Pro’s and Con’s of Using Klaviyo For Your eCommerce Business

Email marketing is an extremely powerful tool and one that can drive a huge ROI when executed properly. When it comes to eCommerce, email can be used to engage with current customers or capture revenue from those who landed on your site but never made a purchase. There’s so much potential when it comes to email marketing for eCommerce, and without the right email marketing platform, that potential can go untapped. 

Learn More: eCommerce Email Marketing Statistics

When we launched our in-house eCommerce brand, DermWarehouse back in 2016, we signed up for a MailChimp account and utilized their email marketing platform for several years. As we were starting out and growing our business, MailChimp was a perfect platform for us. It was inexpensive, allowed us to send out campaigns whenever we wanted to our entire email list, and was very easy and intuitive to use. 

At a certain point, we realized that we were outgrowing MailChimp and needed to move to a more robust platform. Some of TMC’s other clients were using Klaviyo and had great things to say about it, so we did some more digging.

The Move to Klaviyo

One of the biggest initial draws to Klaviyo for us was the ability to set up abandoned cart flows, to capture customers who added products to their carts but never checked out. The ability to do this was why we started looking outside of MailChimp in the first place. 

Learn More: Shopping Cart Abandonment Options for WooCommerce

We spend over $30k per month on advertising bringing potential new customers to our site. We knew that a lot of these people dropped off our site without making a purchase and we wanted to give ourselves the best chance to capture any of those customers who were ready to pull the trigger, but didn’t for one reason or another. 

Overall Thoughts on Klaviyo

Klaviyo calls themselves “the ultimate marketing platform for ecommerce.” They tout that Klaviyo connects with your ecommerce store and other tools in just a few clicks. You’ll have all your customers’ historical and real-time data—for everything from purchases to reviews—right at your fingertips. Creating ultra-personalized messaging has simply never been easier.

I’d have to say that when it comes to email marketing, Klaviyo certainly delivers. Overall, we’ve been extremely happy with them and they’ve helped us capture hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue that may have been lost otherwise. From an ROI perspective, you honestly can’t beat it. 

Learn More: Email Marketing Advice for eCommerce

There are, however, a few drawbacks to Klaviyo (everything has pros and cons, right?). When I was initially looking into the platform, it was difficult for me to find a list of both pros and cons before signing up, so that’s what I’m hoping to offer here. This list takes into account my 2+ years of working with Klaviyo for my own business and the wins and losses I’ve experienced. So, let’s dig into it! 

Need help with your email marketing or getting set up with Klaviyo? Contact The Media Captain!

Pros of Using Klaviyo

Onboarding

When we first launched with Klaviyo, we went through an intensive onboarding process that allowed us the chance to get set up with many of our initial flows. We worked with an onboarding specialist that was able to help us create all of the flows we’d been dreaming up. This was not a typical demo type onboarding, we worked within our account to set everything up just the way we wanted it.

We had a month to complete a certain number of sessions and we really barreled through them, as we were anxious to get started ASAP. One caveat to this was that we did a lot of homework on our end to prepare everything possible to take advantage of our time. Unfortunately this is really the only chance you’ll get to work with the Klaviyo experts in this capacity, so make sure you really take advantage of it. 

There’s a lot within Klaviyo to learn so make sure you do your homework, ask any questions that you can, and really try to stump their team so that you can push the envelope in what you’re creating for your business. This onboarding process was so crucial for us and really allowed us to hit the ground running. 

Easy to Use Templates

Klaviyo has an entire template library where you can browse ideas for your flows. This is a great resource, as it not only provides you with templates, but it also helps give you great ideas as to the types of flows you can set up and how they’ll work. You can also create your own templates for certain campaign email types that you use often, making campaign setup super easy. 

Flows

The ability to set up flows within Klaviyo is likely the reason that many of you are considering switching over to Klaviyo in the first place. According to Klaviyo, “flows help you send timely communications to recipients via email or SMS and can simply apply certain actions, like updating a specific field on a profile.”

We use flows for DermWarehouse for a multitude of things. From shopping cart abandonment to browse abandonment to out of stock updates to birthday & anniversary emails and more, the possibilities really seem endless. The most common flows are welcome flows, post purchase flows, abandoned cart flows and win back flows, however from there, you can use your imagination and really get creative with the types of emails that are going out. Below is what our abandoned cart flow looks like.

When we were just sending out campaign emails through MailChimp, when we created a campaign was the only time we had any email communication with our customers. With flows, there are emails going out every single day, so your email marketing is always working for you. As I mentioned earlier, our Klaviyo flows have helped us capture hundreds of thousands of dollars that we may have never seen otherwise. 

Signup Forms

A signup form is a form that pops up when visitors first land on your website (and/or right before they leave, depending on how you have this setup). Prior to writing this blog, Klaviyo’s signup forms were actually on my Cons list. Within the last few weeks, they’ve made a ton of great updates, which has now moved their signup forms to my pros list (and I guess we can add the fact that they take customer feedback into account as another pro in the list!). 

Signup forms are extremely important in helping to grow your email list. You want to make sure that when potential customers land on your site, you have a way to get in touch with them should they drop off without making a purchase. Enter the signup form! 

You can ask users to join your mailing list for product updates or special promotions, offer a discount, provide educational material or some sort of gift upon signup, or run a contest to get users to enter their email address or phone number into your form. You can definitely get creative here, but the goal is to create an enticing message so that you can capture customer information on your site. You’ll later use this information to target your customers via email! 

