopify Flow can be used to block known fraudsters from purchasing, cancel an order that has a suspicious address, and identify orders that seem risky.
In this example, automation is set up cancel orders from known bad actors, and alert your team when it happens.
You can also build workflows that trigger after orders have been analyzed for risk. It will check their risk levels and cancel if it’s high, in addition to other parameters that could be a signal of a suspicious order.
Shopify Flow Success Stories
Shopify Flow is used by hordes of merchants. In fact, every month 1 billion decisions are being offloaded to Shopify Flow. What decisions are they making for them, and how is it benefiting Shopify store owners?
Cozykids shaved off tons of time using Shopify Flow.
Kids store, Cozykids, migrated to Shopify Plus as the business was scaling. In addition to getting ready for expansion, the brand wanted to simplify its back-end processes.
Cozykids uses Shopify Flow to:
- Automate management of decreasing stock - a workflow was built to notify the fulfillment team when the stock drops below a certain amount. Products are also automatically hidden when they are out of stock and are part of a limited run, or if it isn’t possible to restock.
- Automate customer engagement for out-of-stock products - the brand has workflows to pre-order out-of-stock products, and email customers when a product is back in stock.
By using Shopify Flow, Cozykids has been able to eliminate human error and lessen the time spent by staff on inventory management. With this saved time, the brand has been able to direct its attention to eCommerce management, optimizing shipping, ensuring quality translations, and producing and curating engaging content and products.
Dior Beauty HK
Dior Beauty HK tackle fraudulent activities with Shopify Flow.
In another tale of expansion, Dior Beauty used Shopify to build a dedicated website as they entered the Hong Kong market. An important issue for the brand when it comes to the expansion into Hong Kong was cybersecurity.
Dior Beauty turned to Shopify Flow to handle monitoring the security of the website. Workflows are set up to check the risk of orders coming in based on three levels. If a sufficient threat is detected, an email is sent to administrators who then decide what action to take.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Shopify Flow
There are always two sides of a coin, so let’s take a look at what’s great and not so great about Shopify Flow.
✅ Saves time
One of the greatest benefits of Shopify Flow is that it can be a massive time saver, leaving you and your team free to focus on more important matters. This can really come in handy during busy sales periods when there is a lot to juggle.
Plus, by handing over tedious, time-consuming tasks, your team can utilize their skills and talent more efficiently. This is certain to make your employees happier, and see your store performing better.
The high customizability is another winning feature. If there is something you’d like to automate, you’ll more than likely be able to build a workflow for it. Shopify Flow can access any data point in Shopify, and there are no limits to the conditions and actions assigned in a workflow. This makes the workflow possibilities virtually endless.
✅ Eliminates human error
Automation also helps us eradicate an important thing - human error. Any manual task will come with the possibility of their being human error. This can be even more magnified if there are a lot of components involved, or if it feels repetitive. Even when we’re super careful, things can fall between the cracks.
With Shopify Flow you can rest assured that all your routine tasks are being completed, and avoid mishaps.
✅ Great for growing businesses
As your business expands, tasks that were simple at first will morph into more complex ones. There are more moving parts, more orders, and more things that are demanding your attention. Shopify Flow can alleviate these stresses by handling whatever routine tasks you have. It’s also scalable, able to continuously automate tasks as your store grows.
❌ Limit on customer selection in Admin
What will be a real annoyance to large store owners is the limit on the number of customers you can select from your customer list in Admin. When running a workflow from your Admin Customer List, you can only choose up to 50 customers to run a segment on at a time. For store owners with thousands of customers, it makes segmentation, ironically, a tedious task.
❌ Some instability
Some users have pointed out that the app sometimes goes down or does not load. It does seem though that Shopify is working towards improving the stability and reliability of Flow.
❌ Not available in multiple languages
Shopify Flow is only available in English. This could make it quite difficult for non-English speaking businesses to use and fully benefit from it.
❌ Not compatible with every app
Whilst there are many apps that can be used within Shopify Flow, not every app can be connected to Flow. For example, Judge.me, which is a hugely popular reviews app, is not compatible with Flow.
There’s no telling when more apps will become "integratable" with Flow. That being said, with the app now available to most Shopify merchants, it’s surely only a matter of time until more apps jump on board.
To Wrap Up
It’s clear that Shopify Flow has the potential to be a really valuable tool. Recent updates to the app such as access to any field in the API, Wait actions, and OR logic in conditions have greatly improved the flexibility merchants have to build workflows.
Now available to almost all merchants on Shopify, we’re sure to see Shopify Flow advance even further to fully meet the needs of its users. How will you use Shopify Flow?