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Why Mailchimp is no longer in the Shopify App Store (shopify.com)
227 points by blackdogie on March 23, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 112 comments

We run Shopify across a plurality of domains. Over the last 12 months, especially with the release of "Shopify Payments" (Stripe Connect) - they have become a lot more opaque, greedy and dangerous for merchants.

Anecdota: - 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.

I had to look this up, sharing so it might help others: Apparently "KYC" means "know your customer", and it is some sort of vetting process done by payment providers.

Know Your Customer is performed at different levels for different requirements. You can KYC individuals or businesses. For individuals, there is a Level 2 check which verifies a government issued document and a selfie holding the document. There is also a Level 3 check that includes verifying a proof of residence document like a bank statement or utility bill. The end result is reasonable confidence the individual is a legal resident of a specific jurisdiction. There is also eKYC which is a credit history and other data sources check but you don’t actually process any documents.

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.

As long as an individuals payments dont exceed $10,000/yr, there is no reporting?

There can be. Fraudsters can try to get around the $10k reporting threshold by sending smaller amounts across multiple transactions. This is known as "structuring", and if detected, requires the filing of a FINCEN Suspicious Activity Report.

You will never be told if any of your transactions are being reviewed. This is done so as to not tip off potential fraudsters.

I don’t know. In my case for screening investors there is mandatory reporting.

Why on earth was this downvoted?

Basically identification and risk assessment to help identify and prevent fraud, money laundering, etc. These are government requirements which all sorts of finance business have to follow.

Surprising. Tobi Lutke, Shopify CEO, does use hacker news [0]. May be he reads this and elects to respond, like he's done before [1]. Given his profile, he doesn't come off as someone who'd make or approve of such decisions [2].


[0] xal

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10549279

[2] https://tobi.lutke.com/blogs/news/11280225-good-at-making-de...

I had emailed him directly, excusing myself to have escalated to his direct email, writing a balanced, polite email asking for assistance, or at least confirmation of position.

Had no reply.

Well, he is in charge of this system. Why would he reply? He knows exactly what they do and how shady it is.

That crosses into personal attack, which is not ok here.

If you'd please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html, you'll notice that the rules include Assume good faith.

We can assume good faith, but when bad faith has been demonstrated we should not turn a blind eye

What people consider "demonstrated" depends greatly on how they feel about a thing. We're asking users to err on the side of assuming good faith. That's not easy, so if you're not making a strong conscious effort to do it, you're probably not following the guidelines. (I mean anybody, of course—not you personally.)

What's the good faith scenario in this case? Even hypothetically? The CEO isn't aware of how the system (he is in charge of) works?

Sure. I'm in charge of HN and I don't know how all its systems work.

And there are plenty of other scenarios you could imagine if you wanted to assume good faith.

Sorry, I'm not buying that scenario. This is not some obscure internal system.

Nevertheless, please assume good faith when commenting here. All our defaults point us in the opposite direction. It takes a conscious effort to counteract that, and the survival of this community depends on it.

I think we have enough datapoints now to say with confidence that surrendering to a platform, any platform, is a very bad idea.

Surrendering might indeed be bad, that doesn't mean that using them consciously wasn't a beneficial thing.

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.

Joining a platform may be beneficial only on a short-term. And it is usually bad for the entire group of people/professionals that are involved. For example, by joining the App store you are supporting the platform, but through strength/growth of the platform you are creating a pressure for other developers to also join that platform. But in the end, you are stuck with 30% tax on your work, plus a market-regulator that you may not agree with and that can even become your competitor. And you are likely to become the helpless subject of stories like in this post.

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.

That's available for proprietary cloud services as well(i.e Google Datastore)

As someone who’s done a lot with Stripe Connect, I just want to clarify that there’s nothing inherently shady about onboarding users without performing KYC. I’m not sure if you meant to indicate it was (it sounds like Shopify might be doing it as part of a larger process that, as a whole, is shady).

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.

I agree with you - there's nothing inherently shady with performing KYC at a later date. However, onboarding clients that are exisiting clients of Stripe, then claiming to not being able to process for the merchant, booting them off without allowing them to move back to Stripe, and withholding the payments taken - is completely shady.

