MailChimp and Shopify are two of the largest and best-known platforms in online marketing and e-commerce. MailChimp is the best-known email marketing automation service around, and Shopify commands the second highest market share in e-commerce platforms (behind WooCommerce).
Many businesses, therefore, use both platforms in tandem, and the recent news that integration between these two platforms is about to become a lot more difficult has led to many an online business owner’s furrowed brow.
The MailChimp app has been removed from the Shopify app store. The MailChimp app will continue to work until May 12, 2019, after which it will be removed completely. If you are currently relying on MailChimp to handle the email marketing for your Shopify store, you don’t have much time to find a replacement or workaround.
What does this mean for your business if you use both of these services and what should you do?
Why Has the MailChimp App Been Removed from the Shopify App Store?
Both Shopify and MailChimp released statements claiming that they had made the decision to remove the app from the store. We may never know the exact details of the spat.
MailChimp is claiming that Shopify’s new terms of service require them to hand over too much customer information. By extension, they are protecting themselves from new EU laws that put the onus on companies like MailChimp to tightly secure their sensitive customer data.
Shopify is claiming that MailChimp is not integrating enough data to make the integration work well for merchants. Specifically noted are email opt-out preferences. If these details are not shared between the two platforms, one can see how it’s possible that a customer could opt-out from marketing via a link in a MailChimp email and then continue to receive marketing from the Shopify store – a big problem for Shopify.
You Can Still Use MailChimp with Shopify
MailChimp has essentially stepped back and left the decision up to you whether you want to continue to use the two platforms together (and reducing their own legal liability by doing so). By using a third-party app as a ‘go-between’, the two platforms can send data back and fore pretty much like nothing has changed. Note that this means MailChimp will keep control over what type of information will be allowed to be shared, so integration may never be as tightly integrated as some Shopify merchants would like.
MailChimp has indicated three third-party providers that can be used for this integration duty. ShopSync is the clear front-runner, as it offers the largest number of features and is currently free for MailChimp-Shopify integration. Zapier and Automate.io also perform similar duties but charge for the privilege.
MailChimp also points out you can synchronize your lists manually, but this opens up the potential for error. Also, the most important thing that you’re losing out on without proper MailChimp-Shopify integration is the ability to send abandoned shopping cart emails automatically. Abandoned cart emails have been shown to have a 60% sales recovery potential, so you really want to get proper automation back in the mix. All of the afore-mentioned third-party integration solutions allow for automated abandoned shopping cart emails.
Alternatives to MailChimp for Shopify Merchants
MailChimp has long made it clear that it is not tied to any single e-commerce platform, with support and integration for hundreds of platforms. In fact, with this move, they’re essentially saying that e-commerce is not their biggest priority. They will almost certainly lose Shopify merchants because of it, as people look to alternatives for the first time.
There are other email marketing platforms that play nice with Shopify. In fact, many have been built from the ground up as email marketing platforms specifically designed to work for e-commerce, and therefore in some respects work better than MailChimp at segmentation and personalization.
Klaviyo is the most obvious replacement for MailChimp for e-commerce businesses. It has tighter integration with Shopify and allows for much-improved segmentation. This means you can better personalize your marketing efforts at individuals and groups based on what you know about them and their previous behaviors.
Klaviyo has a range of advanced features that MailChimp never had and is the go-to tool for those looking for highly personalized segmented email marketing. However, Klaviyo is aimed at mid-size stores or larger. Smaller stores that loved MailChimp’s competitive pricing may find Klaviyo simply too expensive.
Less pricey offerings suggested by Shopify include Spently, SmartrMail, and Jilt. These platforms are all aggressively trying to get people to migrate from MailChimp, so bargains are to be found at the moment.
Alternatives to Shopify for MailChimp Users
A less-likely solution for an established Shopify e-commerce store would be to switch e-commerce platform, but it’s certainly an option for those just starting out. WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Magento each all have a big market share and are worth your consideration.
In summary, for those affected by the Shopify-MailChimp spat, you have a few options:
- Periodically manually import from Shopify to MailChimp
- Use a third-party integration tool that links the two (ShopSync)
- Replace MailChimp with another email marketing service (Klaviyo)
- Replace Shopify with another e-commerce platform (WooCommerce)
Use this time to consider other options to improve your marketing, Consider how you can improve the personalization and segmentation offered by your website, emails, and marketing. Advanced tools like DataCue can help.