2021 marks a special milestone for Mailchimp: it’s our 20th year in business. When my co-founder and I started Mailchimp after being laid off from our corporate jobs, our goal was to make enough lunch money to afford fancy burgers from Fuddruckers. Soon we realized that our ambitions were much greater, and we set out on a mission to empower small businesses to grow.
During our first 16 years, we focused on doing one thing extremely well: email. We grew slowly at first, but were able to survive, scale, and evolve—our own way—by listening hard to our small business customers and innovating fast to meet their needs.
As small businesses started experimenting with reaching their customers in new ways, they asked us to sprinkle the Mailchimp magic on other channels. So we added more channels, grew our teams, made strategic acquisitions (like Sawa, Reaction Commerce, and Chatitive), and have been building out our all-in-one marketing platform with new features and functionality.
Today, I’m excited to share some new ways we’re empowering small businesses with the launch of two commerce features as part of our all-in-one marketing platform: Stores* and Appointments. And we’re making them free.
At a high level, our Stores product will enable merchants to create an online storefront, add and edit products, process orders, and configure payments, tax, and shipping. Our Appointments product will allow businesses to offer services bookings online and manage their schedule. But the real magic lies in the built-in access to our award-winning marketing platform capabilities to find, build, and engage with customers. Stores is rolling out in beta now and will be available to all US and UK customers by May 18. Appointments will be available to all beginning April 28.
To address the obvious question, why would a marketing service get into e-commerce? For starters, our customers have been asking us to add more commerce functionality to our marketing platform. In fact, nearly 40% of our 14 million customers are in the commerce space, and in 2020, 61% identified as offering services.
And, when small businesses start up, they shouldn’t have to think about what e-commerce software they need to install. They care about building their brand, selling more stuff, and getting more customers. When I think about how important it is for entrepreneurs to get their time back, I think of one of our customers, Katie Aufenthie and her business Land of Luna. Katie started making and selling macrame earrings and art during the pandemic, and just recently she published her store. She told us it was super important to have time to express her creative vision for her work, and spend less time building the back office stuff. That stuck with me.
In short, you think about the front office stuff: marketing. Not the back office stuff that makes everything go. You just want and expect it to work, so you can focus on building a business.
The compelling thing is that we're going to provide the complete package and make all the elements of our platform connect and work together, which is what our customers are asking for. Small businesses told us they were tired of paying monthly fees to multiple point solutions (CRM, email, websites, ecommerce, surveys, etc). They were even more tired of trying to sync all their data back and forth between all these services. They wanted all of it combined into one place.
So we connected our new commerce features to our smart marketing platform. Creating a store is only the first step in a long road for merchants to be successful online. Having commerce and marketing functionality in Mailchimp helps small businesses and entrepreneurs leverage data from billions of marketing interactions to understand who to target, how to generate traffic to their store or service, how to convert customers, and how to drive repeat business.
Our goal is to not just help merchants to build their stores or online presence—we aim to help them build their audiences to attract shoppers and receive orders, too. That means small businesses don’t just see purchase or schedule information, they’ll be able to see which emails or social posts drove traffic and purchases on their site, or be able to easily target repeat customers with automations based on their browsing and purchase history. I’m so excited to see the creative ways our customers grow.
We’re excited about the news, but understand it may seem like a big change for some of our customers, especially those of you who’ve been with us from the beginning. Rest assured, we’re not abandoning our smart marketing solutions. In fact, our goal is still to have the best email marketing in the world. We know our customers and partners demand consistency and continuity as much as they demand new features and functionality, so we’re refining and nurturing existing tools, too. We continue to work on making the process of designing emails as easy as possible, and in a few months we’re adding new beautiful email templates. We have some exciting updates to our Customer Journey Builder to announce soon. Stay tuned.
We also understand that our commerce solutions may not be the right choice for everyone—small businesses are best served when they can choose which technologies they use to run their businesses. That’s why we integrate with hundreds of different apps and platforms, including several great e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, Ecwid, Big Cartel, and more. We’ll continue to develop new ecommerce integrations and invest in current integrations, too. And if our customers need an extra set of hands, Mailchimp has a community of partners available to help get their business off the ground or scale their expertise.
So please, go out and use our all-in-one marketing and commerce platform. Tell us what you love about it, and let us know what other jobs need to be done.
We’re only just getting started and know you are, too. Here’s to the next 20 years.
We got you. Onward!
Co-founder and CEO
Published April 27, 2021 Updated April 28, 2021
*Stores are free to build and host. Transaction fees and Stripe processing fees apply on a per transaction basis.