When school begins, something changes. The smell. Once kids start their school year, it smells next holidays, already: Thanksgiving's turkey and Christmas' cookies.
For every store owners, the upcoming months are crucial. For some, that's a do or die situation. This article's goal is to bring more do than die, by automating what can be the most painful aspect of an e-commerce store: sales.
To skip right to this magic link formula, click here.
Many store owners were asking for a way to automate discounts without codes, like in this forum thread or in that one. They were looking for an automated way to manage multiple promos at the same time and something easier for customers not to forget coupons or not giving up while searching for it. That's why my team and I created Automatic Discount.
You can test a live demo ➝ To get an automatic discount: add the product to cart and go to checkout.
The automation is flexible; you can do whatever promo you have in mind with this app.
You can find many use cases and how-to videos in this Youtube playlist, like:
Create tiered pricing (tiered discounts), for example 5% if $50 spent, 10% off if $100 spent, 20% off if $200 spent. Here’s how.
Offer free shipping if customers spend over $100.
Create a Facebook ad or a newsletter with a link to your product on sale that will automatically apply a discount at the checkout.
First, if you have no idea what a referral program (or affiliate program) is, have a look at this post from Shopify. It covers the topic pretty well.
You have to choose between 2 Shopify apps if you want to be serious about your affiliate program:
Both will allow you to create a digital army of salespeople. You can also join affiliate networks like Commission Junction or ShareASale to find great marketers who would be pleased to market your products if they are great products and of course if the commission is generous.
When it comes to retargeting, most of the time it comes down to Google and Facebook retargeting. I'll only talk about Facebook, since it's cheaper and trendier (if you are active on some Shopify forums and Facebook groups, you will notice that almost one question out of three is related to Facebook Ads).
I used to be a big AdRoll fan for years, mostly because it was the only complete solution available. I still use AdRoll to remarket our app, because they do the banner ads for free and especially because it's the only option Shopify gives to app developers!
For store owners, there are other options, but one of them if far ahead of its competitors: Shoelace.
Shoelace makes it super easy to create Facebook ads and retarget people that visit your Shopify store on Facebook. They are also pretty lucky: they made a full integration with Kit to automate the whole process, and recently Kit has been acquired by Shopify. That gives both Kit and Shoelace more customers, more data and more effectiveness.
Shoelace + Kit then automates the creation and management of Facebook and Instagram ads. It's like if you had a virtual employee for a few bucks a month that is an expert in Facebook and Instagram ads. Everything a human being would wish for.
Once your automatic discounts are set, it's time to schedule one or more newsletters, as well as other essential email templates inside of which you can put discount links, or simply state the promo (e.g. Spend $100 and get $15 back OR Buy 3 or more items and get 40% off OR whatever creative offer you have in mind).
If you can afford their expensive pricing (at least it's free up to 250 contacts), I would use Klaviyo for Shopify to do everything related to email marketing, welcome emails, cross-sells, abandoned cart recovery emails, product reviews emails, repeat customer promos, dormant customer emails and ROI measurement. For more details, Carson wrote a detailed post about Klaviyo here.
I stumbled upon a great article by Emmanuel who explains how he 4x his revenues switching from Mailchimp to Klaviyo.
Accorin, e-commerce digital agency, also recommends it.
If you cannot afford Klaviyo, go with Mailchimp. It might be easier to configure but you will be limited (fewer features), but you can still do a pretty good email automation with Mailchimp.
Some considerations to Remarkety too. I never tried it, though, anyone? According to Remarkety, they are better than Klaviyo. But, well, it's a bit biased! I know it's not scientific to do that, but Klaviyo (177) has five times more reviews than Remarkety (38).
If you don't use Klaviyo nor Mailchimp nor Remarkety, you can still edit your emails templates to include some promo offers and discount links in them.
Now it’s time to create links that will make the magic link formula happen, for the best possible conversion.
To create such a link, here's a step by step:
Step #1. Install Automatic Discount and create a discount link. First, you need a valid discount code that you can find in your Discounts left menu (/admin/discounts). Let's say we have a 15% discount. The discount link will look like:
To convert more, though, you don't want customers to fall on your store's homepage when they click on the link. You want them to be redirected to a collection page or a product page. Let's say a product page. Your discount link will now look like this:
I created an example on one of our development store here.
You might also point the link to a product variant. Just check in your browser what is the right URL of your product variant and follow the same logic than above, adding ?discount=15-off at the end of the URL.
Step #2. Install Refersion and create your first referral link that will look like:
Again, if you want the referral link to go to a product page once clicked, it will look like this instead:
Step #3. Combine both links above into one single link, with both affiliate tracking and discount parameter in the URL. That will look like:
Both should work fine. Of course, make sure you change my dummy link for your store URL, your discount code and your affiliate link.
Step #4. Install Shoelace and create your first campaign. Make sure you use the link(s) created above in your new ad campaign(s).
Step #5. Install Klaviyo and set it up. Create email templates that include the links you created in the steps above. Be creative, Klaviyo gives you plenty of occasions to reach customers, don't repeat the same boring message and the same promo all the time.
Klaviyo does a great job at generating product reviews, but there is nothing like Yotpo. It's like reviews on steroids. Legal ones. And it also integrates easily with Kit.
To be honest, Klaviyo might be more user-friendly and faster to configure. If you don't want to install another app, go with it. If you feel adventurous and want to take a shot at Yotpo, here's how to set it up. I was amazed a year ago when I discovered their easy way to post a review: directly inside the review email.
I’m seeing more and more people using the Judge.me Shopify app, because it’s cheaper and because it’s easier to configure, apparently. I’ll give it a try and post something about Judge.me in another post.
Social Autopilot helps you Tweet and Share your posts and products, at random intervals with different messages. This is gold when you want to set some automation that doesn't look like a robot always posting the same message at the same interval. The best part of this app? It's free.
You can for sure use other social media management tools like Hootsuite or Buffer, but they don't integrate 100% with your Shopify store, and to automate the full process, you will need another paid tool, Zapier.
By the way, it could be worth looking at what Shopify suggests: to use IFTTT to automate some parts of your online store.
In the 2nd part of this *Sales on Autopilot article to be posted at the end of October, we will talk about the perfect setup to put Repeat Business on Autopilot, using a new App we launch soon called Customer Milestones, Klaviyo and Shoelace.*