Best Customer Forum To Install on Shopify?

TheWaterbug
Tourist
7 0 1

I would like to add a customer forum to my store, and I'm searching for one that fits my needs:

  1. Single-sign-on, so customers can use their existing accounts.
  2. Focused on technical discussion of very technical products.
    1. The social aspect of this should be secondary to the technical content. Our primary motivation is for users to share technical solutions involving our products to other customers in the industry who may be looking for similar solutions, and also so that we can answer a technical questions once instead of a dozen times.
    2. As such, we're not very interested in "comment" or "chat" features. 
  3. Sorted into categories
    1. I don't prefer Muut's "single page" presentation. My products are distinct enough that I want discussions about each product category to be presented separately.
  4. Easy to integrate. I'm not a programmer, so I'll need this to be point-and-click.
  5. Affordable
    1. I'm not sure how much actual business a forum will actually generate, so I don't want to start out spending $hundreds/month.

I've done some research, and I'm not finding anything that looks compelling:

  1. This article suggests that Shopify has some sort of built-in forum:
    1. Shopify actually has a built-in forum feature that you can use to create a forum for your store.

      To get started, go to your Shopify admin and click on the “Settings” tab. Then, click on the “Forums” sub-tab.
    2. but I don't see that in my shop's admin.
  2. XenForum seems like it has the look and feel that I want, but:
    1. Of the six URLs they present as examples of "Customer forums are built on Xenforum," only one of the links goes to an actual forum, and every link in that forum returns, "Permission denied!
      Please Log in / Register to view the contents in this section." so I can't actually view the demo.
  3. Champ also seems to have the right functionality, but their entire demo page is filled with spam, which leads to think that either no one is actively managing their app and/or their spam moderation doesn't work.
  4. Chatigy is supposed to "add a forum to each page," but I see no forums on their demo site.  
  5. I don't like the presentation of Social King. It's too spread out. 
  6. WebsiteToolBox looks promising, but I don't see a demo. 

Is anyone here implementing a forum on their store that they like? Please share! Thanks!

Replies 15 (15)

ilrein
Shopify Partner
52 2 4

Hey @TheWaterbug 

I've been looking for a new project to sink my teeth into. I would be interesting in building this for you. Care to collaborate with me?

Email me for any inquiries ilia.reingold@gmail.com
FunkoBros
Excursionist
13 0 8

Did this ever pan out?  I’m looking for the same thing!

ilrein
Shopify Partner
52 2 4

Hey! I never got a response from the OP, so I haven't proceeded.

I would still love to build this, as long as I have someone I can share my work with and bounce ideas with. Down to work with me @FunkoBros ? Shoot me an email @ ilia.reingold@gmail.com !

Email me for any inquiries ilia.reingold@gmail.com
TheWaterbug
Tourist
7 0 1

LOL. I was logged in under my other account.

 

Thanks, but I don't have the budget to fund a custom app. This is such a generic need that I'm really surprised that there aren't good offerings out there already. 

Steven_Kan
Tourist
10 0 7

Thanks, but I don't have the budget to fund a custom app. This is such a generic need that I'm really surprised that there aren't good offerings out there already. 

ilrein
Shopify Partner
52 2 4

Oh haha. I don't charge for custom app development.

I would build it entirely free, and release it as a public app to other merchants if it brought enough value for you.

I just don't like working in the dark, I would need someone to bounce feedback with (some emails/screenshots etc). The goal would be a minimal viable product (with a longer roadmap as well).

Email me for any inquiries ilia.reingold@gmail.com
TheWaterbug
Tourist
7 0 1

If you're interested in doing this with no development fees, then I'm interested, and I'd be your first paid subscriber if it all works out!

 

In terms of look-and-feel, arstechnica is a forum that I use daily:

 

https://arstechnica.com/civis/

 

and it's built on XenForo, but there's no canned integration feature of XF with any store, at least not that I can find. 

 

Regarding desired features, they're pretty much listed in my original post, e.g. single-sign-on (if that's even possible, given Shopify's security model), and some integration with my store's product structure. 

ilrein
Shopify Partner
52 2 4

SSO wouldn't work as shopify doesn't expose customer login via API. I would do a google oauth though. Another challenge is how to embed this forum onto a store. Something messy like creating a new Page via api and embedding an iframe might work. There's quite a few challenges.

Email me for any inquiries ilia.reingold@gmail.com
Steven_Kan
Tourist
10 0 7

XenForum is able to do SSO. Try the two sites I linked to, below. Create an account on their shop, and then click Forum, and you'll be logged in already.l 

lustdiva
Tourist
9 0 2

I have been on the same journey myself. Nothing comes up that would be an asset and I’m not into blogging. Good luck!

Ry
ChrisNguyen
Shopify Partner
13 0 1

Hello @lustdiva ,

 

I think Xenforum is the best for your needs.

Shopicial - Community forum.
Xenforum - Customer Support forum.
lustdiva
Tourist
9 0 2

Thank you for your input Chris. I will check this out for sure. Appreciate it!!

Ry

ChrisNguyen
Shopify Partner
13 0 1

Hi @TheWaterbug,

 

I hope this message finds you well. I'm Chris, the developer of Xenforum. I appreciate your interest in our forum platform for your store.

I apologize for any confusion regarding the outdated list of customers on our website. We have a vibrant community using Xenforum, and you can explore the current customer base on our updated demo forum: https://xenforum.myshopify.com/community/xenforum.

--

Screenshot at Dec 15 16-12-01.png

 

Xenforum is designed to meet your specific needs, including single sign-on, a focus on technical discussions, categorized content, and easy integration. Thousands of customers benefit from these features.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out. For prompt assistance, I recommend using our support feature inside the app because I don't visit this forum regularly.

Looking forward to the possibility of working together.

 

Best regards,

Chris

Shopicial - Community forum.
Xenforum - Customer Support forum.
Steven_Kan
Tourist
10 0 7

Chris,

 

Thanks! You probably ought to prune that list of customers again, as some of them no longer exist, and some of them have almost zero traffic.

 

But I did look at these two, which have hundreds of topics and thousands of posts, which validates that your product works:

 

https://wargamesatlantic.com/community/xenforum

 

https://www.dasaita.com/community/forum

 

I also created accounts on several of those shops to validate that single-sign-on works as advertised.

 

So XenForum is now back into consideration. Is there a reason why the free trial is so short? 7 days isn't nearly long enough to test anything serious. I'm guessing it would take me the better part of a week just to get it set up and organized the way I like.

 

I think 30 days would be a more appropriate trial period. 

ChrisNguyen
Shopify Partner
13 0 1

Hi @Steven_Kan,

 

Your insights are truly appreciated, and I'm glad to hear that the active forums provided valuable perspectives.

 

It's worth noting that certain forums, despite having a modest number of categories, boast a significant volume of posts. Some forums still using Xenforum platform but they have changed their forum paths. Additionally, we showcase specific forums because they've beautifully customized their layouts to seamlessly integrate with their main sites. This serves as a testament to the flexibility and aesthetics that XenForum offers.

 

https://www.ikkoaudio.com/en-eu/community/forum

https://mdaemon.com/community/forums

 

Concerning the trial period, we understand that 7 days might not be sufficient for a comprehensive evaluation. Should you require an extended trial, kindly reach out to us through the support form within the app. Our dedicated support team is here to assist, ensuring you have ample time to explore XenForum thoroughly.

 

Feel free to connect if you have additional questions or if there's anything else I can assist you with.

 

Best regards,
Chris Nguyen
Xenforum Developer

Shopicial - Community forum.
Xenforum - Customer Support forum.