Klaviyo vs Mailchimp for eCommerce, which one is better and why?

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Bostjan Belingar , CEO | Hustler Marketing Industry Expert · Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

Okay, so your store is doing well. More than well, you’re turning 6 figures in revenue each month, and you’re on your way to squeezing every little cent (of profit) from your store.

Your product research is doing well, your pixel is trained and crushing it, your team handles most of the heavy lifting. The next key area you KNOW you have to improve is email marketing…

But you don’t know much about it. It’s just emails to people who buy/are about to buy your stuff, right? One of the first questions people ask in relation to email, and I’m sure you’ve seen it tons in the group too, is “Should I use Klaviyo or Mailchimp?”. I’ll help you out with that decision today as best as I can.

#1 Having a centralized system is better 💪

Various apps might help you for a while, but once you’re turning large numbers, you want to have something a little more solid. There’s a lot of automated emails going on for an ecom store (cart abandon, welcome, thank you emails, order updates etc), so you want to have that in one place.

Otherwise, you have 10 different logins to all these apps, and there’s no centralized dashboard. You have no clue how you’re doing, and moreover, most of these apps don’t allow much customization.

Once you’re ready to turn pro, you should be using a dedicated powerful email marketing software. Here are a few of the things I’ve seen stores use for ecommerce:

-Mailchimp
-Klaviyo
-Bronto
-Active Campaign
-Pornhub… Just kidding – it was Hubspot :=)

But to be honest, the biggest players in ecom are definitely MailChimp and Klaviyo. So let’s see how they can compare.

2# Mailchimp Vs Klaviyo 🥊

2.1 Deliverability (do your emails get to the inbox) 📬

Unless you’re using a dedicated IP address to send emails, you are using a shared IP pool. Meaning that Klaviyo and Mailchimp both have a bunch of servers, and assign you a range of IPs. You share those IPs with other users in your group.

Here’s the kicker – if you are sharing your IP with bad senders, your emails may end up in spam because of THEIR bad practices. So if you’re not sure, it’s always good to check that on http://www.senderscore.org or just ask support to change your group etc.

Based on personal research (and that of my mentors and friends) we’ve found that Klaviyo pretty much rocks it, and Mailchimp does tend to have some issues sometimes. Basic logic explains it too – Mailchimp is the most famous, and lots of people who have no clue are joining it and sending out emails with bad practices etc.

2.2 Split-Testing Automations/Flows 🤖

As I mentioned many times before, automated emails are SUPER important. Flows can amount to more than 5% of your total revenue. I’m working with a store now that does 600k/mo, and just cart abandon + welcome flows are doing 37k/mo. Two automated flows…

As always, there’s a kicker – you need to continually split-test subject lines and change stuff up on those.

On Mailchimp, you cannot split-test automations (as they call them), but on Klaviyo it’s not a problem. A screenshot of split test result from Klaviyo

2.3 Live Support 🆘

If you’re pushing very hard with emails, you will be having new ideas all the time. Can I trigger a website popup upon people clicking an email? Can I tag people and separate them in the flow based on the time they joined? Will the flow/automation I constructed work flawlessly?

Both softwares have Live support, but the level of service is very different.

I usually find klaviyo staff very fast and efficient, sometimes even creating flows for me etc. There are of course some newbies that are kinda slow and don’t know stuff – I usually just ask for some senior guys straight away. And yes, by now I know most of the support people by name, haha.

In Mailchimp, the few times I chatted with them, they were friendly and helpful. But the problem was in Mailchimp itself. It simply cannot do tagging, advanced flow logic and many other technical stuff. In addition, the live support button is somehow hidden, almost like they don’t want people to find support.

2.4 Dynamic Data, After Ship & Other Integration 📊

Shopify has DEEP integration with Klaviyo. Which means a ton of dynamic data. Want to include the name of the product a customer put into checkout into cart abandon flow? You got it. Want to put the customer’s name into a button (Bostjan, Click Here)? Yup. Want to construct a “recently viewed items” section, kinda like what Amazon does for you? Yeah, Klaviyo gotcha.

On Mailchimp, none of those things can be done. Sure, it does have some dynamic data, but not much in regards to ecommerce.

Which makes sense. Mailchimp was developed way before ecommerce boomed, so they had no idea of the features that will be needed. They’re trying to catch up but…

2.5 Pricing (with Pics) 💸

Let’s say you have 40,000 subs. That’s already a nice list. And btw, list size does not matter as much as you think. I have clients with 30,000 people making 50k off of emails, and I have had clients with 200,000 people doing 20k off of email.

Klaviyo 40,000 people – $700.
Mailchimp Pro 40,000 – $450

The verdict? Who cares about $250. Like seriously, what a stupid argument that is. You’d actually use something inferior just based on the pricing? If you’re worried about $250 (or $1,000) a month than you have a bigger problem and should not be thinking about serious email marketing yet.

2.6 Native Gender Segmentation 👫

Okay, this is the only thing I give to Mailchimp. They have a function that separates people to male and female. I think it’s somehow linked to google analytics etc. Not exactly sure how accurate it is, but it did fine for one client where it really mattered.

Like, I don’t want to be selling leg-shaving stuff to guys, so this helped. I don’t think Klaviyo has this function.

2.7 Native Browse Abandonment 🌊

Browse abandonment is a cool little flow. In case you don’t know, it’s kinda like abandoned cart, but for viewed items. So somebody looks at a few products on the website, and then an email gently reminds them about it and gives a discount an hour later (only once a month or so tho, otherwise it’s annoying).

You can simply set that up in klaviyo, but can’t do it in mailchimp. You need external apps/integrations for that and it’s a mess.

2.8 Setting Up Tags & Logic 🤝

Okay, this is REALLY cool. With the tags and advanced flow logic, you can really play. How about sending a dedicated welcome sequence to people who join your list via cart abandon sequence?

How about tagging everyone who bounced email too many times, and then excluding them from the future campaigns so your deliverability doesn’t suffer? Or tagging buyers of a specific items, and sending them a dedicated flow? Or… I mean damn, there are literally almost unlimited options.

Below is a 3-language, split-testing abandon cart flow, that’s using some very specific tagging too. No way you can replicate this in Mailchimp. You could do it in Active Campaign, but they’re not so good for ecom. I think Bronto could handle it too, but they’re way more expensive and just… too old school.
A screenshot of 3 language split test on Klaviyo
Bostjan 👊💥

P.S
Please note that I am affiliated with Klaviyo, although their partner program kind of sucks – frankly speaking. But I just can’t help NOT recommending them, since I love using their software.

Bostjan Belingar is the CEO of Hustler Marketing, revising and improving all the key automated email flows of online stores.