What is going on with Shopify and Mailchimp?

by | Mar 26, 2019 | Blog, Shopify | 0 comments

What is going on with Shopify and Mailchimp?

It all began with a seemingly simple update to Shopify’s Terms of Use. Only two weeks ago Shopify announced upcoming changes that affect all partners and app developers, including companies like Hello Digital and Mailchimp. Some of the key changes won’t take effect until May 12, 2019, but if you have been reading the headlines this week you may have already seen some high-profile reactions to Shopify’s tightening attitude to protect its customers.

If you are just coming into this for the first time, the important takeaway is that effective immediately, the Mailchimp integration is no longer available on the Shopify App Store. As a long-time user of both Shopify and Mailchimp, this news came as a surprise. The two companies have shared a deep integration for many years, providing a wide variety of marketing tools to E-commerce merchants.

A quick Google search will return a flood of articles. TechCrunch is reporting “Mailchimp and Shopify break up” and in the last few hours AdWeek is reporting “Shopify’s Latest Moves Are a Sign of What’s to Come in Ecommerce“.

To try and make sense of this, we can turn to Shopify’s statement on 22 March 2019:

 

Trello Board Example Showing a Productivity Workflow

View Shopify’s statement here. You can also view Mailchimp’s statement here.

When you boil it down, the central theme across both statements is related to data and privacy. In short, when you use Mailchimp alongside Shopify, you are sharing data in both directions. As Mailchimp and Shopify have grown, and the world has been rocked with data breach scandals, the battle over customer data is becoming more contentious than ever.

The good news is that if you already use Mailchimp with Shopify, you have until May 12 to make alternative arrangements. This is, coincidentally, when Shopify’s updated Terms of Use come into play.

Regardless of the reasons behind this news, if you’re going to be affected, what can you do?

 

What are the alternatives?

Luckily, Mailchimp has detailed three options to use both platforms, and at the end of the article, I’ll offer some other alternatives.

 

Third party integrations – ShopSync, Zapier, Automate.io

The first option listed by Mailchimp is to use a third-party integration, such as those offered by ShopSync, Zapier, and Automate.io. ShopSync is the only free option as Zapier and Automate.io both require paid subscriptions.

The main benefit of using a third party integration is that you should be able to continue operating without many changes. The downside is it may require an additional monthly fee you weren’t expecting.

 

Import data manually

If you would like to, you can import your customer data manually; however, this isn’t a long term solution. I would only recommend this if you are stuck and waiting on another integration.

 

Install the Mailchimp Site Code

You can still run pop-ups and retargeting ads on your Shopify site by adding the Mailchimp site code to your current Shopify theme. This is a quick and easy way to maintain a lot of functionality, but you will still lose the ability to update your Mailchimp lists automatically with Shopify.

A full guide on setting up any of these options has kindly been provided by Mailchimp here: Mailchimp for Shopify Solutions.

 

Migrate away from Mailchimp 

If nothing above interests you, then perhaps this is the right time to consider migrating away from Mailchimp. The number of alternatives would be too many to cover in an article like this, but my main recommendation would be to use Klayvio. Klayvio is undoubtedly one of the most powerful marketing automation tools available for Shopify and allows you to segment your customers and guide them through a custom journey flow. We have no relationship with Klayvio but have used it before and can attest to its power and usability.

 

My thoughts? I can understand why Shopify’s changes are essential to help protect the data of their customers and shoppers in general. Recent data breaches on other platforms and last years introduction of GDPR have significantly altered the data privacy landscape. It seems this is now coming to a head between Shopify and Mailchimp. Although it is a shame the two companies couldn’t come to an agreement moving forward, I am confident that those affected by the changes can find a workaround by May 12.

About the author:

Angus Allan

Managing Director of Hello Digital

Angus is an experienced and passionate digital entrepreneur who has worked with clients around the world on a wide range of E-commerce and retail projects. Angus is excited about technology, change, and transformation, and has spoken about these topics, and more, at various events, workshops, and classes in New Zealand. As Hello Digital's Managing Director he oversees the day-to-day operations of the company and is the primary point of contact for our consulting clients and international partners.

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