This morning I got an e-mail from Shopify, as many of you may have also received, that read:
Subject: Important changes to the Mailchimp app for Shopify merchants
On March 21st, Mailchimp asked to be removed from the Shopify App Store and to end their relationship with Shopify. We know that you depend on email marketing to reach your customers, and we want to make this change as smooth for you as possible.
What happens next
If you currently have the Mailchimp app installed, it will continue to work until May 12th, 2019. After that date, the app will no longer connect your Shopify store to your Mailchimp account. We recommend you uninstall the app from your store by that date, and use one of our recommended alternatives.
To make the transition as simple as possible, here are the steps you’ll need to take:
Choose an alternative email marketing app
Here are email marketing apps we recommend. Some of these providers have promotional offers which are listed on their app store listings.
If you’re just getting started with email marketing:
If you have more advanced email marketing requirements:
Moving your customer lists
We know that migrating your customer lists between services may be difficult so we’re working on a tool to make it easy for you to import your Mailchimp lists into Shopify. The tool will be available in the coming weeks before May 12th. If you’d like to take immediate action, follow these steps to manually import your lists.
How to continue to use Mailchimp
If you would prefer to continue to use Mailchimp, there are two options available to you to connect your Shopify store with your Mailchimp account:
Build a custom integration for your store by setting up a private app
Use an integration app
Reply to this email with any questions and our 24/7 support team will be happy to guide you through this transition. Or contact us at anytime.
Then I read the blog announcements on the respective website's of Shopify and Mailchimp which I'll highlight keypoints below.
Effective today, the Mailchimp app is no longer available in the Shopify App Store. There are no immediate changes for merchants currently using Mailchimp, and we offer many other incredible email marketing apps.
We always want to be transparent with our merchants, so here’s what happened with Mailchimp.
Over the past 18 months, Shopify has had growing concerns about Mailchimp’s app because of the poor merchant experience and their refusal to respect our Partner Program Agreement. Our terms require app partners to share all important data back to the merchant using Shopify’s API to help them run their businesses.
It’s critical for our merchants to have accurate, complete insight into their businesses and customers, and this isn’t possible when Mailchimp locks in their data. Specifically, Mailchimp refuses to synchronize customer information captured on merchants’ online stores and email opt-out preferences. As a result, our merchants, other apps, and partner ecosystem can’t reliably serve their customers or comply with privacy legislation.
We will never put our merchants’ trust on the line like that. The data captured on behalf of our merchants belongs to those merchants, it’s as simple as that. Mailchimp was not willing to agree to these terms. That’s why Mailchimp has been removed from the Shopify App Store.
Our app store is a carefully curated space with an incredibly high standard of quality, designed to provide the most value possible to our merchants. We will always preserve this, and we won't shy away from making tough decisions to do so. The vast majority of our partners respect that standard, and are great contributors to making commerce better for everyone.
We’re here to help you find the apps that best suit your needs and goals. Get in touch with us any time for more support or to answer questions about your store and the apps you use.
Thanks for reading.
March 22, 2019
Yesterday, we asked Shopify to remove the Mailchimp for Shopify integration from their marketplace. We made this decision because Shopify released updated terms that would negatively impact our business and put our users at risk.
We also asked Shopify to leave the integration on for existing connected users through May 12, when the data sharing provisions of Shopify’s new terms take effect. We’re hopeful that Shopify will work with us to make this transition as smooth as possible for our shared users.
For months, we’ve been trying to work with Shopify on terms that would be fair and equitable for both of our businesses. Throughout these negotiations, we refused to agree to terms that jeopardize our users’ privacy and require us to hand over customer data acquired outside of Shopify.
Our shared users have complete control over their own data. By continuing to connect with Shopify through third-party integrations, we’re providing our shared users with the choice to share that data going forward. What we’re not willing to do is automatically and retroactively share all of this data with Shopify, including data acquired outside of and not connected to the Shopify platform, without the user involved. From our perspective, that data belongs to our users and isn’t ours to share directly with Shopify.
The new terms also make it clear that Shopify wants to control which providers their partners work with and how they conduct their business. We believe small businesses are best served when they can choose which technology they use to run their businesses, which is why Mailchimp integrates with more than 150 different apps and platforms. We won't compromise on that just because Shopify sees it as a competitive threat.
Even though our native integration will no longer be available, our customers can choose from several third-party integrations to connect their accounts. We have a comprehensive set of resources available, including manual workarounds and a directory of experts for users with more complex needs.
We’re disappointed that we weren’t able to continue our partnership with Shopify, but our customers are our top priority.
This statement was updated at 1:30pm ET on March 26, 2019
So basically Shopify is saying that they need access to all customer data so properly do their job for their Merchants. And MailChimp is saying that allowing this new level of access jeopardizes their users data. A few users have left comments on Shopify's post in favor of each company.
In favor of Shopify:
Totally agree with Shopify here, even after reading Mailchimp's take on it. The merchant should have access to this data. Especially when trying to strategize and optimize their lists. Mailchimp has never been ideal for direct to consumer brands. It was a nice entry point, but it was very limited. I recommend Klaviyo. It's been a game changer for us and the sales we've seen reflects that.
In favor of MailChimp:
Personally I think mailchimp is making a fair statement on their website, since the more fundamental problem is that as a Merchant I want to decide myself where data from my customers is collected and stored. Merchant should be worried about these kind of changes in the partner agreement.
Yeah it's some major spin doctoring Shopify is using…. they say “refusal to respect our Partner Program Agreement. Our terms require app partners to share all important data back to the merchant using Shopify’s API”. So basically mail chimp is crying FOUL at Shopify's attempts to collect our customers data that was obtained independently by Mail Chimp. I've got to agree with Mail Chimp on this one. pretty shady! And now Shopify is trying to plug a hole in the revenue they are losing from Mail Chimp leaving by telling us we have to switch to another provider.
Let's be honest, Mail Chimp coulda agreed to share all of my customers data with shopify and I would have never known the difference. Instead Mail Chimp took the moral high road.
Other commenters have raised questions on whether this move was strategic by Shopify to isolate MailChimp for entering an agreement with Square to offer e-commerce sales on their landing pages:
I'm a little suspicious with Shopify's real intention since MailChimp partnered with Square recently. This puts MailChimp in direct competition with Shopify. In addition, MailChimp said that Shopify is asking for past data in the statement from TechCrunch…
For me, this raises the question of whether Shopify wants to spy on Square when it comes to merchant who made sales and obtain customers through the Mailchimp and Square partnership. Facebook is notorious for spying and gathering their competitors' data and I'm pretty sure Shopify is trying to do the same. With all of Facebook's data sharing controversies, I'm becoming more suspicious of any company asking for past data and data not obtained through their service.
However personally I can't recall any previous example where Shopify removed an app for offering competing services. On the flipside of the coin, I can't recall a time when MailChimp didn't go out of their way to provide integrations with popular services. They seem to pride themselves on their giant list of integrations.
As a user, it's hard to filter through the noise of every other e-mail provider on the planet jumping in with their two cents about how MailChimp users should switch to their services.
What are your thoughts on the situation? Who's in the right?
Disclosures: I'm a shareholder of Shopify and a user of their services who recommends them often. I'm also a user of MailChimp personally and for clients, although I don't typically recommend them, not because of their business practices but because I am not a fan of their UI or pricing structure. I can't speak anything evil of their business practices from my experience with the company.