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Klaviyo Review from an Email Expert: Pros & Cons in Ecommerce Email Marketing
01.23.2023

Klaviyo Review from an Email Expert: Pros & Cons in Ecommerce Email Marketing

It’s always a bit challenging to choose a marketing automation platform for an ecommerce business. In this article, we'll share our experience with Klaviyo email marketing and give you a detailed review. 

Why We Chose Klaviyo as an Email Service Provider for an Online Store

In this review, we’ll use our client’s case as an example. The client is a non-physical goods store on Shopify that sells custom corporate logos (we cannot disclose the name of the company because of the NDA). Our task was to understand what email marketing platform would fit them best. In the end, we chose Klaviyo. 

The client’s requirements for the platform were:

  1. Not too expensive;
  2. Suitable for a small company;
  3. User-friendly navigation for the client to easily use the platform once we set everything up for them;
  4. Seamless integration with Shopify as the online shop had all the data there;
  5. Should have integrated forms and widgets.

We considered such platforms Mailchimp, Klaviyo, Customer.io, and ActiveCampaign. Our MarTech team had experience with various ESPs among other tasks, so they told us to pick Klaviyo.

Klaviyo Advantages for Ecommerce Email Marketing

After we analyzed Klaviyo and its competitors, we came to a conclusion that Klaviyo suited our client best. Keep in mind that Klaviyo’s advantages might not suit your case: as your configuration may vary, the situation may be different for you. 

Let’s review the advantages of Klaviyo that make it a great platform for ecommerce email marketing

1. Klaviyo Shopify Integration

This was the most important feature, as our client had all customer data stored in Shopify.  Over 10,000 Shopify stores use Klaviyo, it’s literally a match made in the ecommerce heaven.

After connecting to Shopify, Klaviyo will have access to these metrics: Checkout Started; Placed Order; Ordered Product; Fulfilled Order.
Shopify metrics that can be integrated in Klaviyo

2. Klaviyo Pricing Flexibility

Klaviyo offers several pricing plans. The price depends on the volume of your subscriber base. You can also choose whether you want to send emails, SMS, or both.

Pay attention to the right part of the screenshot: the tariff is not unlimited as it sets a threshold for email sends. However, this threshold is big enough so most of the companies will not overpass it (~10 emails per subscriber in the database). Klaviyo doesn't hide functions behind the paywall, you pay for the base size only.

Estimate your price for Klaviyo email

3. SMS Marketing in Klaviyo

Another advantage of Klaviyo that lets it stand out among its competitors is SMS marketing. There is no need for third party integrations if you want to send not only emails but SMS as well. If you have an ecommerce business, SMS marketing might be a great opportunity to increase revenue.

Create SMS campaign in Klaviyo window
Setting up an SMS campaign in Klaviyo

4. Advanced Analytics System and Email Marketing Segmentation in Klaviyo

Besides SMS and custom pricing plans, Klaviyo also offers an advanced analytics system that can be useful for ecommerce marketing. There are no intricate ways of displaying data here, so you won’t get lost in it. 

You can analyze your campaigns at the microlevel by studying peculiar information and forecasts:

  • LTV;
  • customers’ gender;
  • customers’ age;
  • presupposed date of the next purchase.
Segmentation section in Klaviyo where you can segment your subscribers and personlize campaigns.
You can create audience segments based on various conditions offered by Klaviyo.

Don't forget to use Klaviyo segmentation for your email marketing. Of course you can just launch a campaign to the whole email list and forget about it. But always remember that segmentation is an essential step towards personalization. People like to be taken care of and an email that touches upon their favorite category can be regarded as a gesture of care. If you send subscribers something irrelevant two times in a row, they won’t ever open your emails and probably will unsubscribe from you.

All in all, if you want to increase conversion rate, we’d recommend segmenting your subscribers. According to Klaviyo’s report, unsubscriptions reduce by 50% and the revenue per recipient increases by 3 times when the base is segmented correctly. 

5. Email Templates in Klaviyo

No one will argue that email drag-and-drop editors are convenient: not every business owner knows how to code or has enough money to hire a team of HTML coders. If you don’t want to hire a team to design custom email templates, then Klaviyo’s ready-made templates will make you a bit happier. It’s always easier to choose one of many premade templates and tweak it instead of making one from scratch.

Klaviyo Showcase section on the website: a gallery with templates and a headline: Inspiration for your next campaign
You can also get inspired in the Showcase section where you can see high-performing emails sent with Klaviyo

Fun fact: not so long ago Klaviyo released an update with the subject line AI generator. It’s a great help for those of us who struggle with writing an original subject line each and every time. 

Also, keep in mind that you can create your own templates in a drag-n-drop editor.

6. Klaviyo Flows for Email Marketing

Just like other popular email marketing tools, Klaviyo has email marketing flows. Flows are sequences of automated communications that are triggered when users perform certain actions. 

