Breakups happen, but most times you can see it coming. This was not the case for many merchants who woke up on March 22nd, 2019, to hear the relationship between Shopify and MailChimp, on which they have been building their business, was over.
As a seller on Shopify; who uses MailChimp for your email marketing, the Shopify and MailChimp breakup might have left you confused and wondering where to go next.
Just because Shopify and MailChimp decided they could no longer live in the same house, doesn’t mean you have to call it a day with email marketing.
Thanks to the vast SaaS space, you have plenty of Mailchimp alternatives to help you continue your email marketing tasks smoothly.
This article outlines these alternatives and how you can jump right into using them. If you’re new to the e-commerce space, this will also help you choose from the variety of email service providers (ESP) available to you.
On March 21, 2019, Mailchimp asked Shopify to remove the ‘MailChimp for Shopify’ integration from their platform.
According to MailChimp’s official statement on the breakup, issued on March 22, Mailchimp “asked Shopify to remove the MailChimp for Shopify integration from their marketplace. We (Mailchimp) made this decision because Shopify released terms that would negatively impact our business and put our users at risk”.
These ‘risky’ terms turned out to be a demand from Shopify to comply with an update on their Partner Program Agreement terms. This update required them (Mailchimp) to synchronize their customer information captured on merchants’ online stores and opt-in email popups. According to MailChimp, “We refused to agree to terms that jeopardize our users’ privacy and require us to hand over customer data acquired outside of Shopify”.
According to Shopify, “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,” Shopify explains. “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.” This was according to Shopify’s official statement on the breakup.
How does the Shopify and MailChimp breakup affect you as a merchant on Shopify?
If getting signups for your newsletter is all you use MailChimp for, the breakup might not mean too much to you. You can simply migrate your list from Shopify to your MailChimp account, and continue from there.
If on the other hand, in your email marketing activity, you use customer interaction, behavior, and transaction data in your store, a simple migration will not work. This is because a direct integration of the two platforms is needed for this.
Features such as signup forms for newsletters, abandoned cart notification, post-purchase marketing, customer follow-up, and review management, are available only with direct integration of MailChimp and Shopify.
While new merchants cannot install Mailchimp for their Shopify store, existing users could still use it till May 12, 2019, when the service was finally disabled.
If a direct MailChimp integration with your store is something you cannot do without, you can move your shop to another e-commerce platform that offers this integration. Doing this is, however, not so practical.
MailChimp is disabling their direct integration with Shopify, not adding them to their list of sworn enemies. You can still use MailChimp on Shopify; however, without direct integration.
You can still:
This will suit merchants with small lists, and simple email marketing tasks; like only sending newsletters.
Here, you manually import your customer data from Shopify to your MailChimp account and continue from there. MailChimp has a comprehensive guide on how to use Mailchimp manually.
This method, as simple as it is, has its disadvantages.
It is a no-go if you have a large and elaborate list and automation strategy. Using Mailchimp independently means you will not enjoy features like revenue tracking, abandoned cart notification, web tracking, ability to embed products in email templates, etc. These features are only available with direct integration.
You can connect your site to Mailchimp by embedding custom codes on your website. This provides pop-up forms and Google retargeting ads features. If this will be sufficient for your business, MailChimp has a short tutorial on getting and embedding the codes on your site.
This approach, however, requires knowledge in custom code writing. If this is not part of your skill set, you can always hire an expert.
If your email marketing strategy uses a lot of segmentation, has running automated transactional campaigns, and uses a lot of personalization, you’ll need a third-party integration between your MailChimp and Shopify account.
Third-party integration services like Zapier, ShopSync, and Automate.io are recommended by MailChimp. These services support most features such as abandoned cart notification automation, purchase activity segmentation, reports among other automated operations based on customer actions.
To help you decide from these three, Mailchimp provided a chart comparing how each of them performed integrating Mailchimp to Shopify.
ShopSync offers the most extensive features, and it’s free.
Once integrated, your customer data can be moved from your store to MailChimp seamlessly.
To help you use any of these third-party integration services, MailChimp has a short third-party integration tutorial.
There might be trouble lurking behind the unamicable nature of the separation between MailChimp and Shopify. You can’t, therefore, be sure of how long either Shopify or Mailchimp will allow third-party integration.
So to be on the safe side, and ensure your business is not interrupted again in the foreseeable future, opting for other email service providers (ESPs) that are directly integrated with Shopify might be the best course of action.
Several Mailchimp alternatives integrate directly with Shopify; most of them already have a substantial user base on the Shopify platform.