Yeah, definitely. I’d love to hear more about the high volume site that they rejected, though, if you’re willing and able to share. I’m just curious what went on in the backend because, in my experience, Stripe is good about not being overly zealous in shutting down Connect accounts. We’ve had accounts rejected for fraud or TOS violations (and they clearly were), but my sense is that had Stripe closed any accounts incorrectly, we very much could have interceded in the merchants behalf and got things corrected.

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.

Here was the breakdown:

* 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:

https://stripe.com/connect https://stripe.com/docs/connect/custom-accounts

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 abuse@shopify.com - 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.

This sucks.

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?

I would even say its tortious interference of contract for Shopify to prevent clients from going back to Stripe if Shopify later decides it can't service them...

How exactly is allowing customers to accept payments, and not paying them what they earned (if KYC fails) good?

It's not good, of course, but a weak argument in favor of that behavior is that it could be preventing illegal activity (money laundering, sales of illegal items, etc.)

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.

May I point you to our own competing platform? https://en.storeden.com

Sounded interesting, but your team doesn't seem to be on the ball. :(

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. :(

And, 1 week later the certificate is still expired.

Clearly people should avoid storeden.com.

Can you tell me a few things about it

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'd be interested to see a back-end demo. team - infowise.aisa

hey if you are USA based selling and shipping physical products you should consider CartSpark.com

Can anyone explain what the problem is?

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)

another painful thing about shopify is that they will add some code at the end of the URL of your product pictures when exporting products like .jpeg?v=blabla which prevents them from being automatically imported into somewhere else

This might be to prevent browser caching or otherwise provide versioning of images.

You can easily read all images out of the api.

Shameless plug but maybe https://www.shoperb.com may be interesting. I'm the founder of the company, if there's anything I can help with, just let me know.

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.

This is very relevant in eCommerce as it is far easier to get on the wrong side of stripe terms (and it can be subjective) with selling physical products.

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.

One of the problems with capitalism is that it's a race to the bottom.

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...

FWIW, you used to be able to activate Stripe by setting the address of your store outside the US, turn Stripe on, then set your address back. Not sure if that still works though. Just pick a country where Shopify Payments isn’t offered.

Shopify payments was the sole reason I didn't use it for an industrial equipment e-store. Markups are low as it is, Shopify payments takes an extra .25% interchange, getting vendor and payment locked is just a high risk venture.

I’ve been trying for months to get Info on payment tokenization and keep getting the push around. And the rep keep suggesting I use one of their subscription app.

Their UI is great, but too freaking restrictive.

Shopify payments doesn't support Credit card vaulting aka tokenization; as well has some interesting restrictions like a fixed 7 day authorization expiration.

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.

hey if you operate in US and sell and ship physical products then we maybe able to help. bonus: stripe is a default integrated payment system. checkout cartspark.com

I found Shopify app store excessively expensive and risky. Most plugins are subscription based with poor support, no guarantee of future updates and just reeks of poor quality. I am not a store owner so I can't comment on how useful some of these plugins are but the whole idea of business critical services (such as a store front) needs rock solid foundation and support, without it I would get extremely nervous.

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!

Sounds like Heroku's business model and that works fine for a certain type of business/consumer. Of course you could spin up your own VPS or code your own Rails ecommerce app. But that's not always economical - up to a certain scale.

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.

I think the problem I am describing goes deeper than just the API calls.

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.

Sure but supporting your own infrastructure is exactly why people choose to use a service like this.

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.

I agree and I can see why supporting your own service would probably be more of a headache.

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.

> 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.

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.

8 things that can break whose code you have no control over and cannot see.

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.

There’s also the issue of admin user experience. Those Shopify apps offer various links and can often take you out of the Shopify admin entirely. There are some great apps on there (Accenture custom fields for example) but they’re also limited by the Shopify API. You’re no longer trusting your images to be stored in Shopify but also in the third party apps service.

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

Interestingly, this is why Shopify has really strict guidelines for their Theme Store: (https://themes.shopify.com/services/themes/guidelines)

"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."

The privacy policy is also pretty shit for a lot of the plugins on Shopify. Many will ask for indiscriminate access to customer information, product information, etc.

> Most plugins are subscription based with poor support, no guarantee of future updates and just reeks of poor quality

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.

This of course is one side of the story. Looking forward to hear the Mailchimps side of things.

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.

I had been working on an integration between our product and Shopify via an app for just about a week when their updated ToU came out. It is a pain in the butt. I side with MailChimp here, that customer data isn't ours to share with Shopify, especially since it concerns a whole different segment of our merchants' customers (brick and mortar vs ecommerce).

