The Challenges of a Multi-platform Ecosystem
Managing a modern e-commerce business can become very time-consuming. In conjunction with your store, you have platforms for marketing, CRM, social media, finances, and possibly more! These platforms often require that you take action in one app once an event occurs in another. Data on customers, orders, sales, and products sometimes needs to be synced or replicated across these platforms as well. What do you do if you’re required to export a CSV file daily from one platform to import it elsewhere, or if you prefer to send every customer a survey after they make a purchase? Some of your apps may offer built-in integrations that solve some of these problems, but in certain situations you may require a few apps to work in tandem that otherwise wouldn’t.
We’ll introduce you to Zapier, our favorite tool for solving some of these challenges, and offer a few examples of how you can use it to start automating everything in your e-commerce business.
What is Zapier?
Zapier is a web-based tool that allows you to connect the various apps you use to manage your e-commerce business. This is done by way of user-created workflows, or ‘zaps.’ Think of zaps as recipes or step-by-step directions for your apps to follow. Have you ever wanted to update a Google Sheet whenever you receive an order from Shopify, or add a subscriber to MailChimp from a Google Sheet? What about BOTH‽ Zapier will let you achieve this.
Zapier works with over 500 apps, some of which include Salesforce, MailChimp, Slack, and of course, Shopify. With a few clicks you can have these apps communicating with one another and start automating your business. While creating a Zapier account is free, you’ll be restricted from certain apps and left creating zaps with no more than two steps. Fret not, their premium offering is affordable, especially when you consider the savings you’ll see with regards to your time.
When you add up all the time one spends doing busy work, or completing rote tasks, you’ll quickly see why automating parts of your daily workflow can be invaluable. Why bother with endless spreadsheets or databases when you can have Zapier handle the bulk of such monotonous work? Not only will you save time, but you’ll decrease the chances of human error foiling your data.
Where Zapier Fits in a World of Shopify Apps and Custom Integrations
Shopify is largely built with the average customer in mind, but your business is unique and its particular challenges can’t always be solved with its baseline tools. There are plenty of Shopify Apps to help tackle a lot of these use cases, but as you pile one app on top of another, you and your customers could start to experience slowdown when using your site. Slow loading speeds can have a negative impact on conversion rates, something you want to avoid whenever possible. A one-second delay can reduce conversion rates by 7%. There are plenty of great reasons to use Shopify apps, but one should be judicious in how many they employ, especially if the problem could be solved without the possibility of hampering your shop’s performance.
When trying to add functionality to Shopify, you may find there isn’t an existing solution available on the Shopify app store, which could lead you to approaching an agency such as Growth Spark to build you a custom integration. While we are fully capable of meeting those needs, custom development can become pricey when you consider both the upfront cost and future maintenance. The upside, of course, is that you will receive a product that functions exactly as you’d like.
Using Zapier can often eliminate the need for certain Shopify apps or custom-built integrations. You’re generally only limited by your imagination when you start exploring the options available in Zapier. Integrating apps and platforms that otherwise wouldn’t work with Shopify suddenly becomes a reality. Adding new apps to your eco-system also becomes less troublesome if they are supported by Zapier. Instead of worrying about how they’ll connect and interact with your other systems, you can finely tune where they fit.
Ways to Use Zapier to Streamline Your E-Commerce Business
Now that you understand Zapier’s strengths and how it works, we’d like to point you to some zaps that satisfy common e-commerce demands. Each of the following links will provide you with an overview of the apps required and what the zap will ultimately achieve.
Syncing Customer Data with Mailing Lists
Email marketing is a proven tool for driving repeat e-commerce sales. Keeping your mailing list up-to-date with the latest customer data is essential to maximizing your efforts in digital marketing. The following examples are just a few of the ways you can start syncing customer data with your email lists.
- Adding Shopify Customers to a MailChimp List
- Adding Shopify Customers to ActiveCampaign
- Adding Shopify Customers as HubSpot Contacts
Syncing Customer data with Order Tracking Systems
The life of your Shopify store orders don’t end when your customers check out. If you keep track of those orders in another database or task manager, transferring that information can become time-consuming and prone to error. Integrating your Shopify orders with these platforms can save you valuable time and allow you or your team focus on the other tasks that accompany each order. Use the examples below to start integrating Shopify into your favorite order tracking systems.
- Adding Shopify Orders to Google Sheet
- Creating Trello Cards from Shopify Orders
- Creating Todoist Tasks from Shopify Orders
Syncing Customer Data with CRMs and Support Systems
Maintaining your customer information is extremely important to your sales and marketing efforts. Automatically adding customers to your CRM portal or support platform will ensure that you have up-to-date information about those people. The more you know about your customer-base, the easier it becomes to contact them with on-target content at appropriate times. Below you’ll find some zaps to get you started syncing your customer data with your CRM or support system.
- Adding Shopify Customers to Zendesk
- Adding Shopify Customers to Infusionsoft
- Adding Shopify Customers to Salesforce
Using Shopify to Trigger Surveys and Reviews
Sending surveys to your customers is a great way to learn more about the way your customers perceive your e-commerce business. Customer reviews are similar but allow your customers to make informed purchases, leaving them confident in their shopping decisions. Consistently inviting your customers to take part in these activities will increase their overall effectiveness. You can start improving your efforts in this realm with the following integrations:
- Sending a Promoter Survey to Shopify Customers
- Sending Trustpilot Invitations to Shopify Customers
- Sending SurveyMethods Surveys to Shopify Customers
Alternatives to Zapier
There are other solutions on the market that do similar things to Zapier. IFTTT (If This Than That) is great for less complicated tasks and is built around simpler 2-step recipes. It can be utilized for less centralized tasks and may be perfect for your employees in achieving tasks particular to their individual work. Encouraging your employees to automate their tasks will allow them to focus on more important initiatives. Automation tools like IFTTT can improve productivity throughout your e-commerce business, not just on an administration level. It’s completely free to boot!
If you need enterprise-level solutions specifically geared towards cloud data, Bedrock Data is worth checking out. They connect CRM, marketing, e-commerce, and finance solutions with a focus on synchronizing data between those platforms. This is less of a building-block solution as with Ifttt or Zapier, and is triggered by changes in your databases. No matter how you approach it, automating your business can lead to great savings in time, money, and effort.