Blog - Q&A from our eCommerce automation event

Q&A from our eCommerce automation event

Author: Alice Jones — Read time: 6 mins

Earlier this month, we teamed up with experts from our trusted partners; Shopify Plus, Oracle Bronto and Brightpearl, to deliver a series of talks on how to drive growth and sell more using eCommerce automation.

The event took place at the UK Fast Campus in Manchester and was a great opportunity for the industry to come together and chat about how automation is changing the face of eCommerce, and the opportunities that this presents retailers.

At the end of the event, the experts came together for a live Q&A sesh, where they answered questions direct from the audience. Joining our Joint MD, James Greenwood was Rob Beattie, Head of Partnerships UK at Brightpearl, Tim Sumner, Solutions Engineer at Shopify Plus, James Marshall from and Alex Weston, Channel Manager at Oracle Bronto.

Q: How important is automation to

James Marshall,

“Automation is a buzzword at the moment. It’s all about identifying the tasks you’d normally spend a lot of man hours on that could be easily done by a computer. You can then reinvest that money in marketing campaigns, new features and new technologies to drive things to the next level”.

Q: Rob, where do you start with automation?

Rob Beattie, Head of Partnerships UK, Brightpearl:

“From a back office perspective, we tend to find data all over the place. So, look at that data, look at where you can consolidate it and take a step back. Try to understand those low value, repetitive tasks that are perhaps done manually, where you can introduce software to automate and refocus someone’s time on a more important task. For example, accountants spend a lot of time pulling data from one system to another. That’s not what they’re there for, it’s not their expertise.”

Q: James, how did CurrentBody start the process of automation?

James Marshall,

“We were on a community version of Magento, and one of the biggest reasons we moved to Shopify is all of the automated solutions in place, such as Flow and the launchpad solutions. With our Magento site, we had people inputting price changes manually, and when we tried to do this from a spreadsheet, it would time out. We don’t have those problems with Shopify, we don’t have to worry about caches, reindexing or staying up late to get products online.”

Q: When you have a merchant that’s new to Shopify Plus, where do you start?

Tim Sumner, Solutions Engineer, Shopify Plus:

“We advise them not to go crazy, try to come up with a few things that are really repetitive right now and think how you want to automate that. For example, do we have people staying up late at night to change pricing? Do we have someone checking a fraudulent order every day? How can we stop that? With Flow, the possibilities are limitless.”

Q: What are some of the ways to weave automation into email?

Alex Weston, Channel Manager for Oracle Bronto:

“Cart recovery and welcome series emails are just a couple of simple strategies. However, re-mailing, which is basically sending the same email out again with a different subject line to those who didn’t open it, is a popular way of hitting customers again with a marketing message. Simply reminding customers you’re there can help you see a significant boost in revenue.”

Q: How do all these systems work together to create a greater automation machine?

Alex Weston, Channel Manager for Oracle Bronto:

“One of the easiest ways to have everything work together is via Flow. Each different app will have pre-built integrations and open APIs which makes getting the data across to different systems is pretty straightforward.”

Tim Sumner, Solutions Engineer, Shopify Plus:

“An API is basically what automates the sending and receiving of information. When we talk about apps on Shopify, they all use APIs to talk to together. The goal with Flow and Flow Connector, is to try and bring the interchange of info right to the heart of the event, so as someone places an order, you decide how it’s pulled into the food chain.”

Rob Beattie, Head of Partnerships UK, Brightpearl:

“Brightpearl integrates with Shopify Plus and all marketplaces such as ebay and Amazon. A lot of what we do focuses on things from a back end perspective, but in theory you could automate the whole journey from capturing someone’s email, to some personalisation from Nosto, all the way through to the order coming through Brightpearl with fulfilment, delivery and tracking reference back out.”

Q: There are some products that are not allowed to be sold through gateways such as Stripe. Does using third party card payment providers affect automation?

Tim Sumner, Solutions Engineer, Shopify Plus:

“No. On Flow you can do almost everything you can do on Stripe or Shopify Payments, so it shouldn’t affect it that much. Obviously, the type of product you’re selling and whether Shopify allow it or not is a bigger issue, but you’ll be able to do everything on Flow you can already do with other gateways.”

Q: James, what’s your role and what does your average day look like?

James Marshall,

“I joined from Missguided, a large Magento company. was migrating from a community version of Magento to Magento 2, so I was brought in to manage that process. Having seen there was no benefit from Magento 1 to 2, we reassessed and took Shopify. Now, I’m managing the development team, both in-house and agency, internationally and domestically. My day is split between managing developers and solution finding and architecting different problems, as well as liaising with international development agencies and trying anything tech.”

Q: How long does a Shopify Plus build take?

James Greenwood, MD, Strawberry:

“We’ve done them in six weeks, but our standard answer would be 90-120 days.”

Interested in finding out more about Shopify Plus? Click here.