One of the cheapest, most cost effective ways to reach your customers and increase sales is through email. Before you can do that you need build up a mailing list and that can take some time. Here’s a simple way to increase subscribers to your store mailing list that your customers will love.

Offer a free download to new mailing list subscribers

Everybody loves free stuff. Offering a free download to your new subscribers is a great way reward customers (and future customers!) for signing up.

A free download can be anything, but ideally related to your products.

  • Selling a espresso coffee machines? Try offering a PDF of ten tips for better espresso.
  • Offering a range of fashion accessories? How about a short styling video featuring your products?
  • Boutique clothing? Try a lookbook for next season.

It doesn’t have to be long - in fact, short and to the point is better. Focus on offering a few key pieces of valuable information.

Upload your content to your store

Once you’ve created your free download you need to upload to your store. Shopify has a a Files section which is ideal. Upload your file and copy the URL.

Upload your free content to Shopify Files

If you’re using another platform, such as Tictail, you could use Dropbox or a Wordpress blog to host the content.

You’ll need the URL in the step so your new subscribers can download the content.

Add the URL to your welcome email

Most mailing list systems will let you show a welcome message when a new customer signs up. You can use that to include the free download URL so subscribers receive it after signup.

This example uses MailChimp but most of the popular systems have a similar setup.

Login MailChimp and edit your mailing list. Choose Signup Forms and choose Confirmation “thank you” page. This page is shown to your subscribers after the email address has been confirmed. It’s the perfect time to offer a link to the downloadable content.

Add the link along with a nice call friendly welcome.

__Tip__: You can add a link with by clicking the anchor button in the MailChimp content editor toolbar.

Once a customer confirms their subscription they will receive the welcome email with the link to the downloadable content.

Attract subscribers with your free content

Your downloadable content is now available to new subscribers. Make the most of it by promoting it in the call to action for you newsletter signup.

Promote the free download in mailing list signup form

Next steps

You can easily follow the steps above to update your content periodically. Keeping it fresh keeps it relevant to new subscribers. Don’t forget to update the URL in your welcome email after you’ve replaced the uploaded file.

If you’re interested in other ways to grow you MailChimp list you might enjoy these previous posts

Shopify’s new Timber theme is a great new way to start building custom store themes. It’s got a sensible selection of components built right in. It’s like Bootstrap for Shopify designers.

In this article we’ll look at how easy it is to add a custom Back In Stock button into the product page in two easy steps.

You’ll need to have Back In Stock installed in the store for the button to work. If you haven’t go Back In Stock setup yet go do that first.

Adding the button to the product page

Take a look at one of your product pages with a sold out product. In Timber the Add to cart button appears right next the product image. We want the Back In Stock button to appear just after it.

The Back In Stock button to appear just after the add to cart button

In the theme editor open up product.liquid.

Scroll down to the Add to cart button which should be on or around line 145.

<input type="submit" name="add" class="btn" id="addToCart" value="Add to Cart">

Add another button right on the line after it. To differentiate it from the ‘Add to cart’ button we can use Timber’s built in secondary button style by adding the class name btn-secondary. We can also set the new element to be type=button so it doesn’t submit the form when clicked.

<input type="submit" name="add" class="btn" id="addToCart" value="Add to Cart">
<input type="button" name="bis" class="btn-secondary" id="BIS_trigger" value="Email when available">

Hit Save and reload the product page. The new button should sit just after the Add to cart button.

The Back In Stock added to the product page

So far so good - but what about multivariant products? We only want this new button to appear when a sold out variant is selected. For that we can dive into some JavaScript.

