- Their "Shopify Payments" onboarding is highly shady. They onboard you _without_ performing KYC. Once you are committed to the platform, they perform KYC. They refuse to perform KYC before moving to their platform.
- Once you commit, you can't go back to Stripe - they remove Stripe from the list of providers. In the past, support would reenable it upon request. Now they refuse.
- We have a high volume site that migrated to Shopify Payments, after 4 years of Stripe without issue. Two weeks later, they sent an email stating we were not eligible Shopify Payments, refused to let us return to Stripe (would not reactivate it), and held the money collected for three months.
- On another store, a competitor issued a trademark infringement email. Shopify pulled all products immediately, without communication - and refused to reinstate, despite letters from our legal team showing proof of capitulation from the accusatory party.
The _platform_ is great. It out performs Magento, Presta, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, etc etc with its interface, product management, raw performance and core feature set.
However, it is most definitely the PayPal of the eCommerce world: they can, have, and will happily kill accounts and clients based on their whims.
Anti Money Laundering is a ongoing process where you subscribe to a service that searches and monitors different lists for the name and birth year of all your customers. It raises a flag for a fuzzy match. The lists range from sanctions and terrorism which should immediately freeze the customer account, to adverse media such as financial crimes which is a judgement call depending on your service, to politically exposed persons or PEP which means to be cautious about transactions that could be improper use of public funds.
You will never be told if any of your transactions are being reviewed. This is done so as to not tip off potential fraudsters.
Had no reply.
If you'd please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html, you'll notice that the rules include Assume good faith.
And there are plenty of other scenarios you could imagine if you wanted to assume good faith.
If I rent my office space I also have a notable lock-in and moving out has costs. Still it might be cheaper than building in my own and failing to scale later.
Therefore, yes, joining a platform can be beneficial. But it can be seen as a greedy, selfish action; and in the long run a very costly mistake.
I think it’s an important point to make because one of the great benefits of Stripe Connect is being able to onboard users and let them start accepting payment without collecting any KYC information.
On the KYC front, if there are difficulties, it’s usually just a matter of Stripe requiring a more rigorous form of verification (such as a copy of photo ID). We’ve never had a merchant to unable to completely KYC and lose their account. Of course, we operate at a much, much smaller scale than Shopify (and in a rather low risk vertical), so surely run into fewer problems and can handle them in a more personal manner.
I wonder, though, how much of this could be Shopify’s inability or unwillingness to handle these edge cases that come up with Connect accounts rather than any malice on their part.
Certainly pushing merchants to a Stripe Connect account and then not letting them go back to a regular Stripe is pretty bad, but, having been behind the scenes in a scenario ms like this, I could see how these could result from poor decision making and incomplete knowledge rather than malice. It’d be easy for someone to make the assumption that if a merchant as a stand-alone Stripe account, they’d obviously not run into any problems with a Connect accounts. Coupled with the fact that companies using Stripe Connect will tend to (not unreasonably) want to drive as much of the processing that happens on their platform into Stripe Connect, so that they can either begin to receiving volumes discounts on the processing or increase the discounts they already receive, which they can use to either make money on the processing or offer more competitive rates to their merchants.
* For reference, across all sites, we process about ~800k USD per year.
* We had been processing with Stripe (in our jurisdiction) for about 3 - 4 years.
* Shopify Payments was launched in our jurisdiction. We were excited by the idea of picking up an extra ~1.5% off transactions, and switched immediately.
* One week later, we were asked to submit KYC - which we did. One week after, we received the following:
"Unfortunately, Shopify Payments is currently only available to merchants and their companies that are based in and operating from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States respectively. Upon review of your Shopify account, and the details that you have submitted, we will regrettably be unable to provide you with access to the Shopify Payments gateway for your site. "
* Our company is in the jurisdiction. Our warehouse is in the jurisdiction, our director is in the jurisdiction. We passed Stripe's KYC (which was a lot more involved).
* We sent 2 emails to support. They were never answered.
* I sent an email to the CTO and CEO, detailed, objective and balanced. No reply.
* The funds that they had taken were held for 180 days for "Chargeback Risk" - this was about 15k USD.
* They refused steadfastly to re-enable Stripe, effectively killing our shop.
* We reached out to Stripe, who could not / would not confirm specifics, confirmed that Shopify had the right to apply their own judgement to KYC, and that Stripe had no problems with our account.
