Operating a Shopify store is no walk in the park. It takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication. Like many other small business owners, you probably have come to realize that time is one of the few things you can never seem to have enough of. Spending hours upon hours updating inventory, emailing customers, and following leads is great, but gets repetitive and monotonous quickly. Besides, that is time you could be spending with your family, enjoying your hobbies, or (if you’re a workaholic) planning marketing campaigns.
This is why so many Shopify store owners are turning to automation to help with the day-to-day activities of running an ecommerce store. As the name suggests, automation is the practice of implementing automatic processes in order to make running your Shopify store faster, smoother, and overall, more efficient.
There are a number of different types of automation that you can use in order to do this, but here are a few of our favorite ways to use automation to grow your Shopify store.
Automated Abandoned Shopify Cart Messages
While you might see an abandoned shopping cart in the middle of a brick and mortar store every so often, it is a much more rampant issue online. In fact, nearly 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned. This is a huge deal for small business owners with Shopify stores, as it means that so many potential customers were this close to making a purchase, but chose not to at the last second.
Sure, you can say, “Oh, well! We’ll get ‘em next time!” But unfortunately, in today’s cutthroat ecommerce landscape, letting these customers get away is not a sustainable business model.
These customers have already shown their interest in what your Shopify store has to offer, so you should take advantage of this! The best way to reach out to them is through automated abandoned cart messages. This can be done via email or SMS messages, but email is the most common.
Platforms like Klaviyo and Omnisend can help you send automated abandoned cart messages. They recognize when a customer has abandoned their shopping cart, and shortly after, will send an email or text to those customers — usually a preprogrammed message written by you — in hopes of making a lost sale into a realized one.
Abandoned cart messages can be sent in a sequence of multiple emails or texts (not all sent at the same time, of course), which is especially effective if the customer has not taken action after the first or second message. They usually will feature enticing subjects, along the lines of “forgetting something?” and offer the customer a bonus or discount to further persuade them into purchasing the items they had abandoned.
These messages are extremely successful when it comes to winning over a customer who is on the fence about purchasing a product. In fact, these abandoned cart messages have a whopping 34% conversion rate, making the practice more than worth your time.
Additionally, these platforms can also help you craft a number of different types of automations. For example, you can send different email chains to specific customers depending on their interest and where they are in their “buying journey”. Reaching out to these customers on a timely basis is a great way to build trust and offer goodies to entice them to buy.
Schedule Posts for Your Shopify Store’s Social Media Pages
Your customers are on social media, so your Shopify store is, too! Social media is a great way to connect with the public, informing them about new products, discounts, and just sharing tidbits about your business. However, social media can be seriously time consuming — but there is a way to automate it!
Platforms like Hootsuite and Buffer put the “management” in “social media management”. You can plan and schedule social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc. months in advance, ensuring that your Shopify store has a consistent social media presence.
This is a fantastic automation that yields numerous benefits. Scheduling social media posts, rather than just posting whenever you remember to do it, helps you create a solid, evergreen social media strategy. Remaining consistent on social media is one of the most beneficial things you, as a small business owner, can do to ensure that your Shopify page stays relevant.
Additionally, you can use analytics tools, such as the ones included on Instagram and Facebook for business pages, to determine when your followers are most active and most likely to view your social media posts. You can then leverage this information and deliberately schedule posts for these peak times. More views means more interaction, which leads to more sales!
Use a Chatbot to Assist Customers and Answer Frequently Asked Questions
You have probably seen a chatbot before. They are the little messages that pop up when you are browsing online, usually with some generic name, that say something like: “Hello there, I’m ___! Let me know if you have any questions or need any help!”
Lots of Shopify stores have turned to chatbots for a little extra help on the customer service front. While chatbots cannot provide the same level of care or depth that a real human being can, they can help customers in real-time with simple issues, ones that may take days for you or someone on your team to address, depending on how busy you are.
Additionally, chatbots are available and ready to talk to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — they don’t need days off! Since they are not real people, you don’t have to feel guilty about working chatbots to the bone (unless, of course, the robot revolution does occur, in which case, be nice to artificial intelligence).
Chatbots can help with a number of issues, such as answering frequently asked questions, guiding purchases, and generating leads.
Using a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Provider to Help With Order Fulfillment as Your Shopify Store Grows
Once your Shopify store starts to gain a bit of traction, order fulfillment can become an absolute nightmare. Keeping inventory in your home, packing it by hand, then driving it down to your local post office as the workers look on with dread as you walk in with fifty packages…
This is why many Shopify stores have turned to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider to lend a hand. Instead of doing it all yourself, you would ship stock to the 3PL provider’s warehouse, where they would pick, pack, and ship any of the items that are purchased by your customers.
As your Shopify store grows, a 3PL provider is a must-have. In fact, it is one of the most widely used services in the ecommerce industry, as roughly 86% of Fortune 500 companies are using 3PL and similar service providers.
While using a 3PL provider may not seem like true automation because it requires manpower, the automation aspect lies in the communication between your Shopify store and the 3PL provider. Instead of giving them a call each time an order is placed, you would sync your systems in order for the 3PL provider to be notified each time an order is placed with your store.
While a 3PL may seem like an unnecessary expense if your Shopify store is still in a fledgling state, it is an important option to keep in mind for further down the road. It would be wise to begin researching third-party logistics providers before you need one, that way you are prepared to use the service if and when your Shopify store’s orders become too much for you alone to handle.
Consider Upgrading to Shopify Plus, Which Offers a Number of In-House Automations
While Shopify has a number of integrated automations, its prestige level, Shopify Plus, blows the basic package out of the water. While you might be afraid of the hefty price tag (we’re talking $2000 fees), Shopify Plus offers its users one of the easiest, most efficient systems of any ecommerce platform, describing its automation efforts as so effective that you’ll feel like you’re on “autopilot”. Here are some of the best perks that come with upgrading to Shopify Plus:
- Shopify Flow, only available with Shopify Plus, allows you to craft unique workflow management techniques that use your existing integrations, helping to create a better balance for your business elements. It can also automate these workflows, which is great if you run multiple Shopify stores.
- With Launchpad, you can automate sales, product releases, inventory management, marketing campaigns — basically anything you or a team member would have to do manually.
- Shopify Plus analyzes your store’s customer base and helps craft targeted marketing campaigns to your demographic, or where the customer is in their buying journey. Additionally, it can flag “suspicious” customers and help protect your store — such as cancelling orders from bots or scammers.
- Automations will contact or notify customers whenever your Shopify store runs a sale or restock a desired item.
- Options to personalize your Shopify store’s checkout page, such as adding buttons for different delivery options, discounts, and more.
Essentially, Shopify Plus can automatically execute every task that would have needed to be done manually. Though the price may be a bit steep if you are just starting your Shopify store, it could potentially save you a lot of grief — by automating tedious tasks that could easily overwhelm one person — and money, as the automation capabilities that are included with Shopify Plus mean that you probably won’t need to hire extra employees. At least, not for a while.
While we still may not have flying cars or the “food pill” yet, technology has come far enough that you can run a full-fledged Shopify store without hardly lifting a finger. Using automation can assist you in a number of ways, like generating leads, making sales, and operating a methodical business model. If you want to grow your Shopify store in the fastest, most efficient way possible, automation is the way to go!