If there’s one thing to be said about Spencer Daniel, it’s that he’s super passionate about automation.
Every ecommerce operator knows what it feels like to wear multiple hats at work; with each hat you put on, your working hours quickly become full of tedious, ongoing tasks that leave little room for creativity.
As the Operations Manager of the popular beauty brand Doe Lashes, automation is considered a lifesaver for Spencer to be able to complete his many weekly tasks while still having some spare time to think strategically about the business.
In fact, Spencer’s goal is to introduce automation into more operations processes to help ecommerce operators get more innovative about their work.
“I wake up every morning really pumped to see what else there is to be automated and what I can fix. That way, there's more collaboration and creativity, not just numbers and guidelines because that gets boring.”
But his role wasn’t always easy. When he first joined the Doe Lashes team, he was surprised by a few outdated processes.
The challenge: outdated, manual processes led to a lack of creativity
When he first joined Doe, Spencer felt surprised by the way operators worked:“
Before I jumped into ecommerce, my initial thought was that everybody already had it figured out. I assumed there would be resolutions for ongoing issues already. But when I actually joined the industry, I was surprised to see how messy things can be behind the scenes. There’s still a lot that needs to be figured out.”
And when you’re in charge of a variety of different tasks—including managing the back end of apps, handling finances, organizing data into spreadsheets, handling support tickets, and keeping track of inventory and shipping—these messes become time-consuming, very quickly.
Spencer’s role is to make sure all of Doe’s operations run smoothly and efficiently. But as he grew and took on more responsibilities, he started to wonder if there was a way he could streamline operations to make everyone’s lives easier.
“I noticed people were doing things manually. They had a system, but that system was outdated. It was all very tedious, step-by-step, manual work. That’s when I realized I could be the person who could bring automation to operations,” said Spencer.
In Spencer’s opinion, working with tedious processes leads to a lack of creativity across teams.
Why? You don’t have the time to take a step back, see the bigger picture, and explore ideas that could actually help you scale.
This is when Spencer discovered automation.
The solution: automate all repetitive tasks
In the wise words of Spencer: “If something is repetitive, then it’s something that can be automated.”
Before Alloy, he was an avid Zapier user for automation. When he discovered how Alloy is 100% focused on ecommerce and supported all of the apps in Doe Lashes’ tech stack, he decided it was worth checking it out.
His favorite feature is the Iterate Block, which allows you to perform operations on each item in a bigger list of items. For example, if you use a Shopify List Order action, then you can add an Iterate block right after to iterate through the line items in the order you find.“
This block is a lifesaver because I can go through large sums of data and use it however I want. It opens up a lot of possibilities for customizing workflows that save me time,” He said. “That’s what I really like about Alloy—there are a lot of functionalities that are only available on this platform.”
With these workflows, Spencer says the team is able to pinpoint problems faster and be one step closer to their customers (since they’re not burdened with all of the back-end processes).“
We're able to see and resolve ongoing issues that are not only affecting the company but also our customers. So these workflows improve our customers’ experience when they're shopping with us.”
A few of Doe’s fav workflows
The Doe team is using a variety of workflows, but there are three in particular that Spencer finds really impactful.
1. Facebook orders workflow
Doe Lashes gets several orders from Facebook every day, but the order data would come into Shopify and get marked as “pending.” Doe also wouldn’t collect payment until these Facebook orders were fulfilled.
This meant the order data wouldn’t sync properly in their warehouse management system since they weren’t marked as “paid.” But then how would the orders get fulfilled?
You can see how this quickly became a mess for Spencer…
Dealing with these orders manually every day was eating up a lot of his time. So, once he got set up with Alloy, he crafted a workflow to manage these orders automatically.
“Every day, the workflow collects all of the Facebook orders, marks them as complete, fills out an order form to send to our 3PL, and spits back the tracking information after. This eliminates the entire task off my plate, saving me up to 30-40 minutes every single day,” Spencer explained.
2. Integrating custom apps
In its tech stack, Doe Lashes uses a lot of custom apps that the team built for very specific use cases. However, they needed an easy way to sync the data from these apps into their Shopify platform—without having to build direct integrations themselves.
This gave Spencer another workflow idea: Use Alloy as the integration layer between the team’s custom-built apps and Shopify.
Here's what this workflow look like:
3. Adding free gifts to purchases
For purchases made outside of Shopify, it was difficult for Doe to offer and manage free gifts because the app they use doesn’t apply to other channels. But this meant a lot of shoppers couldn’t get access to the same promotions that others were.
Since the Doe team wants to offer a good experience to all of Doe’s customers, Spencer created a workflow to make sure customers can get access to the same free gift promotions.
How does it work?
The workflow is triggered when there’s a new order. In the workflow, Alloy scans to see if the order meets certain criteria. If the criteria are met, Alloy will notify Doe’s 3PL about the free gift that should be added to the person’s order.
Whether a customer is purchasing via a social media channel, Tapcart, Shopify, or another channel, the Doe team can now easily offer and organize those free gifts to all shoppers—guaranteeing a great shopping experience for all.
This workflow is a lifesaver. I continuously use this feature every time we do a promotion outside of our online store or website.
Spencer Daniel, Operations Manager at Doe Lashes
Doe Lashes’s results with automation
Using just the three workflows mentioned above, Spencer said he saves 4-5 hours every day from work that used to be manual and tedious for him.
“These tasks aren’t simple. There’s a whole process involved, and people don’t understand how efficient automation makes it,” Spencer explained. “The automation could be just five steps and it’ll take the software 10 seconds to complete, but if you’re going to do it manually it’s going to take you fifteen minutes for every order or task.”
Adding up his time saved, Alloy gives Spencer 20-25 hours back every week to focus on other things.
What’s he using this new-found time for?
…Thinking about even more ways Alloy can automate Doe’s internal processes.
“Look at problems and ask yourself if it’s something that can be automated. Then build a series of workflows to the point where you're just focusing on scaling, and not just doing these repetitive tasks anymore.”
Repetitive tasks should be automated
As we mentioned, Spencer’s goal is to continue improving how operations managers get their work done by getting creative with automation:
“This is what I love about my job. Whenever things pop up or there's some kind of issue, the first thing that comes to my mind is if I can automate it.”
Alloy gives brands endless opportunities to connect every part of their tech stack and create experiences that save time and improve how customers shop with you.
Let us know if you’re interested in similar solutions, or if you have workflow ideas and want to see if Alloy is capable of building them. You can book a time to chat with our team here.