* After pushing the issue further with Shopify via a different email, we got a reply:
"Shopify have chosen to use our Stripe Connect feature for Shopify payments, which allows them to manage customers Stripe accounts on their behalf. Rest assured that this will not put your business in any risk and it is very similar to having a typical Stripe account. If you'd like, you can read more on this product, here:
Shopify have recently removed the option to work directly with Stripe for users in certain countries. As they manage the types of integrations available on their system, we unfortunately cannot do anything to allow you to work directly with Stripe through Shopify as this is ultimately up to them to allow. "
* We emailed Stripe, who confirmed the situation, and said regrettably they had no control over it.
* We have reached out on multiple occasions to Shopify, requesting that they perform pre-compliance on our site / KYC - so we could "safely" migrate to Shopify Payments.
* We had one reply to multiple emails, which said: There is no risk migrating to Shopify Payments, and we cannot perform pre-migration compliance.
In the second situation, we had a competitor email firstname.lastname@example.org - claiming trademark infringement on a specific product. We were not informed of this notice - and Shopify nuked about 15 items on our site - completely unrelated to the claimant email.
* Via lawyers, we eventually got our hands on the complainant's email: There was no court order, no judgement, nothing - just an email saying: this is an infringing product.
* Shopify said we had 7 days to 'resolve the issue' before account closure, but also said that they 'would not enter into discussion on the subject'.
* Our lawyers had a signed document from the complainant confirming that there was no infringement - but this did nothing for the case.
In summary - the Shopify _platform_ is an incredible platform - but their business practices are shady, their customer support is abysmal, and the dark patterns seem to be worse and worse.
I had s high opinion of Shopify and been following them from the early days and recommending them as a platform.
I don't think I will do that anymore, this is not how you treat customers.
What are the next best alternatives to Shopify. Are you considering of moving?
In theory, and being very generous to Shopify in this assessment, they may feel they are protecting themselves from legal or regulatory action by being very "cautious" with their clients (by shutting them down at the first hint of risk).
KYC should be done before any business is conducted, assuming it's an industry that needs KYC. But obviously if Shopify is going to be hyper sensitive in terms of KYC approval, then doing the KYC up front would mean they would not accept a lot of customers and thus would lose the business. Of course, if they're just going to shut down those customers after a week of business, that's obviously not going to build a long term relationship.
The HTTPS certificate for one of your main websites (submitting bug issues), linked from your front page, expired last November.
For a lot of things, some forgiveness is in order.
But for an eCommerce place, it seems a bit much. :(
Clearly people should avoid storeden.com.
1) Can it handle cross EU border VAT zero rating
2) Can I have multiple currencies? If so is this just a convertion from base or real individual price lists
3) Can I have multiple languages? So the whole store including the checkout could be in multiple languages?
I feel like there is plenty of competition. Isnt the change as easy as signing up for a new website and changing some Form code?
Serious question. (doing this with mailchimp was annoying, but not impossible)
We're quite flexible when it comes to feature development and listen closely what our customers need. We work well with various credit card gateways, etc. We can do quite a bit of custom development as well based on your specific requirements.
It wouldn't surprise me if it they would have had an issue with the store under their terms on Stripe as well and it just happened to not come up when signing up to stripe.
Shopify is probably best for direct to consumer stores where they have all the product specs and authorizations lined up in the event of any issue.
If your competitor is doing something shady they're going to make more money.
If it doesn't become an externality to them then it's profitable and more profits means that they can re-invest those to grow their business -faster than you can grow yours.
So now you're torn... should you do this highly unethical thing or go out of business?
Taxes are a good example. Say your Google and don't want to do the double-Irish jig to avoid paying US taxes.
You want to pay your fair share. However Apple is now making BANK and they can use that money (at least in the future) for R&D and shipping new products.
You're going to be more and more and more tempted to do these things because they're never any pushback.
As an entrepreneur I WANT quality government regulation and oversight.
I don't want to have to do this type of shady crap just because the market forces me to...
Their UI is great, but too freaking restrictive.
Shopify is great if you are willing to conform to the Shopify way of doing things, if you have to go outside of that ... well then you are going to have a bad time.
Imagine if I have 8 plugins that I pay anywhere from $10-30 a month, per plugin. That's 8 things that can break when Shopify changes some API related things and now I have 8 different parties that I need to seek support from to get my store up and running. God forbid if the developer ceases to exist and bailed out of Shopify ecosystem. I am getting nervous just thinking about this whole "app store" model for business critical infrastructure.
