Klaviyo Vs. Mailchimp for e-commerce businesses is not a battle, but a full-fledged war! So much so, that both of them are publicly at each other’s throat and have dedicated sections on their respective websites to make it obvious, citing reasons for why you should pick one against the other. While Klaviyo claims to be the better tool among the two to accelerate sales, Mailchimp takes a dig at Klaviyo’s price point. Klaviyo goes to the length of showing results of studies done on 10000 Mailchimp users who switched to Klaviyo, who were apparently able to see a jump in store revenue to the tune of 46% (Source). Mailchimp on the other hand claims to be three times cheaper than Klaviyo with much more functionality (Source).
Mailchimp has a legacy of over 19 years, and while Klaviyo was built in 2012, it was built for e-commerce businesses and comes packed with features for nurturing your customers online. There is no doubt that these are the two best marketing automation tools for e-commerce stores, however the decision of Klaviyo Vs Mailchimp is worth evaluating based on your specific business needs. Let’s take a look at these two incredibly powerful marketing software.
Klaviyo Vs. Mailchimp - Features & Usability
If you are an e-commerce business wanting to understand your customers better and capture their attention in a sophisticated, less time-consuming manner, Klaviyo is a great buy. It’s the most insightful and convenient tool packed with features and you must know that it is built specifically for e-commerce.
Mailchimp has a strong focus on their forte i.e. building emails. So when it comes to features, their suite is a variety of newsletter and email templates. They have some additional automation features but these are somewhat limited.
On the contrary, Klaviyo’s strength is in its automated email workflows, which are meant for e-commerce. In fact, they have the Welcome Series of 5 emails already setup for your new subscribers. All you need to do is customize it for your brand and you are good to go! They have a tonne of resources in the form of short, explainer videos, built into their dashboard that can help you do this job at ease without wasting much time.
Klaviyo has some very interesting features that Mailchimp is yet to match up to. For instance, I find their “Smart Sending” features very useful in the midst of the myriad of flows that are created for the subscribers. Since I do not want to bombard the subscribers with content every few hours, it helps to switch on this feature to ensure delivery of any new messages to someone who hasn’t received one in a stipulated period of time. This is set at 16 hours by default.
It is also helpful that UTM tracking can be easily done from within the system which helps connect the sales funnels all the back to Google Analytics for ease of reporting. And this is a feature even with the free version. While the templates in Klaviyo are not as good as those in Mailchimp, they are more or less customisable. When you’re ready to send your email, you could run a variation or A/B testing on the email to test out certain hypotheses on subject lines, email content and send times.
But what really makes Klaviyo stand out is the Segments and Lists function. Emails in Klaviyo can be segmented by behavioural, transactional and event-based data that is linked directly to your CRM. Additionally there are lists that can be linked directly to the Sign-Up forms built into the system. In that sense, Segments are dynamic and keep getting updated based on the behaviour set for the segment. These segments may also be set using predicted characteristics and interestingly, one such characteristic is the gender of the person. If you are marketing to the EU region, you will also get the option of targeting segments of people who are from the EU, based on the GDPR data. You may easily create combinations of such queries to build the segments that are relevant to you and your e-commerce store.
Additionally, Klaviyo has got you covered if you want to target people such as those who buy a specific type of product, only buy on offers vs. only buy at the full price and those who buy during campaign days.
Klaviyo’s data science and predictive analytics tools will tell you who your most valuable customers are based on the Customer Lifetime Value, and all embedded into the system with just the basic CRM integrations.
Preference pages is another aspect of Klaviyo that is clearly laid out. A preference page in Klaviyo is meant for managing the preferences of subscribers, so it’s easy to keep a tab on anyone who had to unsubscribe and sift them out of your email lists.
If you go through the massive range of segmentation choices on Klaviyo, dealing with Mailchimp feels slightly inadequate. Especially so if you have a lower number of subscribers and are using the more basic plans of Mailchimp.
The definition of a ‘Segment’ in Mailchimp is effectively a list like ‘New Subscribers’. Then, there are ‘Groups’ which are the Mailchimp version of Segments (as defined by Klaviyo), except they are not as powerful and useful as those in Klaviyo. They are built on basic behavioural traits such as ‘Opened an email last week’. Once you’re created a behavioural list, you can then break it down by demographics of the person - gender, location, age etc. That is a bit unintuitive and therefore, not a great user experience.
With regards to conversion tracking, Mailchimp gives you options of tracking within Mailchimp, integrating with Facebook (using an in-built pixel ID generator) and integrating with Google Analytics. The lists created from these tracking mechanisms, specially Facebook, can then be used for re-targeting and other automated ads. That, you have a social media integration at the right place and time in your workflow to reach out to your potential customers.
