Hard Lessons learned with MailChimp integration

VintageWineGuyVintageWineGuy Member Posts: 87 ✭

Recently, I turned on the updated MailChimp integration on my Omnichannel Lightspeed setup (Retail and eCom). It has been super helpful in improving my email marketing - but I have had some problems. I wanted to share some thoughts and solutions here for future folks running in to the same issues. Here are some odd behaviors I noticed:

😣 Customers will be un-subbed if ALL the boxes in Lightspeed are not checked

This was the first issue I hit. I had uploaded my existing email list from Constant Contact of approved emails as a starting point, then turned on the integration. The integration deactivated all my Customers in my MailChimp audience because we had not been using the "Yes, I have my customer consent" fields. Using that field adds time and labor at checkout (bad), we didn't need it for our Constant Contact export/import process, and we assume that they gave us permission when they gave us their email - so we never used it. The integration interprets this as you should not send them emails, and it un-subs everyone from your audience. To fix this, I wrote a script to call the API and check all the boxes in POS, and run that script as a nightly batch.

😫 Customers will be un-subbed if they shop eCom and don't check subscribe EVERY TIME

Next up, I noticed my best customers were being unsubbed when they bought from my ecom. Some work with MailChimp support confirmed that if they do not check the agree box EVERY TIME they purchase, they are marked as eligible for "transactional emails only" in your audience. This is TERRIBLE! Lightspeed doesn't make that box obvious (I am using Conform as my theme), and it does not automatically check it if they are already a subscriber. I spoke to my customers, they weren't checking it because they have been email customers for years and didn't know they needed to approve EVERY TIME they bought something. Other customers didn't even notice the box. As a result, as soon as I turned on the integration my best customers were being unsubbed, and people who were using the sign up on the home page and being added, were then purchasing (and not checking the box) and being removed.

Given that Lightspeed's eCom newsletter handling is lightweight, I really wanted to be able to manage everything in MailChimp. Signups, preferences, unsubs, etc. So here is what I ended up doing:

1. In Lightspeed I have disabled the Newsletter option, turning off the customer’s ability to control their subscription in Lightspeed. They can still opt in from my home page without creating an account, but the box no longer shows in the Cart or on their My Account

2. I am running a nightly batch that automatically subscribes any new customers so they are picked up by the MailChimp integration

3. I am running an automated campaign in MailChimp for new joiners that provides them the ability to adjust their preferences or unsubscribe through MailChimp and will manage unsubs and preferences in MailChimp only.

4. I have sign up/preference/unsub pages in MailChimp for managing subscriptions

I confirmed with MailChimp support that if a customer unsubs in MailChimp, they can only be re-subbed in MailChimp. Their note: "If a contact unsubscribes from Mailchimp, that unsubscribe won't be passed back to Lightspeed, but the nightly sync you have set-up shouldn't re-subscribe those contacts either. To provide more context, is a contact unsubscribes themselves using the unsubscribe link they received in a Mailchimp campaign email, that contact can only be re-subscribed using a Mailchimp hosted sign-up form - no other method (3rd party forms, API, integrations) will resubscribe that contact."

The result here is that I can maximize the value of my MailChimp payment and take advantage of their handling.

@Lightspeed it would be great if you could look at an option that allows us to manage emails completely outside LS if we wanted to, without the need to use the API to activate customers.

I am still working on some other things, I will share anything I learn.

5 comments

  • J_BinsbergenJ_Binsbergen Moderator, Lightspeed Staff Posts: 123 moderator

    @VintageWineGuy Thanks for your findings and comprehensive feedback. We will make sure that these points will be discussed with the developers of Mailchimp. For other merchants who encounter specific issues with the Mailchimp integration we advise to contact the technical support of Mailchimp: [email protected]

  • JayneJayne Member Posts: 1

    Oh wow, that is a nightmare! I'm moving mine from ConvertKit to Mailchimp and after reading your post I'm totally second guessing this and dreading it.

  • VintageWineGuyVintageWineGuy Member Posts: 87 ✭

    Mailchimp itself is great, it's the integration and the LS un-sub handling that is problematic. I have continued to have weird issues with the integration and bugs. The integration seems to have issues with some items, it shows prices incorrectly, image sizing isn't handled well, e-commerce automation triggers often don't work or aren't available when they should be. It is handy to get the sales data over in Mailchimp so you can see the impact of your marketing efforts, but I think I am getting the same thing in Google Analytics with MailChimp talking to Google. I am working on a problem now where I am trying to set up an email automation on a brand where inexplicably the one brand I need won't show up.

    Is it worth it? Now that I have developed my own workaround on the un-subbing issue it is. Annoying that things that seem like they should be easy turn in to a 7 week back and forth with support. But overall it helps, and I like MailChimp way better than Constant Contact. However, make really sure you are comfortable with the vanilla un-subbing behavior or can develop your own work around.

  • Matthew Le BollochMatthew Le Bolloch Member Posts: 1

    Hi @VintageWineGuy , any chance you could share the script you made to call the API and check all boxes in the POS? Where exactly do you put this script to allow it to function properly?

    I'm running into the same problem as you, I linked my lightspeed to Mailchimp and suddenly I have barely any subscribers!

    Thanks!!

  • VintageWineGuyVintageWineGuy Member Posts: 87 ✭

    Hey Matthew, sorry for the delay. I do all my scripting outside of LS in Python and using calls to the API. All my stuff is on Github if it helps. https://github.com/EvilConsultant/pyLightspeed

    This is just where I cram my code as I try things - it's not any sort of clean, tested, suitable for humans code. It's just a dump hole for my stuff that is poorly written. You would need to understand the LS API and Python pretty well to use any of this. None of this is really best practice, the doc is light, and it works half the time. Just setting expectations. ;)

    But, it is there if it helps. You would want to look at the examples\nightly_updates.py or update_customers.ipynb. The notebook version is where I was first messing around to figure out how to fix it, then I moved what I needed to my nightly_update file.

    If you are not a python person, it probably won't help.

    PS: I have been working with the integration developers over the last week trying to help fix some of the issues - I know they are working on improvements. However, I don't think this is one of them - I think this is more the way Lightspeed is designed and how LS tells Mailchimp someone is subbed or not.

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