May be I am not well informed in this space, but there are also services that help glue various other services such as IFTTT, and a few others that combine GSuite, Asana, Dropbox, Slack, etc... I can't remember them but I wonder what kind of nightmares I would have to rely on fragmented infrastructure that consists of chained API calls managed by independent companies. Mind you, the middle broker of API also wants the slice of the business so they're going to either charge $/month or worse - ads. Then there is the whole privacy/security aspect. Holycrap what a mess!
API changes breaking sites is another matter entirely than their subscription plugin model which could be solved while maintaining that structure.
This change by Spotify seems to be related to Mailchimp not providing a certain standard of service that they demand from other plugin-services on their platform. I could see that being a costly choice for any customer who has to now migrate to other services, but the intentions were largely good and pro-customer.
Hopefully there was some sort of data migration process in place and some upfront warnings before your email marketing system gets cut-off.
It is about support and accountability. As a business owner, I want as few parties responsible for my infrastructure as possible with healthy portability possibilities (to avoid lock-in).
With Shopify app store, the whole idea is insane to me - I have to now deal with Shopify + plugin developers individually to fix issues. Things break all the time, just go to Shopify forums for support. And then, there is the risk of a developer leaving Shopify ecosystem with a dangling plugin never to be maintained.
From my experience running your own services is far more fragile and subject to maintenance-overhead due to API changes than a service like Shopify or Heroku.
The main drawback is a lack of flexibility and customization - not so much the lack of stability in service.
What about stores such as Squarespace? They don't have a market place of apps and everything they do is in their control. Ofcourse, now there is a risk of lock-in and unable to extend/scale your store if needed.
Relatively speaking, that's a great position to be in compared to running a site with 30+ WordPress plugins on top of a sophisticated theme. Or some Node.js site >2k dependencies.
If your newsletter pop up app breaks that’s no big deal but your inventory sync isn’t in the same boat.
With node packages you can lock to a version and upgrade gradually. With Wordpress you can do the same.
Generally though I’ve found Shopify keeps you updated when it comes to breaking API changes.
Yes you an argue there’s reviews and due diligence but this is the internet - I don’t immediately trust user reviews. Your best bet is to sign up for a trial (if they offer it and don’t ask for your CC upfront) and then test the app out. You may have just spent a day on one app and there may be a dozen or more on the App Store.
It is a mess and if you’re anything but an SME, I don’t recommend the App Store or Shopify. It may be your quickest way to an MVP but don’t consider it a long term strategy
"Being a Theme Partner is a full-time job."
"Shopify themes need constant care and attention. We expect Theme Partners who work with us to be engaged, passionate about their theme(s), and apply any theme updates we request in a timely manner."
"Our current Theme Partners are a tight-knit group of people."
This is why there are reviews, and as a merchant (or any other business) seeking a solution, you should be doing your due diligence when it comes to using apps on the app store. This is no different than other app stores like the Apple / Android app stores where there are tons of apps that are subpar and it isn't difficult to avoid them.
As with any third party plugin, app, or service, there's no guarantee that they'll stay around. Heck, we had an app that had an integration with Instagram's API, and they pulled the rug from under everyone by hard-deprecating their API months before the scheduled date. Don't get me started on the NPM ecosystem either.
Edit: here we are https://mailchimp.com/shopify-statement/
> 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.
> 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. From our perspective, that's not our data to share.
What's not mentioned here is that they also updated the terms to prohibit selling anything on behalf of a merchant without using their checkout api, if your software is integrated with Shopify. But we make a special-purpose POS, that's our value-add. It appears that they just want their cut - of customer data and of fees.
Edit: a link to the ToU discussion on the Shopify forums. https://community.shopify.com/c/Shopify-APIs-SDKs/We-ve-upda...
Also, it states that apps "not use an alternative to Shopify Checkout for web checkout or payment processing, or register any transactions through the Shopify API, without Shopify’s express written authorization".
Also, how does one determine if data collected on behalf of an entity needs to be send back to Shopify? Say there's a contact form app. Anyone can fill out that form (investors, analysts, vendors, partners, as well as actual customers). Is the app then required to send that data back to Shopify? How does one make the differentiation, aside from only syncing back to Shopify if the customer exists on Shopify (this isn't clarified in the terms)
Section 5.4. ("Proprietary Rights of Shopify") is the interesting bit.