An interesting segmentation option that only comes with the Premium plan of Mailchimp is their Email Marketing Engagement segmentation. This refers to segmentation that may be done based on how the audience interacts with your emails. And I don’t mean the usual opens and clicks, but an engagement scale that Mailchimp draws up for you to classify users as new, rarely, sometimes and often in terms of interaction with your emails.
One big drawback of Mailchimp is double-counting of subscribers. Any subscribers that appear on multiple lists are counted as separate contacts. Also, the number of Audience sets that can be created on Mailchimp are determined by the plan you are on. The Free and the Basic plan only allow for one Audience set which does not seem enough.
In terms of CRM integration, you are free to connect any CRM to Klaviyo with Shopify being the most popular of all. Note that Mailchimp allows e-commerce platform integration as well, however, as of March 2019, they do not allow integration with Shopify.
Usability or ease of use is an important factor because if a platform lets you save time, that time saved is time earned to do other 10K things you have on your job list. Also, the more difficult a platform, the more specialized resources you need to hire which means additional money spent. Both Mailchimp and Klaviyo have a great user interface and are easy to understand and operate. The nomenclature used is simple and effective. Some would even say that Mailchimp is too minimalistic in it’s approach.
The Verdict: Klaviyo beats Mailchimp hands-down in the features and usability set. It’s segmentation stays unmatched.
Mailchimp Vs. Klaviyo - Pricing
Klaviyo’s pricing model is built on the number of subscribers and emails to be sent. In essence, as your subscribers increase, so does the price, while the features remain the same across.
Well, most of the features remain the same across. Unfortunately you can not get rid of the double opt-in in Klaviyo unless you have a paid account and you reach out to the customer support for disabling the option. Thus, if you do not want people to confirm their subscription through email again, you will need to take a paid subscription of Klaviyo.
Otherwise, until 250 contacts are in the system and 500 emails are sent, you may use all of Klaviyo’s features for free. This is essentially their ‘Free trial’ because you’re sure to get hooked on to their features. However, as your contacts grow, Klaviyo pricing increases exponentially over Mailchimp pricing. So much so, that this can go all the way up to $1700 per month for 146,000 contacts. After that, if you have the budget to pay, you will need a special quote from them.
As the Klaviyo pricing increases, so does their customer support. Higher value accounts also get their dedicated account managers.
On the contrary, Mailchimp pricing and customer support is not as directly proportional to the number of subscribers and emails sent. The starting price for each plan is correlated to the features provided, which increase as you go for a higher level plan. Additionally, your cost gets customized based on the number of contacts you have.
The Mailchimp Free plan provides some basic features (including custom domains) for upto 2000 contacts. With this plan, you can also try their marketing tools like postcards, landing pages and Facebook/Instagram ads. This makes complete sense for small businesses looking to test out an email marketing platform for a limited number of subscribers. The Standard and Essentials plans are both for a very nominal starting fee per month (USD 14.99 and USD 9.99 respectively), however the catch is that this fee is applicable only for upto 500 contacts. As the contacts increase, so does the price. The Essentials plan can go to as high as USD 259 per month for upto 50000 contacts, after which you have to move to the Standard plan. Similarly the Standard plan can go as high as USD 499 per month for upto 100000 contacts, after which you are required to graduate to the Premium plan. For contacts of over 200000, you need to contact Mailchimp for a custom plan.
The Verdict: Purely in terms of pricing, Mailchimp is definitely a cheaper tool than Klaviyo, with it’s free plan and even the most premium plans are priced better.
Klaviyo Vs. Mailchimp - Automation
If there is a tool that does marketing automation well, it has to be Klaviyo! Once you have your Klaviyo account, you’ll be able to go into ‘Flows’ which is where you can create email nurture streams for your customers. You’ll see about 36 such flows that have been created already and you still have the option of creating a new flow from scratch. You can filter these based on the type of stream (abandoned cart, browse abandonment, customer winback, post-purchase follow-up, subscriber welcome, transactional and tag contact profiles) and the goal (nurture prospects, convert sales, up-sell/cross-sell, build loyalty, engage lapsed customers and sunset unengaged subscribers) that these cater to. Here is where you can utilize Klaviyo’s smart automation tools. I found one such flow very interesting. It is the ‘Back in Stock’ flow which gives advance notice to the VIP (the target segment that Klaviyo helps you create with it’s predictive insights) customers. This is part of Klaviyo’s end-to-end Back in stock solution.
There is also the option to filter by the integration and in this case, Shopify, AfterShip, Smile.io and ReCharge.
