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Last edited December 15, 2016

Customer Satisfaction service - confused about Billing API requirement This post is outdated

I created a customer feedback service called Brilliant that is focused on NPS and customer satisfaction. I wanted to offer a Shopify integration to my customers so that they could trigger an NPS survey email to their customers N days after purchase (configurable).

I'm being told that in order to have an app that will appear in search results in the Shopify app store I need to integrate the billing API and convert my existing payments system to a shopify one... is that correct? I'm not interested in re-writing all of my billing system and giving up a huge percentage of money just to get listed in the Shopify app store.

I have seen examples of other apps that have Shopify integrations but are not searchable in the app store... is it possible to build an integration that works with Shopify webhooks (all I need is a ping post-purchase) but doesn't show up in the search results? This is not as ideal, but passable.

If anyone knows a definitve answer it would be helpful... Normal Shopify customer support chat couldn't really help.

Thanks!

- Tom

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Last edited December 15, 2016

You are free as a bird to market your App as a Shopify integration. Just because you're not in App store is not a big deal. If your App does something useful, merchants will find it. 

Note that when you do your own billing, you have to pay Shopify their share of your revenue. So you get to keep your own billing system, but you have to cut a cheque for the privelege of servicing your Shopify merchants. 

Custom Shopify Apps built just for you! hunkybill@gmail.com http://www.resistorsoftware.com
Posts:
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December 15, 2016

I appreciate the reply Bill, though I'm still a little confused.

You make it sound like if I don't change over my billing to Shopify I still have to pay them something... how does that get determined/enforced? What is the rate? It could be anywhere from 1-100% of any given customers workflow in my service, hardly fair to pay 20% of my subscription fee for someone where this is 10% of their usage (if that makes sense).

Not trying to say I shouldn't have to pay anything, it just feels unnecessarily confusing to figure out for a fairly simple use case ("ping me when a sale is made so I can do x") 

Posts:
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December 15, 2016

Every app store is different, our app is on ~6 ecom platforms. Some have a higher rev share (ie 30%), some have zero rev share (ie: WordPress), and others have a 20% rev share if-and-only-if the customer is attributable to the marketing efforts of the platform itself.

Shopify's generic 20% cut is 100% worth it, in my opinion, because the community of store owners is very app-friendly and you'll virtually get new customers simply from existing in the store.

As for billing... I know Stripe can be super complex to set up in certain ways, but Shopify's billing API is actually a lot more straightforward than even Stripe itself. You can do monthly, flat rate, promotions, refunds/credits, and even usage-based billing. We have no complaints about it.

Lastly, and this is probably the best benefit... no more dunning management. Sure, sometimes credit cards fail. But Shopify takes care of that for you, and app partners simply get paid. Our BigCommerce integration, for example, has ~1/20th of the customers we have on Shopify, and all are handled by Stripe. However, we still get several failed charges per day, and it's a nightmare to resolve in terms of monthly reporting, rev share agreements, and of course enforcement to our customers. With Shopify, you don't have to worry about that.

Ultimately, I think worrying about 20% +/- when you're just starting out is silly. Even major record labels are paying Apple 20-30%, and they had worldwide distribution (retail, etc) long before Apple existed, much less iTunes.

My 2c -- use the Billing API, make the most of it, leverage the app store existence (vs private app that users must find on their own) to make more than your 20% obligatory cut, and rock on. :)

Ryan Kulp || Founder || Fomo (https://apps.shopify.com/fomo)
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3792
December 15, 2016

@Tom. You have a simple App. You sign up a Shopify customer. They pay you $1. You pay Shopify 0.20. End of story. Simple. 

If you fail to pay your 20% you get eliminated from the App ecosystem when you get audited by Shopify and they find out you cheated. I think that is the business. No smoke, no mirrors. 

 

Custom Shopify Apps built just for you! hunkybill@gmail.com http://www.resistorsoftware.com
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December 16, 2016

I'm trying to post a response and it keeps saying it has posted but it's not showing up... so if I'm posting repeats I apologize...

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December 16, 2016

@Ryan, that may end up being the right path to take, but given that I have already spent thousands on an existing billing and payment system (using Stripe and Chargebee that take much smaller cuts than Shopify) it would be foolish for me to waste that money, spend the same amount and more to rip it out and re-build with shopify billing, and then give shopify 20% of everything (as opposed to the 3-5% for my existing services) before exploring all of the possible alternatives. My business isn't built solely for Shopify stores it is a nice to have for some of them... so giving up 20% on accounts that have nothing to do with Shopify is silly.  If there is a way to minimize Shopify's cut it's worth exploring those options before making the call IMO, even if I do ultimately decide the upside is worth it.

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December 16, 2016

@Bill That sounds simple, but it still isn't for me. First I want to make sure I'm clear about how my product works... it is not exclusively for Shopify. Customers pay a monthly subscription fee to integrate the service into their app or website to collect customer feedback. A "post purchase" survey is an optional feature that some customers may or may not use as a part of my service. Not all signups will come from the Shopify app store either.

(Sorry for the multiple posts... my posts won't show up if they're too long, despite getting a "success" message from Shopify..........)

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13
December 16, 2016

So, (assuming I'm not using the Billing API to collect all of my subscription fees) Shopify may be able to see the number of people I have connected to their service, and the number of API calls that have been made, but...

1. They have no access to which tier the customer is on on my side... is it the $49/month plan? a custom enterprise solution for $1499/month? the free plan? How do they know what "20%" is when they run an audit and come looking for their money?  
2. If shopify is only a part of the usage for my customers, shouldn't they get paid for the fraction of usage that actually comes from Shopify and not 20% of my whole subscription fee?

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63
December 16, 2016

Tom, you can definitely keep your existing billing for non-Shopify customers.

Our platform is standalone, on Shopify, on BigCommerce, etc. Shopify only gets a cut of the customers on Shopify. We have many users on our Stripe setup, and Shopify is not getting a rev share from them.

If you've truly spent thousands on your Stripe implementation, it's probably just another 3-10% of that, to create a 'whitelist' strategy that lets Shopify users circumvent your own billing. Effectively you just want Shopify customers' accounts to have a permanent coupon applied.

All that said, there are apps that seem to charge on their own. For example, Zapier.com is a standalone platform that costs $$. They also have a "free" Shopify plugin but the core platform is not free. Perhaps you could explore something like that...

Ryan Kulp || Founder || Fomo (https://apps.shopify.com/fomo)