I’m no fan of mailchimp (for e-commerce customers I recommend Klaviyo) but Shopify+ is hell to work with. I haven’t had as much grief with a platform as I’ve had building e-commerce stores on Shopify (and I come from Magento). For the price of plus, you get practically nothing. Clients ask me incredulously why they don’t have something as basic as Wishlist support or access to custom fields inside their product pages. Shopify’s own sync tool for dealing with multiple stores doesn’t sync much and their answer to the admin hell of managing multiple stores is to give us a single login and a store selector. For everything else well there’s an app for that.
Yes there’s an API. Yes you can build apps. But that’s an investment and at that point you might as well build something on Woocommerce or Magento. Yes you have to maintain a server and updates on the other platforms but you’ll need that for Shopify anyway. If you want to roll your own Wishlist app (you’ll want to when you see what’s on offer from the shopify store) you’ll need a server, a database - the architecture that Shopify says you don’t need to begin with.
The whole point of the app store is to avoid the mistakes of Magento: building a confusing, monolithic mess because they tried to shoehorn too many features into the core.
So no, Shopify doesn’t have a Wishlist feature. Shopify lists other Saas’ that offer to fill in the many gaps.
That may work for some retailers. As with Magento, some will like that approach and some won’t.
But if you’re telling a retailer that Shopify offers a Wishlist feature you need to be sure to mention that it will cost them $x/month/store and that the app isn’t built nor supported by Shopify.
No, it doesn't. It's the end users data.
> and this isn’t possible when Mailchimp locks in their data
Complaints about lock-in from you is pretty rich.
> Mailchimp refuses to synchronize customer information captured on merchants’ online stores and email opt-out preferences.
You're intentionally misleading the reader here. This isn't about opt out preferences. That's just a useful excuse.
Any idiot can see you're trying to build up a complete picture about user's spanning across stores.
This isn't about your customers, this is about you wanting to push mailchimp out.
But from all of the comments here it sounds like they've gone down hill. I haven't used Shopify since then mainly because I haven't tried to pick up new work where I manage an ecommerce store for people but is it really that bad now?
How many of you are really going to use an alternative solution for an ecommerce site?
If $6k per year is a big expense for you then obviously this isn't the service for you, but enough people are willing to pay that where they are a billion dollar per yr in revenue company.
If some half-baked open-source PHP ecommerce platform with a p/t solo developer over a couple yrs is sufficient to run your business, that's fine. But that was always an option before Shopify existed too and they probably found they weren't interested in that subsection of the market.
This sounds wrong. do you also pay monthly hosting costs?
I tend to support opensource apps like Magento or WooCommerce. Shopify is extremely easy but I don't get how they can complain when they actually hold all the ropes of their clients and say something about another services' data collection. What's the logic behind it exactly? Users want to use Mailchimp, and it is not always e-commerce related.
So this is a market place for virtual goods. Maybe 10K users, with $10-$1000/month/user paying into OUR ACCOUNT, and about 100-1000 users are sellers, pulling in about $10K/month from OUR SHARED ACCOUNT.
Our biggest concern is not commission or speed. It is simply not being arbitrarily black listed !!
And from some of the comments here, given that we have a highly customized Magento site (with deep integration to our ERP system) and 100K+ SKUs, I’m very worried what this will do to our site. I wouldn’t be surprised if our company will be shocked at the how limiting and expensive it will be.
No, they aren't. Shopify is saying that Mailchimp isn't sharing data Shopify insists be shared, Mailchimp says sharing that data is not acceptable, because it's private.
For example I went to import some contacts today and was surprised that Mailchimp was unable to automatically correct basic syntax errors such as "usergmail.com", "user@gmail" or even "email@example.com <FirstName LastName>"
The fact that their product management team never thought it was a priority to include such an easy time-saving feature makes me think they have a rather hard-headed culture that is missing the boat on a lot of things. I can see why they would be difficult for Shopify to work with.
Given that mailchimp is a bulk email delivery service, I would hate to get spam at firstname.lastname@example.org just because someone forgot the @ on their "email@example.com" entry.
Mailchimp already filters out bad email addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.). Most addresses have a format like "sallysanders11" or "michael.smith." The chances of there being another user on the same domain are scarce and indeed at least on my mailing list, 70% of the people signed up are on Gmail.
There's no reason why a good piece of software should not be able to use a little bit of intelligence and ask me if I want to auto-correct my addresses-- within reason, of course.