With the Klaviyo forms, there’s a lot of room for customization. You can design the form however you want and capture any information that’s important for your business. You can add photos, links or text and you have the option to decide exactly when and where you want the form to show up. Recently, Klaviyo has added the functionality to make your form multiple steps, in case you want to collect both email and phone number. 

They’ve also added the option for a teaser, which can show a little message in the bottom of your screen either before the user sees the form or after they X out of it. This was a game changer for DermWarehouse. So many people automatically click out of any popup as soon as they see it without really reading it or thinking about it. Now with this new teaser functionality, our customers will be able to get back to our popup to take advantage of our discount, even if they had previously closed out of it.

Ability to Create Lists & Segments Based on Data Captured

There is so much data that Klaviyo captures about each customer. From the products and product types that they’ve purchased to their activity on the site to the amount of orders they’ve placed and how much they’ve spent, all of this amazing data is stored. 

According to Klaviyo, “Lists are static, meaning they grow as people subscribe or are manually added. Segments, on the other hand, are dynamic, meaning they grow as people meet the segments’ conditions and shrink as people no longer meet them. Moreover, segments update in real-time.” 

You can use Klaviyo’s lists and segments to send different emails to different people based on their behavior on your site. For example, for DermWarehouse, we send emails to segments of different brands. Many of our brands provide us with gift with purchase items so we may send an email to everyone who has ever purchased the brand Sente or added a Sente product to their cart in the last 60 days, letting them know about the GWP. 

The reason we send it to this specific segment of people is because we know they are interested in Sente products, so they will likely be interested in getting something from Sente for free! Below you can see how we built this segment within Klaviyo.

The possibilities for segmented campaigns are endless. We send emails for people who have made a purchase in the past, but not in the last 90 days. We send emails to people who have purchased a specific product to let them know if that product goes on sale. We send emails to people who have spent a certain amount in a specified time range, offering them special promotions or discounts. You can get really creative with the segments you make, ensuring you always have many campaigns and flows running at once. The ability to segment within Klaviyo is second to none!

ROI & Capturing Lost Revenue

For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42 [source]. The ROI of email marketing cannot be questioned and using a platform like Klaviyo will only help you reach your full email marketing potential. 

Klaviyo is pricey – I will not argue with you on that one. The return you get out of it and the amount of lost revenue you can capture will make this platform worth every penny. In the last year, our abandoned cart flow alone has captured over $100,000 in revenue that we probably would have lost without it. We currently pay about $1,500 per month for Klaviyo and with just our abandoned cart flow alone we’re bringing back over $8k of revenue. Just from one single flow!! Need I say more?

Cons of Using Klaviyo

Learning Curve

When it comes to using this powerhouse email marketing platform, there is definitely a learning curve. You can take full advantage of the great onboarding but after that, you’re kind of on your own.

Klaviyo does a great job of providing templates and help articles, but sometimes building your flows or segments can get a little bit hairy and confusing. We’ve had to enlist the help of our developer for a lot of what we’ve set up within Klaviyo so that we could take full advantage of everything the platform has to offer. 

There are certainly resources to help guide you through the process, but it’s not as easy or intuitive as a simpler email marketing platform like MailChimp. There have definitely been times after an intense Klaviyo session that I felt like my brain might explode! That being said, there are a ton more options for customization and ways to be creative with your email marketing. 

Text Messages

We were really excited to start utilizing SMS in all of our flows and campaigns. While the ROI is still there (meaning every month we do more in revenue from SMS messages than we spend on this part of the package), the performance of our text messages have never blown me out of the water in the way our emails have. 

The onboarding process for SMS was much shorter than when we originally got set up with Klaviyo (and we had to meet a certain price threshold for texts to even get that onboarding in the first place), and overall, I’ve been disappointed with the functionality and the performance in this area. I feel like I need more help analyzing what’s going wrong here, but I haven’t been able to get that from the Klaviyo team.

Learn More: Text Message & SMS Marketing Tips for eCommerce Brands

Post-Onboarding Help

When we first signed up with Klaviyo, their service was amazing. The onboarding was incredible and we were told that there would be a growth specialist reaching out to us every few months to give us new ideas and analyze our account to see what we could be doing better. We’ve never heard from anyone. 

Klaviyo does have a support team that will get back to you and try to help with issues you’re having. They also now have a Live Chat, which makes things a lot easier, however, I know that with a dedicated account rep and someone meeting with us every once in a while, we’d continue to see more growth in the account. 

Once you graduate from the initial Klaviyo onboarding, you’re pretty much on your own to figure everything out.

Price

While I mentioned our amazing ROI that we’ve seen with Klaviyo, the fact of the matter is that this platform isn’t cheap. For many businesses starting out, the price tag will likely be too steep. I would say that until you have a really solid email list in place and a lot of traffic to your website (where an abandoned cart flow would make sense and yield a great return), you’re likely better off starting smaller with a company like MailChimp (who did yield great results for us for several years!). 

While Klaviyo does offer smaller and cheaper plans for smaller lists, when we switched over from MailChimp, we were paying a few hundred dollars a month and our monthly bill more than doubled (with the same amount of email subscribers). Be prepared for there to be a little bit of sticker shock if you’re considering making the switch. View their pricing to see what your plan would look like for your business.

In closing

While there are certainly a few drawbacks to using Klaviyo, the pros far outweigh the cons. As an email marketing platform, Klaviyo is extremely robust and offers so many ways to engage with current customers or capture lost revenue from people who dropped off your site. Using Klaviyo has been a game changer for our eCommerce business. If you’re just starting out, you may be better suited for an email marketing platform with less bells and whistles (and a lower price tag), but as soon as you need something more comprehensive, I couldn’t recommend Klaviyo more.

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