What happens next?: The aftermath of the Shopify and MailChimp break-up.

Breakups are hard. We know.

Especially in the marketing world, where cross-platform data integration is extremely important for businesses to run smoothly. So when two major marketing platforms decide they can no longer work together, it creates problems from every angle.

This is exactly what has happened: at the beginning of this year, MailChimp and Shopify decided to break up (or “consciously uncouple” if we were a celebrity magazine) due to irrevocable differences. 

They both have different stories behind the break-up, of course.

Shopify claims that it was the poor merchant experience within the integration and MailChimp’s refusal to accept their Partner Program Agreement. This means that MailChimp has declined to synchronise the customer information Shopify has compiled within the online stores with their opt-out preferences, so customers will still be getting e-mails after they opt-out. This also means that because MailChimp has locked in the data, the merchants can’t get an accurate insight into their customers, which is pretty pointless for an analytical marketing tool. 

However, MailChimp has asserted that they made the first move in the split after Shopify updated their terms and they believed it would put their users at risk. Within the new GDPR rules surrounding e-mails, MailChimp cannot share any customer’s data with a third party (in this case Shopify) as they cannot guarantee what they will do with the information. As a result, they have refused to share the information to protect their customers and comply with the new laws. This also coincides with MailChimp’s recent partnership with Square to launch shoppable landing pages – meaning they are now also in competition with Shopify.

Neither company was willing to compromise, with Shopify adamant that they need the information to be as accurate as possible, and MailChimp not willing to share the information to keep their customer’s privacy as a priority. This break-up has had a big impact on the marketing community as so many small businesses use both platforms, thanks to the fact they’re easy to use and set up, and they’re at the cheaper end of the scale compared to the larger platforms.

Since then, both have tried to get around the various downfalls that come with the split to make the business of their customers to run as smoothly as possible. 

MailChimp has tried to determine various ways to overcome the problems for their existing Shopify clients, however, they all require manual fixes – for an automated email marketing business, creating more onerous tasks seems a step backward. Nevertheless, MailChimp has tried to move forward by launching its own website building tool to compete with Shopify. Each site comes with a sign-up form so that businesses can build up a customer database from day one, and it will be integrated will all of MailChimp’s existing marketing tools have made the business so popular. It is currently only in the beta-testing stage, so it may be a while yet before we can see if the new tool is a triumph.

On the other hand, Shopify has brazenly introduced Shopify Email, a service designed to cut out the middle man for a separate email tool (like MailChimp) in order to use their service through email. With Shopify Email, the customer can create, run and track email marketing campaigns alongside all existing Shopify Marketing tools. They have designed customisable email templates and brand assets to make creating an e-commerce campaign effortless.

Like MailChimp, they have made it easy to transfer domain names over to the new tool, as well as all of the systems you’d expect for analysing the success of email marketing, such as the number of e-mail opens, click-through rates and the number of purchases made through the email.

It is early still days with the new tools, so it is hard to predict whether they will be a success or not. We’ll be spending the next few months monitoring the impact the updates have on each platform and whether either or both, turn out to be great achievements.

Get in touch with us if you have any MailChimp or Shopify questions in the meantime and we will get back to you as soon as we can!