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...

Exactly what data is this dispute about? The article says "customer information captured on merchants’ online stores" but what exactly does that mean?

The definitions are frustratingly vague. "Any customer data excluding sensitive personal data", which doesn't exclude stuff that isn't relevant to them, or things that don't fit in the API.

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".

That's from 2.3.17-18 of the api terms of use: https://www.shopify.com/legal/api-terms

As an app developer the updated T&C really threw me off. How are they going to enforce apps sending back data to Shopify? What happens if a merchant has 5 apps, and each one of them sends back a different phone number or name for the customer?

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)

Shopify Partner Terms of Service: https://www.shopify.com.ph/partners/terms

Section 5.4. ("Proprietary Rights of Shopify") is the interesting bit.

So Shopify is mad that Mailchimp isn’t sharing data with them?

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.

Shameless plug: I build Trunk @ https://www.trunkinventory.com which can sync inventory between multiple Shopify stores (and other channels)

Shopify does include Wishlist and Custom Field features. They're available as apps— not in the core.

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.

They’re available by third parties. You can argue that customfields are supported by Shopify but wishlists aren’t. If you need a Wishlist you need a database externally storing customer and product data.

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.

Shopify's Plus offering is also really shady. If you ever choose to try it out, they will not let you return to your previous payment processing rates (credit-card fees). We had been grandfathered in to their old (good) rates. But after trying Plus they gave us their new (much worse) rate and refused to give us the old ones. And this was after they lied about the rate we'd be getting with Plus. And after they gave us a low teaser rate to try out Plus.

hey we are a small team that developed a multitenant ecommmerce system geared towards B2B type businesses. I would love to get your feedback about the solution that we built. please shoot me an email at hello@cartspark.com if you have 10 minutes to chat.

> The data captured on behalf of our merchants belongs to those merchants, it’s as simple as that.

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.

Wait, when you supply your data to vendors … do they own rights to that supplication, ergo the data?

Well, Mailchimp is starting their own “ecommerce platform” after hiring people from the now defunct LemonStand. How about that for the real reason for pulling them off the Shopify app store? :)

I used to use Shopify about 5 years ago and remember thinking they were one of the good ones (company wise). Good platform, easy to work with API, etc.. I even created a few custom apps for a client's site that ended up doing 100k+ through Shopify's POS hardware in a month.

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?

I was kind of shocked that they discontinued their WordPress integration. I get the feeling they want their customers to be completely dependent upon Shopify, which is part of why I avoid them when possible.

as a small wholesale business owner I was shocked that I have to pay $300 a month to Shopify system that lacks a million things and then I need to pay 30-50 dollars a month for each plugin and it was my job to figure out how they will work with each other. I am not even talking about support and where I should get it from after spending around $500/month on the whole 'solution'. Instead of paying $6k per year or close to $20k for 3 years I got my own ecommerce system custom built.

"$20k for 3 years" instead of 3 years of custom development costs is nothing... sure it's expensive but that's positioned in a marketplace where the alternatives are far more expensive for the average non-technical e-commerce store owner.

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.

half baked open source thingy costs $50 a month, im talking about fully custom solution that actually can handle business cases that Shopify can not. such as this product is shipped by itself in a box. that product is actually a combination of the other 3 products. and give accurate shipping quote for an order is 3 boxes 37 pounds each not 1 big 111 pound box. you will need 17 different apps plugged into shopify to get this to work. and yeah you are right, there is a million generic stores that ship apparell and other random crap doesn't have specific inventory and shipping needs and thats Shopify's market. for anything more advanced you need to shell out $2000 per month for Shopify Plus. And let me guess your response to that will be "any serious business can afford that". its like businesses have hand over their cash to Shopify so that can claim to be a serious business. Shopify is a rip-off and clearly abuses their market dominance in the cases like with MailChimp

What outbound shipping system are you using that you’re happy with?


Nice sales pitch. Should probably just be explicit that this is your business.

this particular comment didn't ask for that but I have mentioned that I am developing CartSpark in multiple comments on this thread

What about woocommerce? It's not terrible, and seems like it's very flexible, plus a lot of the stuff is free.

I'm sure there are plenty of cheaper options. That's not really the point. I was only comparing it to custom development combined with a high quality service. You usually have to pay more for quality in the SaaS world, even more so than PaaS which is more of a commodity product than an ecommerce platform.

