Smart business owners are always looking for advantages, and anything that saves time and effort is a big one. Tons of apps have been developed with this exact purpose in mind, bringing convenient methods of organization, management, and much more. Central to this ideal of efficiency is automation, in which software handles a task rather than a human worker.
Automation doesn't just save time, it also ensures every action is done consistently and eliminates the possibility of human error. Running a business often involves numerous small, repetitive tasks, and letting a computer handle these will increase productivity by allowing human workers to focus on other responsibilities that a computer simply can't manage.
The more options for automation you have, the more ideas you can come up with for improving your workflow. Zapier is a platform that vastly expands your automation capabilities by allowing you to create connections between apps — an event in one app causes an action in another.
How Zapier Enables Automation between Apps
It's already difficult enough for a business to choose the best apps for its purposes because there are simply so many available. Just search for any type of app and you're bound to find several options, all of which have slightly different feature sets. Sure, it's healthy competition and means more choice for businesses, but it also makes it harder to decide which is best for your specific needs — and if you want to use those apps together, it becomes even more complicated as you would normally need to seek out apps that integrate with each other.
This is where Zapier comes in: it creates cause-and-effect connections between apps so an occurrence in one app causes an action in another. These connections, called Zaps, bridge the gap between multiple apps so you can use them to enhance your workflow in unexpected ways. The criteria for activating the Zap is called a Trigger and the resulting process in the connected app is called an Action. To create a Zap, you choose a Trigger in one app and an Action in another.
Zapier is compatible with more than 1,500 apps, programs, and services, so the possibilities for Zaps are nearly endless. Best yet, 3dcart is integrated with all your favorite business-related apps through Zapier so you can use Zaps to perform tasks both inside and outside your online store.
Enhanced eCommerce Automation with 3dcart and Zapier
Recently, we made improvements to our integration with Zapier to enable a host of new types of Zaps you can use for brand-new functionality. Previously, you could create Zaps using the following Triggers:
- New Customer
- New Order
- Order Status Change
- Product Changed
- Product Deleted
- Product New
- Product Stock Changed
So, for example, you could create a Zap that would activate whenever one of these conditions was met, with a resulting Action in a different app. Events in your 3dcart store would therefore cause something else to occur in a connected app — for example, receiving a new order in 3dcart could send out a message to your team's Slack channel. (For more great examples of Zaps with 3dcart, check out our collection of some of the best Zapier integrations for growing your online business.)
Our update to 3dcart's Zapier integration took it a step further and added Actions within 3dcart, so now your 3dcart store can perform automated tasks triggered by events in another app — in other words, be on the receiving end of the Zap.
New Zapier Actions within 3dcart
You can now set up certain Actions to take place in your 3dcart Online Store Manager when a Zap is triggered by an outside app. These are the Actions currently available in 3dcart:
- Create Customer (creates a customer record in your store)
- Create Order (creates a new order)
- Create Product Simple (creates a new product; fewer fields than the Advanced version, so it's easier to fill out)
- Create Product Advanced (more fields than the Simple version to accommodate more detailed information)
- Create Cart (creates an empty shopping cart that can have items added to it with more Actions)
- Add Item to Cart (adds a product to an existing cart, whether created by a customer or by the Zap)
In order for these Actions to work, Zapier needs to pull certain data from your store, e.g. so it can find the right cart, add the correct item to a cart, or assign a new cart to the right customer. For this purpose, it utilizes Searches to pull up the appropriate ID. The available searches are as follows:
- Find Customer
- Find Order
- Find Product
- Find Cart
While most of the Actions allow you to create new records including orders, customers, and products, the Searches are used to find those that already exist in your 3dcart store and to find the new records created by a previous Action.
Ways to Use Zapier with 3dcart
Now that we've laid out the basic functionality, let's look at some examples of how these Actions can be used to make things happen automatically in your 3dcart store. Remember that the actual Triggers can take place in any one of over 100 apps that connect through Zapier to 3dcart.
Zaps can be used to automate simple tasks that would be time-consuming or annoying for a human. For example, let's say you are using MailChimp for your newsletters and you want to create a customer record in your 3dcart store for anyone who subscribes, even if they haven't yet purchased anything. You could create these customer records manually whenever you got a new subscriber, but it's much more efficient to use Zapier.
To accomplish this, you could create a Zap that would trigger when a new subscriber signed up for your MailChimp newsletter. Its associated Action would be to create a new customer record in your 3dcart store using the email address the subscriber signed up with, so every time you get a new subscriber, the Zap would automatically create a matching customer record.
Since the customer would now have an ID in your store, you could set up Actions with further Zaps that require an existing customer. (Of course, you'd also be able to use regular 3dcart customer management tools in conjunction with that customer record.)
Zaps can also be used to create complex relationships and series of Actions within 3dcart that allow for some creative functionality. For example, what if you wanted to create customers from new MailChimp subscribers as above, but also add their email address to a Google Sheet and send them an instant link to purchase a specific product? You can do it all, as Zapier allows you to create Multi-Step Zaps. You can also chain Zaps together by using the result of one Zap's Action as the Trigger for another Zap.
To start, you would use the same Zap we described above, and then add another Zap to function as a simple connection between MailChimp and Google Sheets that would trigger upon a new newsletter signup and perform the Action of adding the subscriber's email address to the Google Sheet. This way, you'd automatically create a new customer record in 3dcart and add the email address to your Google Sheet at the same time.
Your next Zap would be a Multi-Step Zap that would trigger when a new row is added to the Google Sheet and perform the following Searches and Actions in 3dcart:
- Find Product
- Create Cart
- Add Product to Cart
You'd then get a URL for the cart, with the product already added, and can use another app to automatically send the customer a link to checkout.
Setting up complex Zap relationships and Multi-Step Zaps can be complicated, but enables you to come up with unique systems for handling all types of situations.
Zapier and 3dcart: A Perfect Match
Zapier is a fantastic tool for streamlining huge portions of the eCommerce process and expanding the capabilities of 3dcart's already comprehensive feature set. Our recent improvements to our integration with Zapier opened up new possibilities for creating Zaps that perform Actions within your 3dcart Online Store Builder. As you grow your business, you may find a need for additional eCommerce automation to improve efficiency — and with 3dcart and Zapier, it's already waiting for you.