Running a successful eCommerce store can be very time-consuming. There are the big jobs, like product development, marketing, and site design—and also all the day-to-day admin tasks like handling orders, communicating with your team, and connecting with your existing and potential customers.
It can be easy to get caught up in the essential but mundane aspects of managing an eCommerce store rather than dedicating the proper time to the big picture and actually growing your business.
If you find yourself spending too much time working in your business rather than on your business, one excellent way to reclaim some bandwidth is by automating the key processes of your WooCommerce store.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the tools for WooCommerce that make it easy to automate some common store processes, including things like sending emails, handling basic support issues, generating sales invoices, updating spreadsheets with order information, and more.
AutomateWoo ($99/year at WooCommerce.com) is a powerful extension that can help you automate a large range of WooCommerce processes through a visual interface.
After installing AutomateWoo, your store will be able to send out several different automatic follow-up emails to customers, ranging from post-purchase emails to review requests. Abandoned cart emails can also be sent to anyone who’s left your store before buying what they’ve added to their cart.
AutomateWoo integrates with several popular WooCommerce extensions including WooCommerce Memberships, WooCommerce Subscriptions, WooCommerce Points and Rewards, WooCommerce Bookings, and more—and allowing you to automate many of the emails and other from those extensions. For example, you could use AutomateWoo to change the plan of an existing member after a specific action, automatically add points to a customer’s account when they spend a certain amount or renew their subscriptions a set number of times, or send an email when a customer’s booking status changes.
AutomateWoo lets you create workflows for the tasks you want to automate. Each workflow contains a combination of triggers, actions, and rules to help you automate the processes at your WooCommerce store in the way that you want.
As AutomateWoo is highly configurable, you can use timers to control when workflows run, exclude selected groups customers from a workflow, and use variables to build personalized marketing campaigns. There’s documentation on the AutomateWoo website that should be helpful for any developers that want to create their own custom triggers.
If you’re looking for a single tool that will enable you to automate several processes at your WooCommerce store, AutomateWoo is a great place to start.
According to a survey by Kayako, giving your prospective customers a way to communicate with you or your team via live chat while they browse your store can increase sales and conversions, and improve customer loyalty. However, having staff on hand to chat 24/7 can be very resource-intensive—if not impossible—for a growing store.
So with that in mind, you might want to consider automating basic customer support by adding a chatbot to your WooCommerce store. One way to do this is to install the Woo Bot for WooCommerce extension ($29/year at WooCommerce.com).
Once this extension is active, visitors can ask simple questions via the chat window. Visitors can also search for products via the chat window, giving them another way to find the items they’re looking for.
You can easily set a fallback message if a potential customer asks a question the bot can’t answer. You can also use shortcodes to add buttons to your fallback message.
Once a visitor clicks on one of the shortcode buttons, the prefedined fallback response is displayed, such as the store’s phone number.
You also have the option of enabling email notifications that send an alert when a question is asked to ensure you don’t miss out on any interactions—and so you can step in when a question comes in that your bot can’t handle.
You can also create custom responses and edit the default responses that come with Woo Bot to ensure that your chatbot works in the way that you want.
And finally, Woo Bot also keeps a log of all customer interactions so you can keep on eye on how the tool is performing.
An automated chatbot like this isn’t going to rival a human when it comes to assisting your customers. But it can lighten some of your support load and help point visitors in the right direction when they ask basic or common questions.
Zapier is a tool that lets you connect different apps and services and move data between them. There are tens of thousands of different app connections you can make (and if you’re serious about WooCommerce automation, Zapier will most likely become one of your essential tools), but the one we’re going to focus on first is sending order information from your store to a channel in Slack.
This is a good way to automate order alerts to your team as they come in. For example, maybe you sell jewelry with custom inscriptions. When that item is purchased, details of that order are posted to your Slack channel. Your team can pick up those details and get started on processing the order right away.
To use Zapier integrations, you’ll need to install the WooCommerce Zapier extension ($59/year at WooCommerce.com) and get a Zapier account (free and paid plans available). Since Zapier has many predefined actions and triggers for WooCommerce, you can not only quickly automate workflows without writing any code but also get inspiration for automating your eCommerce store from the library.
Integrating WooCommerce and Slack only takes a few minutes and there are lots of ways you can use these two services to automate your store processes. You can find some popular examples on the relevant page of the Zapier website.
Another way you can use Zapier to automate a process at your store is to use the Google Sheets integration to automatically add order details to a spreadsheet.
You can also create your own custom integrations to automatically transfer data from WooCommerce to Google Sheets in the way that’s right for your business.
If you’d like to automatically create a record of each sale in your accounting software, Zapier once again provides the necessary integration.
Zapier works with more than 90 accounting apps, including QuickBooks Online and Xero. Zapier also has prebuilt workflows for these integrations so you should be able to find at least one process that’s ready to go, such as creating a QuickBooks Online sales receipt for every new WooCommerce order.
You can use the workflow builder on the Zapier website to see what integrations you can create without writing any code. Simply select a trigger from the available options and then choose an action to build your Zap.
Automating processes at your WooCommerce store has many benefits, including saving time and reducing human error. Thanks to the huge ecosystem that’s grown around WooCommerce, you might find that it’s surprisingly easy to start automating some of the repetitive tasks that you’re currently doing manually, or to find new ways to automatically connect your store to other apps and services and send data between them.
As a quick recap, some of the processes you might want to automate at your WooCommerce store are:
- Automate emails and more with AutomateWoo. Send automated emails to customers and prospective customers, and create automations around other popular WooCommerce extensions like WooCommerce Memberships and WooCommerce Subscriptions as well.
- Use a chatbot to offer live support. Use a chatbot like Woo Bot for WooCommerce to handle basic support questions on your store.
- Get order details sent to Slack. Get alerts in Slack as soon as an order is placed on your WooCommerce store with a Zapier integration.
- Add new orders to a Google Sheet. Another use of Zapier is adding orders right into a Google Sheet to keep your fulfillment process more organized.
- Create automatic sales invoices in your accounting app of choice. One more of the many uses of Zapier: creating sales invoices in accounting software apps automatically after an order is placed.
The following extensions mentioned in this post are included at no additional charge in the GoDaddy Managed WordPress eCommerce hosting package:
- WooCommerce Memberships
- WooCommerce Subscriptions
- WooCommerce Bookings
- WooCommerce Points and Rewards
Click here to learn more about GoDaddy’s WooCommerce hosting options.