> Instead of paying $6k per year or close to $20k for 3 years I got my own ecommerce system custom built.

This sounds wrong. do you also pay monthly hosting costs?

hosting will end up costing you 15-30 dollars a month depending how much traffic and power you need to handle

Will building/maintaining/running you own system cost less than $20k; most of which you have to pony up upfront?

yeah it most likely will cost something like 33% upfront, 33% on new features and modifications and 33% fixing bugs, upkeep etc. again, if your business operation is simple then yeah squarespace/shopify/whatever will do the job but if its a little more complex and you need tens of plugins to get it to work then you might as well shop around to see how much is the quote for a custom solution that fits your needs.

You don’t “have to” pay anything. You chose to. Also, the processing discount afforded by the $300/mo plan only begins to make sense if you’re doing $1 million or more per year in gross sales.

Shopify and all other service providers MUST stop letting people comment announcements like this. No one is adding anything valuable but advertising their own product. This announcement just looks like Quora spams.

Last week was about Apple VS Spotify, now Shopify VS Mailchimp. I just can't understand why big companies can't get along while there is so much money to make or lose.

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.

I suspect since easy investment money with no questions asked is slowing down and there's increasing IPO activity, companies are starting to care about their bottom line more and along comes with it strategic fights with potential competitors over a share of a smaller pie.

could be. reminds me of the times when Twitter/Facebook and all others first acted like a platform to build upon and after watching some companies become successful these 'platforms' tightened data access for the the apps/clients and pushed them out of business

Rhymes with "quarterly stock reporting"

I use MailChimp with my Shopify store and it's pretty irritating to be impacted and have to plan to deal with this. I put quite a few hours into getting everything set up as it is now with our MailChimp followup emails (products left in the shopping cart, etc). From my view, I don't care at all to have my MailChimp account more connected with the Shopify API. Shopify has plenty of data on me why do they need more? And, I don't need or want to control my followup emails from within Shopify. I obviously like MailChimp enough to chose them, independently. So, I smell BS in reading this Shopify post.

Sorry Shopify, I think I buy MailChimp's side of the story more. I wonder what percentage of Shopify stores are just drop shipping fronts. I can see that hurting MailChimp's deliverability.

How are drop shipping companies harming email deliverability?

There are a bunch of Shopify plugins that just let people sell Alibaba express items with no intermediate work. These kinds of drop shippers engage in shadier marketing campaigns. If email coming from MailChimp starts getting reported for spam, other legitimate mail coming from their ips will see delivery suffer.

Off Topic: recommendation for a payment processer for a market place?

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 !!

Very interesting. Our company just announced switching to Shopify from Magento (against my advice). We don’t use Mailchimp but this doesn’t sound good from the Shopify side.

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.

I’d be very interested in hearing more about the switch. I’m a Magento dev that’s recently done a Shopify+ store and would love to hear from people in the trenches rather than marketing blog posts

Reading this & Mailchimp's response, the crux of the debate is sharing things like the user's opt-out status?

So they are both saying it's the other ones fault. And both saying because the other one is sharing private data....

> And both saying because the other one is sharing private data....

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.

If you are larger merchant, we recommend Hubspot.

I'm curious what good alternatives to Mailchimp exist? My experience working with them is that they're a solid but outdated option.

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 "user@gmail.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.

You say they are basic syntax errors but fixing them is not the place of the application. "usergmail.com" could have the @ at basically any spot before the I and be a totally believable email address. Sure, statistically speaking, "user@gmail.com" is the most likely option, but "usergm@ail.com" would be a perfectly believable email for a game master that manages ail.com.

Given that mailchimp is a bulk email delivery service, I would hate to get spam at user@gmail.com just because someone forgot the @ on their "u@sergmail.com" entry.

That's a good point. I guess I'm looking at this from a UI / usability standpoint. I feel it is Mailchimp's job to speed up my email marketing-- that's the job I've hired it to do. If I just wanted to send email I would use a leaner service at a lower cost.

Mailchimp already filters out bad email addresses (nospam@gmail.com, 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.

sendgrid or mailgun

In a previous company during the GDPR switchover we had to break contract with them because they were unvilling to sign any no 3rd party sharing agreement. Once you grow big, the spectrum of failure scenarios grows also, I guess.

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