How Beardbrand uses Shopify Flow for Automations and Community Building

Lucas Walker
Lucas Walker
Last updated on 
May 18, 2022
How Beardbrand uses Shopify Flow for Automations and Community Building
Want to make your team's life easier? Start using Shopify Flow like Beardbrand.

Shopify makes a lot of things easy for merchants, from building our store to analytics, managing inventory and more. There is one untapped area for many merchants though, and that’s Shopify Flow. We wanted to find out how merchants have been using Shopify Flow for automations in order to save that much-needed time. This is essential to focus on creativity, business development or anything else because no matter where you are in your ecommerce journey, you always need a bit more time.

On a recent Ecomm Swipe File podcast, Eric Bandholtz of Beardbrand and his Shopify Plus Merchant Success Manager, Brett Burns shared a few of their favourite ways to use Shopify Flow. They also shared some tips on how to use this for automation so that you really can save time. 

In case you’re new to what Shopify Flow is, let’s break it down really quickly. 

What is Shopify Flow?

Shopify Flow is a plugin for your ecommerce store that allows you to easily automate tasks. The Shopify Flow plugin even offers a wide range of templates so that you can start working with it right away without too much work going behind it. It does also have customizable workflows and features as well if you wanted to go beyond the templates featured.

One thing to note though, Shopify Flow is only available to Shopify Plus merchants. 

The main goal of Shopify Flow is to automate those menial tasks that take time, but shouldn’t. Many merchants haven’t been talking enough about the benefits to really make it a mainstream tool in ecommerce, which is why you may not have heard of it. 

On the technical side of what Shopify Flow is, it’s simply an “if this, then that” tool, which many of us are familiar with. For example, when it comes to fraudulent orders, you can set up a trigger to flag high-risk orders by setting conditions around it. When these conditions are met, a trigger will be made followed by an action of flagging that order, or automatically cancelling it. Eric from Beardbrand says this is one of the ways they use Shopify Flow and it’s been saving time every day for them.

What’s great, is if you’re currently using Gorgias, it’s completely compatible with Shopify Flow, making everything even more seamless for your customer support team.

Shopify Flow and your VIP list

Another way that Eric uses it with Beardbrand is with their Alliance Membership, which is their private and exclusive group of customers. Shopify Flow automatically tags customers if they’re eligible for the Alliance Membership, saving their customer support team time since they don’t need to manually do this themselves. This also reduces human error and potentially missing someone who’s eligible.

Something like a VIP or Alliance Membership, as Beardbrand calls it, is also a great way to enhance your customer lifetime value and Shopify Flow makes this all the more seamless. Oftentimes, creating this community is preferred over sending out discount codes because your customers feel like they’re truly part of the family. 

Now, this is a perfect segway into how Shopify Flow can also increase loyalty and retention throughout the entire customer journey. Spoiler alert… there’s a lot of ways since it’s simply based on triggers and conditions. 

Shopify Flow + Loyalty and Retention

When it comes to loyalty and retention, Shopify Flow can help with a lot more than you think. Shopify Flow can track customer lifetime spend or order count, when paired with the ability to automatically tag consumers as VIP you can do a lot with your marketing. This is where email segmentation comes in, which is one of the most popular ways ecommerce businesses use Shopify Flow’s features.

Brett shared with us a way that one of his Shopify merchants uses this for their VIP list . Since they have a noteworthy founder, the team decided to set up a trigger for when one of their VIP customers puts in an order, the support and warehouse teams both receive a direct message. From there, the action is to send a pre-made handwritten response directly from the founder. This is a fantastic personal touch for VIPs and a great example of how to get creative with Shopify Flow and increase customer lifetime value.

All these options are directly pulled into Gorgias as well so your customer support team can automatically see all the tags associated with that specific customer for quick and easy access.

Easier Than You Think

On top of these uses, Brett has also seen an untapped area with Shopify Flow, the entire catalogue of pre-made flows that you can simply click on and easily set up. Yes, it’s that easy.

Brett said he’s been finding that merchants are simply intimidated by the idea of Shopify Flow, thinking it’ll add work instead of making their lives easier. Since there’s this big question mark around it, Brett wanted to tell everyone how easy it really is to set up, because it really is just a few button clicks and you’re ready to go. 

Using the pre-made templates is a perfect way to start with Shopify Flow if you’re feeling a bit intimidated by it. It’ll still show you the time you can save, and when you’re ready you can start getting a bit more creative with the triggers and even customize. 

All of this is such a huge help to Eric, and countless other Shopify merchants since responding to customers can be hard when resources are scarce. By saving some time with something like Shopify Plus though, it helps not only the customer support team, but your entire business as a whole. 

Beyond just risk and fraud management and VIP tags using Shopify Flow, Brett let us know what some of the most popular uses of it are with his merchants he works with. The way most merchants have been using the plugin are:

  • Customer segmentation 
  • Inventory management
  • Merchandising
  • Order management

Community Building with Shopify Flow

We previously shared the ways Eric uses Shopify Flow to build the Alliance Membership for Beardbrand, and one thing they’ve done incredibly well is create an engaged community. So we also wanted to know about how he manages this community and how he got it started whether it’s through Shopify Flow or not. 

He started off by sharing that at the end of the day, building a community like this probably isn’t necessary for every single brand or ecommerce business. You have to really think about your product or service and if it makes sense. It’s good to think about what your focuses are and whether you can take this on since it does take a lot of work to moderate and spark conversation prior to jumping into it.

If it does make sense for your business though, once you put that work in through building conversations and moderating, the community eventually becomes self-sustaining. The great thing about building the Beardbrand community he said, is that customers who buy from them usually have a similar mindset which makes it quite easy to moderate.

One of the first major decisions you’ll have to make for your community is where it will sit. There's a few different factors that go into it while you’re deciding and Eric opted to use Discourse as opposed to Facebook. One of the big reasons for this decision was because, as many of us know, Facebook can be highly unpredictable. They tend to change the rules at any point which can make things more difficult for your community discussions and posting. Eric said it’s also likely that one day, Facebook will find a way to monetize these big communities which will create another complicated layer to communities. 

Discourse on the other hand gives community builders more control in terms of how it looks, and is also more consistent in terms of the way it is run. 

However, if you’re not using something like Facebook, there’s one big thing to consider; it’s more difficult to grow. With Facebook, most people already have an account so it’s easy for them to jump into it, while on Discourse people need to create a new account, learn how the platform works and get used to going onto it regularly. 

When it comes to entrepreneurs, we’re all creative and love to constantly test new things. We step out of our comfort zone and challenge norms as much as possible, so we want time to continue having those creative juices and entrepreneurial attitude going. Using Shopify Flow gives merchants that time back to be creative and continue innovating, especially when it comes to customer support or developing an online community. 

Eric closed off our conversation reminding us that it’s all about the journey, and you may be hung up on a lot of those menial tasks but once you can get those grinds off your plate it opens up so many doors for innovation. 

One way that Eric’s done this is through using Gorgias and Shopify Flow together since they integrate so seamlessly. Doing this saves his team an incredible amount of time since the effort put in to do these menial tasks with Shopify Flow is next to nothing. With this time back, you and your team can focus on the things you’ve always wanted to do for your ecommerce business. 

Have you used Shopify Flow or are you in the middle of growing and managing your ecommerce businesses community? Let us know your thoughts and what we may have missed in a comment below. 

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