What’s more, Klaviyo has special flow templates: you can check the Flow Library and pick the pre-built series that suits you best. You can do pretty good email marketing by implementing base triggers without any problems. No need to build it from scratch, just pick the template you like.

the section where you can pick a Klaviyo flow. Caption: Start with the essentials. Start with these flows to increase revenue and engagement with little effort
You can pick an ecommerce flow from Klaviyo's collection

This system allows anyone to work with automations: newbies, mids, and pros. It will let you learn more not only about Klaviyo’s flows in particular, but about automations in general. 

And a pleasant bonus: you don’t have to relaunch a campaign, if you make a mistake. You can just fix it and move along. 

7. A/B Testing in Klaviyo

Always test your hypotheses. Why? Let us explain in a bit theatrical way.

ahem-ahem

Boss: Hey, I got an idea, let's replace the items in our promo emails with more expensive ones. It'll bring us more money.

Employee: You mean it will increase total revenue? Or AOV? Or conversion rate?

Boss: Yes, all of them!!

Employee: Oooh, okaaaay, let's test it then. Replacing all ordinary goods in the promo email with the luxurious ones will raise total revenue, AOV, and open-to-purchase conversion rate by at least — how many percent?

Boss: Well… five?

Employee: Great! We'll send an A/B test to check it, and if it works, we'll do it in the future, if not — we'll stick to the current strategy.

The only thing left is to check the rates. You don’t even need any coding skills – everything can be managed on the platform.

conduct a/b tests of your email campaigns in klaviyo
You can test different elements. For example, the color of CTAs. Source

Like in most ESPs, you can test your hypotheses on a small batch of the subscribers, automatically pick a winner and send the major part of subscribers the most effective variant. However, Klaviyo only automatically checks Open Rate and CTR. 

Note that Klaviyo calculates the statistical significance of the results, so when the testing ends, you will be able to tell your boss whether the hypothesis was or wasn’t good.

Klaviyo Review: Limitations and Drawbacks 

There is no perfect email marketing tool and Klaviyo is no exception. It wouldn’t be fair to skip its drawbacks, so let’s go straight to them. 

Klaviyo’s Drawback 1: High Learning Curve

In the previous section, we already said that Klaviyo’s learning curve is higher because of its depth and narrower focus. However, the creators of the platform took care of newbies so they can learn from various sources, from training courses to different guides. Deep tools require deep immersion.

Still, all this educational content doesn’t replace the fact the platform’s UI may seem overloaded and overcomplicated to you.

High learning curve
Simplified scheme of a learning curve: the higher the learning curve is, the more time and effort is required to achieve the goal.

Klaviyo’s Drawback 2: High Cost

As we found out in the previous section, Klaviyo is not the cheapest email marketing platform on the market. The pricing is rather high for many users. If you’re looking for a cheap tool without sophisticated analytics, consider using another platform. 

For example, if you compare Klaviyo’s pricing with Mailchimp’s plans, it turns out that Mailchimp is more affordable (it has fewer analytics features though). One might say that it’s wrong to compare Klaviyo with Mailchimp as they have different pricing models, but if we take some average value (for example, 1,500 subscribers in the list), Mailchimp still wins when it comes to low cost.

Mailchimp pricing plans: premium, standard, essentials, free
Mailchimp pricing plans
Web page that shows the cost of Klaviyo subscription: $75 a month. The number of contacts: 1500.
Monthly cost of Klaviyo subscription for 1500 contacts

Klaviyo’s Drawback 3: You Need Tech Support’s Approval for Transactional Emails

This is not something you can usually face while working with an ESP: Klaviyo’s tech support should approve your transactional emails before you send them. Consider it when planning your workflow in Klaviyo. 

However, this won't take long: the very first approval took half an hour for us, we just texted them in the chat. But remember that the chat doesn't work 24/7: if you're in a hurry, setting up your flows late at night, or if you work in a timezone different from the US, it might become a problem at some point. You’ll have to plan setting up your transactional flows accordingly.

Summary: Klaviyo Review for Ecommerce Email Marketing Campaigns

Klaviyo is an advanced marketing platform that has its pros and cons. You might like Klaviyo if you need the features like:

  • advanced analytics
  • audience segmentation;
  • marketing flows;
  • integration with Shopify;
  • tech support.

All these advantages make Klaviyo a great choice for ecommerce: if you want to increase your sales and enhance customer experience, these are features you need. Also don’t forget that most of them are available for free plans, so you can test the platform without paying a cent.

However, remember about Klaviyo’s flaws – perhaps, some of them might make you consider another platform. Let’s look at Klaviyo’s cons that we discovered while working with our ecommerce client:

  • high learning curve. Klaviyo requires a thoughtful approach, so you won’t be able to learn it in one evening. If you need a quicker and simpler solution, you might want to consider another platform. 
  • high pricing. There are email marketing platforms that have similar features and lower cost. 
  • delayed email sending because of the approval process. 

If you’re thinking about buying a subscription to Klaviyo or another platform for ecommerce email marketing, but not sure whether it suits you, contact us: we can help make the right choice and make sure that email marketing will grow your revenue  :)

Anna Senkina
SMM Manager
George Burmistrov
Content Manager
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