Feb 7, 2024

Shopify Store Owners: Authenticate and Add a DMARC Policy to Your Domain

Since January 2024 Shopify sent out a flurry of emails to warn store owners to authenticate and add a DMARC record to continue sending branded emails from their domain, as per the screenshot cover picture of this blog post. I received an inundated amount of requests for help from my clients and people around the world from a reel on Instagram and YouTube that I posted.

Many Shopify store owners saw the warning but due to the technical barrier they failed to fix the problem themselves. I wrote this post to help explain the problem in more detail and discuss some paths to help resolve the problem.

Shopify also sent out several notifications to store owners on their Shopify stores as seen in the screenshot below which stated “Action required to continue sending branded emails”. In this post I will explain DMARC, why you should authenticate to avoid being marked as spam, and link to Shopify’s documentation for those technical enough to fix the problem themselves.

Example of Shopify alerting a user of authentication and DMARC issues with their domain name.

Why has Shopify persistently warned all users about domain name authentication and DMARC policy?

In October 2023 Google and Yahoo, two of the biggest email service providers in the world, announced that to help fight against spam and fraud that they will require bulk email senders to authenticate their identity through an authentication technique called SPF, DKIM, and a policy called DMARC on their domain name records. Although to the average user that sounds like gibberish the consequence is understandable to everyone: If you don’t authenticate your emails with this technique then Google, Yahoo, and others in the industry will send your emails to spam.

No one wants to go to spam, the equivalent of a digital naughty corner.

So what does this have to do with Shopify?

Well, Shopify hit the panic button and rushed to update their systems to meet this requirement for all of their store owners across the globe. Store owners risk the wrath of Google, Yahoo, and other mail providers that will mark their emails as spam.

To remedy this problem Shopify stated that if store owners fail to authenticate their domain name and add a DMARC policy then Shopify will send emails on behalf of store owners from the email address [email protected], as stated in their documentation.

For example, one of my clients reached out to me and said that her customers no longer received email notifications from her email address [email protected] but instead [email protected]. This occurred when they ordered products from her store after February 2024. She contacted me to resolve the issue and I immediately performed the following steps:

  • Authenticated the domain with DKIM and SPF records.
  • Added CNAME records to the domain name as requested by Shopify.
  • Added a DMARC policy.

Once authenticated I refreshed Shopify and it began to email again from her Shopify store email address [email protected]. As a business owner of a Shopify store I highly recommend you find an IT professional to help fix this problem or if you possess the technical capacity then authenticate your domain name and DMARC policy for Shopify through consultation of their public documentation.

Why bother to authenticate your domain name and send branded emails?

My answer: Brand, brand, brand.

Your customers bought from your store, not from Shopify. Shopify provides a platform, they are not the store owners! It’s almost like the equivalent of a shopping centre where a physical store owner rents a shop front, you are renting an electronic shop front from Shopify.

Don’t let Shopify send emails on your behalf and get free advertisement for your hard earned customers. As a business owner myself I would definitely not want this to happen. If a customer bought from your store then they want to hear from your business email address, not another company called Shopify.

It also might confuse your customers to receive an email from [email protected]. Customers order from your online store and expect to receive an email from your company, not some random company called Shopify. Shopify is well known amongst business owners not customers, a lot of people have no idea about Shopify so you will risk confusing your customers which might lead them to think it’s a scam.

Why is it so difficult to authenticate a domain name?

Shopify helped remove a ton of complexity for people that want to run an online store with almost no technical IT expertise required. However, rough edges will ALWAYS exist so at some point a Shopify store owner requires IT expertise such as help with domain names.

Just like a typical bricks and mortar store owner might require a carpenter to install a new dressing room. A store owner could learn carpentry themselves to build the dressing room or, instead, just pay the expert to help them out and focus on what they do best: sell their products.

The truth is domain names are not difficult. They are difficult if someone lacks the knowledge on how they work or how to configure them. Domains for a qualified professional like me are straightforward but if you ask me to build a physical dressing room in a bricks and mortar store front then I would definitely be scratching my head. Different strokes for different folks.