An Intro to Shopify Flow

Posted on

Shopify Flow is an application for Shopify Plus merchants that can help you set up completely custom back-end workflows that make your business more organised and efficient. Here’s what you can do with it.

Your staff should be doing what they do best

You hired your team members because they’re good at making sales, or working with suppliers, or have an amazing eye for design. You didn’t hire them to spend hours tagging customers or searching for potentially risky orders.

Flow is an app for Shopify merchants using Shopify Plus that lets you set up an unlimited number of customised workflows on your back-end. These workflows can help you stay on top of your inventory, get more detailed information about your customers, and handle sales more effectively. Flow is especially ideal for high-volume merchants to help you stay on top of what’s happening in your business.

Here’s what Flow does

Flow lets you set up automatic workflows that use triggers, conditions and actions that you set. That means if there’s a process that happens often within your business, whether it’s to do with customers, payments, inventory management, or other admin, you can set up a tool that will automatically do something specific based on meeting certain criteria.

English, please?

It starts with your business logic

If you’ve ever had the thought, “You know, it would be useful if our suppliers knew when we were running low, without us having to check all the time? Or if we could see when a new customer spends a lot of money and add them to our VIP list?” These kinds of “wouldn’t it be useful if…”s are entirely possible: it just takes thinking about what you want to do. 

For example, You want to know why customers are returning items. You set up a workflow that says:

  • If a customer returns an item, tag them as a “return” AND send them an automatic email with a survey asking them why they returned.
  • If a customer has returned three items or more over time, and they’ve just made another return, send a Slack notification or email to me so I can call them and see what’s going on.

These kinds of workflows can be set up using Flow, helping you stay responsive to your customers, tie loose ends, keep organised and manage your company more effectively.

How does it work?

Flow has a visual workflow creator you use from your dashboard, and you don’t need to know any code to use it.

You can create as many customisations as you want.

Here are a few things you can use Flow for

1. Risk analysis

You can set up a flow that automatically cancels order if they’re considered risky. For example, if someone’s shipping address and billing address are in different countries, the order can be automatically cancelled or put on hold and your staff can take a closer look to see if it’s legit. Find out more about dealing with risk here.

2. Automate repetitive tasks

This is one of the best things about Flow, as it lets you move your focus away from doing admin and toward developing your business. You can, for example, set up a workflow that automatically emails your supplier when your inventory is low, so you never have a gap in your stock. Here’s an example:

You can also use Flow to publish content automatically. For example, if you run a blog, you can have your posts ready to go and Flow will help you publish twice a week at a designated time without you having to remember.

3. Categorise orders and customers for future marketing and management

You can “tag” customers who meet basically any kind of criteria - where they are from, what they spend, what product categories they’ve purchased. For example, you can tag anyone who’s made a purchase from New Zealand as “Kiwi” and send them targeted emails later on. Or you can tag anyone who’s bought from a list of SKUs as “women’s clothing” and target those people. This feature will work well for people who use MailChimp or another email client for segmented marketing.

4. Notify your staff when something unusual happens

While Flow is great for streamlining processes that happen all the time, it’s also great for pointing out when something is unusual that you might have missed otherwise. Unusual can be a good thing - like when someone makes an unusually high purchase. You might want to know about it right after it happens so you can send them a special thank you.

Flow is set up with your email and Slack account so it can send you messages automatically.

5. Experiment to make your company more efficient

This is the bigger picture: You can use Flow to experiment and try out new ideas that will help you run your business better. Flow is a great tool that can help you innovate as a business manager, because you can use it yourself without a developer on hand. That means it’s no big deal to set up a new workflow, try it out, tweak it and see if it’s helpful.

You can check out some more examples of workflows here.

The thing is, we are Shopify Plus developers

We have been setting up workflows for our clients since we started, helping them grow their e-commerce business by running more effectively at the back-end. So we know what’s out there and what you can do. If you’re interested in Shopify Plus or enabling Flow within your account, chat with us.

*images via Shopify