While most ESPs are built for every email marketer, Klaviyo was explicitly developed for e-commerce sellers. Klaviyo has a dashboard that is optimized to show product and customer history; making automation easy for Shopify merchants.
It integrates easily with Shopify and Shopify Plus, as well as with other e-commerce big names like BigCommerce, Magento and Woocommerce. To provide a more convenient email marketing experience, Klaviyo integrates easily with other ESPs. For example, it easily integrates with MailChimp.
With Klaviyo, you can create different segments of your mailing list; to improve your email targeting, through a web tracking and segmentation feature based on customer behavior, transactions or responses to previous campaigns. It also has a Facebook integration that draws in data from your Facebook ads and social media marketing.
You can send very personalized emails to your customers (which is crucial for conversion), through an optimized personalization feature.
Klaviyo has the abandoned cart notification feature but lacks the tagging feature (this is an advanced segmentation feature that uses tags to categorize members of your list).
With A/B testing, you can test to see what really works, and stick with it. It also has a landing page builder and customizable email templates. These features make email building and distribution easier and faster.
Check out Klaviyo.
Active Campaign has a deep data integration and a sophisticated customer transaction tracking feature. An abandoned cart notification, and efficient segmentation feature; that handles customer duplication efficiently. Like Klaviyo, it integrates easily with other email providers.
Active Campaign has a better automation feature than Klaviyo- though it is on the more expensive side. It has an efficient segmentation feature that lets you send more targeted Emails.
It has an enhanced personalization feature that allows you to use any data you have on your customers, and their history with your store, in your email campaigns.
Active Campaign provides detailed reports on your campaigns; which comes in handy for testing and optimization. Active Campaign integrates easily with over 150 apps, including Shopify, Facebook, Woocommerce, and payment platforms.
Active Campaign does not provide an excellent user interface experience. It has a ‘clunky’ UI, certainly not the best out there.
Check out Active Campaign.
Drip is on the easy-to-use and less-features side of this list of MailChimp alternatives. You might find its straightforward design handy in your email marketing operations. Drip integrates directly with Shopify, but it is priced on the higher end (similar to Active Campaign though with fewer features).
It comes packed with the all-important abandoned cart notification features, and other commonly used automation and segmentation features. However, it has fewer email templates than their counterparts. According to statements from their website, this was supposed to make designing and sending out email easier for you- since you have only a few options to decide from (compared to other ESPs that presents templates in large numbers).
There is also a web tracking feature that helps you understand and engage with your customers more effectively, as well as an advanced tagging system that allows for better targeting.
There is, however, no landing page builder for Drip. You might want to look somewhere else if this is an important feature you want from an ESP.
Check out Drip.
Omnisend is another e-commerce focused email service provider that integrates directly with Shopify. A good deal of their outstanding features are available in their beginner plan, with the advanced features left for higher subscription plans.
Their 14-days free trial makes it a good fit for beginners to test and decide if it’s a good fit for them before they make a purchase.
‘Designed for Shopify’ is one of the headlines on their website. Omnisend comes equipped with the abandoned cart notification feature and other features that you’ll need for effective email marketing.
It comes with a drag-and-drop newsletter builder, a beautiful email signup forms, and a landing page builder.
The website tracking feature provides you with customer behavior data; that helps you customize your customer outreach. Email segmenting, tagging, and a sophisticated automation system are some other features that Omnisend provides.
Check out Omnisend.
This is the only email marketing integration with Shopify that comes with a completely free beginners’ bundle. This might be a good fit for you if you’re just starting. The free package, however, comes with limited features and a cap on the number of emails you can send.
With an easy-to-use drag-and-drop newsletter builder, MailerLite adds speed to how you create and send out your emails. It comes with the very-important segmentation and targeting features that make your marketing more effective.
A detailed and robust report helps you understand what works and what doesn’t. It also includes the tagging and personalization feature that you need to boost your marketing.
However, it does not come with the all-important abandoned cart notification feature. Though MailerLite works well for beginners, it might not be the best choice for big businesses.
Check out MailerLite.
While we did our best to provide you with working information on these Mailchimp alternatives, in this article, it is crucial that you also do your research, and compare what each option offers with your business needs.
While getting used to a new ESP might take some time and effort, it is a necessity at this point, and you can use this opportunity to revamp your entire email marketing plan.
Shopify and MailChimp may never come together again, but your business must continue and grow. From the options presented in this article, take time to see which will yield the best results, and go with it.
We’ll love to answer your questions and know your best pick. Share your thoughts in the comment section
John Emoavwodua is a copywriter for the tech industry. He helps tech companies tell their brand story and communicate with their customers. Connect with John on LinkedIn.
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