Hide or show the button with JavaScript

When the customer chooses a size or style from the dropdown it fires a little JavaScript function called selectCallback. This function handles toggling the ‘Add to cart’ button to display ‘Sold out’ (and back again). The relevant logic is in product.liquid around line 207.

if (variant.available) {
  // We have a valid product variant, so enable the submit button
  addToCart.removeClass('disabled').removeAttr('disabled').val('Add to Cart');
} else {
  // Variant is sold out, disable the submit button
  addToCart.val('Sold Out').addClass('disabled').attr('disabled', 'disabled');
}

We want to do the same with the Back In Stock button, so add two lines: one for the variant when it’s sold out (show the button) and one when it’s available (hide the button):

if (variant.available) {
  // We have a valid product variant, so enable the submit button
  addToCart.removeClass('disabled').removeAttr('disabled').val('Add to Cart');
  $('.main-content #BIS_trigger').hide();
} else {
  // Variant is sold out, disable the submit button
  addToCart.val('Sold Out').addClass('disabled').attr('disabled', 'disabled');
  $('.main-content #BIS_trigger').show();
}

Hit Save and reload the page again. Try switching between a sold out and available product variant. The button should politely show or hide itself as required.

Questions? Comments? Drop an email to support@backinstock.org. We’d love to hear from you!

A dive into the workflow behind sending (or not sending) customer notifications

Store owners occasionally contact support asking for details on what steps are involved causes a notification to be sent. This hasn’t been published previously because it’s a little more complex than you would expect.

As more stores are working with an advanced or hybrid setups, such as inventory being managed by a third party service, it can be useful to understand the checks that are performed before sending a customers notification.

The quick summary is

Customer notifications are sent when sending is enabled, a product is published and the variant inventory is greater than zero.

Let’s break down the workflow step-by-step.

Are there any notifications?

The first check is to actually see if there are any unsent customers notifications. If there the delivery task continues to the next step.

Is sending enabled?

Next, the store account is checked to make sure sending notifications is allowed. If for example, you have disabled delivery we stop here.

The app also checks if a delivery policy is enabled. This limits the number of notifications sent for a single product variant per hour or day.

If neither of these settings will prevent email being delivered we continue to the next step.

Is the product published?

It’s important that the product is published on the store. Sending the URL for a hidden product to the customer is pointless and frustrating - clicking it will only get the you as far as page not found message. If the product is hidden we stop here. If it’s published, we can continue.

Is the inventory quantity greater than zero?

Finally, we check the product is in stock by looking at the inventory quantity. If the quantity is greater than zero (1 or more) the variant is considered to be in stock.

Note that the inventory management setting is ignored. This means you can use external inventory tools to mange your catalog. As long as they updated the quantity field Back In Stock will happily consider the product variant to be in stock.

Send the email

Finally, the email is sent and customers can start placing orders.

Delivery Policy is the first new feature launch for 2014, and something a few of the bigger stores are really going to appreciate.

Sometimes you can find yourself with a popular product on your hands. Lots of customers have registered for a back in stock notification. Great!

But what if your supplies are constrained? Your distributor doesn’t have enough units to cover the size of the order you’d like to place. Or it’s been sometime since you last stocked the product - how many of the customers waiting will convert to a purchase?

Setting a delivery policy lets you control how many customers are notified at once.

Normally when a product is restocked all the customers waiting for the item are notified by email by Back In Stock. If you don’t have enough product inventory to cover all the demand you can end up with a customer receiving an email notification for a product only to arrive at your store and find it already sold out again.

With the delivery policy feature you can control how many customers are notified at once.

For example, say your stunning designer wall clock has been featured on @ShopifyPicks and several hundred customers are waiting to buy. You can only reorder 20 this week so you’d only like to notify 20 people at a time.

By enabling the Delivery Policy for your account you can choose to notify only as many customers per hour as you have units to sell. Customers notifications will continue to be sent each hour until all customers have been notified or the inventory sells out again.

If you’d like to read more about setting up a Delivery Policy for your account take a look at the Delivery Policy help page.

A major new feature to help you grow your store mailing list is available today: MailChimp integration.

We’ve covered a few ways to build your mailing list, and today there’s one more: Back In Stock now integrates with MailChimp. This new feature allows customers to opt-in to your mailing list at the same time a product notification is created. It’s simple to setup, and you can select which mailing list new customers are added to.

To get started log into the app and choose Customization, MailChimp Integration. It’s quick and simple to setup with no template editing required. All you need is your MailChimp account.

This new feature is available to all accounts on a paid plan. Need help or more information on this feature? Or just want to share how it’s working on your store? Great! Please get in touch.

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