Can Airtable add new records automagically?


I have a home based business, and I don’t know much about databases in general, and no next to nothing about Airtable specifically. I am a fast learner, but this is a little over my head and don’t know if Airtable can even do what I want.

Here is what I want:

  1. Setup a database of customers and their orders. I sell clothing, and use a code - like TOP1S (Top, style 1, size Small) - so each style and size has its own unique code.

  2. I want to be able to see what each customer has purchased over a period of time, and who has purchased each style/size. As well as knowing how each style is doing in sales over a period of time.

  3. Then, I want to be able to automatically update this database by forwarding an email that will have a receipt with a new order - it would need to match up the customer or add a new customer - by email, as that would be unique. The style code would not be included though - It wouldn’t say TOP1S - but it would have a line with Top 1, size Small. I already have a spreadsheet with the codes and the styles and sizes matched up.

  4. Then - bonus points - it makes a to do list to follow up 2 weeks after the purchase.

I figure 1 and 2 can be done fairly easily. But I don’t know if Airtable can even do 3 & 4. And before I get too deep down the rabbit hole, I need to find out if it’s even possible.

Thank you!


Quick answer: Yes, your desired base can be built in Airtable — but, currently, not in Airtable alone. For Step 3, you’ll need to use a middleware offering such as Zapier, or have someone custom-roll you some API-driven code, to handle the email-to-new-records functionality. Don’t let that frighten you off, though; the few pieces I’ve put together in Zapier have been easy to build and deploy. I’ll have to yield to @Julian_Kirkness or another of our local Zapier experts for tips and hints on how best to implement it.


As @W_Vann_Hall says, this is quite simple to implement in Zapier. You can have a Zap monitor an email inbox (Exchange, GMail etc) for the messages, extract the data you need (may need to use a formatter step or similar) and then create the new records in Airtable.

You will probably also need a Find a Record Airtable step to search for the record you need to link the new record to (by email address) and fetch the customer’s record ID. (you could also use the create if not found option to create new customer records as part of the process).

For an example, I use this for capturing emails to/from clients - simply adding the email as a new contact record attached to the client.

Hope this helps?


Thank you both! So I will continue on my quest to get this set up. I’m not anywhere near putting in new records yet - I’m struggling with the basic design of the database and linking records. But at least I know what I want can be done.