If such an exhaustive list of flows is still not enough for you, you could still build your own flow from scratch. It is very user-friendly with it’s drag and drop functionality and the nomenclature is easy to understand. You may also merge flows to and edit existing flow templates.
In Mailchimp, on the contrary, there are three automation channels - email, ad and postcard that you could make use of. Again, it’s easy to set up workflows or as Mailchimp calls it ‘Drips’ under the ‘Automate’ section. These can be based on a variety of marketing goals however, these goals are not as exhaustive as Klaviyo. Also, unless you are on Standard or Premium plan, you will not have access to the marketing automation features in Mailchimp.
With Mailchimp too, you have the option of building a custom drip campaign however, it is not a drag and drop function but much more complicated, as if you are creating a Boolean query.
Nevertheless, Mailchimp is certainly the most reliable among it’s peers in that price range. So if your business requires basic automation at a decent price, Mailchimp is a great option. Also, with the integration of Ads (Facebook, Instagram and Google) and Postcards, it makes the drip process holistic. Not to forget, Mailchimp also integrates easily with your website which helps you use the user journey to trigger new workflows and drips. However the data obtained in this process is fairly limited. And well, automation on Mailchimp comes with a price tag.
The Verdict: In the Mailchimp vs. Klaviyo battle here, Klaviyo wins this one for the ease of automation and the fact that you can test it out even on the free plan. While Mailchimp does have a lot to offer here with it’s ads and postcards automation, specifically and more importantly, their email automation strategies lack the sophistication of Klaviyo.
Klaviyo Vs. Mailchimp - Integrations
When you talk about integrations, Mailchimp has an elaborate list of 248 tools that it is compatible with, most of which provide one-click integration. These fall under various categories such as Analytics, Booking and Scheduling, Contact Management, E-commerce, Surveys, Social and Subscription Management among others. Some prominent integrations that deserve a mention are ShopSync, Adobe Photoshop, Zapier, Woocommerce, Simple Texting, Slack and Wordpress. With these integration options Mailchimp becomes an end-to-end marketing automation product.
However, in March 2019, Mailchimp removed it’s integration with Shopify as Shopify changed it’s terms and conditions for use. Now you can connect your Shopify customer data only using a third party tool like ShopSync or Zapier. That is one change that lets Klaviyo win half the battle already. With Shopify being the most popular choice in the top 100K websites of hosted solutions for e-commerce stores (Source), Klaviyo gets a major advantage as the choice of marketing automation software for e-commerce. In fact, Klaviyo touts itself as a growth engine for Shopify Plus stores. Klaviyo helps accelerate the momentum of an e-commerce business built on Shopify without the trade-off of ease of use and powerful functionality.
Over and above that, Klaviyo offers 48 different integrations, including that with Mailchimp for email. Some of the more prominent ones are BigCommerce, Woocommerce, Amazon Marketplace, Volusion, and Shopify for e-commerce; Facebook Advertising for Advertising; Wufu for Forms; Salesforce and Zoho for CRM; and a few more for payments and fundraising.
While the number of integrations seems considerably less than Mailchimp, it is possibly because of the fact that a lot of the features such as dashboards for analytics are built into Klaviyo already.
The Verdict: Given that I’m writing based on the needs of e-commerce businesses, even with the higher number of integrations, the Shopify deficit is hard to make up for Mailchimp. Thus, this round of Klaviyo Vs. Mailchimp goes to Klaviyo.
Klaviyo Vs. Mailchimp - Reporting and Analytics
Performance in Klaviyo can be checked under the ‘Metrics’ section. It clearly brings out valuable information such as total revenue generated, total active site traffic, revenue attribution to the email campaigns, average order value etc. This section is customizable and similar to Google DataStudio, parameters can be dragged and dropped into the dashboard as per your convenience.
Shopify stores have a very deep integration with Klaviyo. Thus, there is a lot of dynamic data being exchanged in real-time that benefits the campaigns a great deal. This is very useful when you want to give automated product recommendations or create abandoned cart emails that can help boost sales at a more advanced stage of the buyer’s journey.
Over and above, email metrics of all flows can directly be seen within the ‘Flow’ structure. This helps to give a bird’s eye view of which flows are performing better than others for conversions.
And the biggest differentiator between the two is the predictive analyses that Klaviyo offers. This helps build scale the business to a whole new level. This can be very helpful in building customer loyalty programs and making customers evangelists for your brand.
Both Mailchimp and Klaviyo give you email open and click rates, and both allow you to benchmark against industry averages. One feature that goes a long way in gaining insights is being able to find what your customers are doing in real-time, which Klaviyo offers.
Coming to Mailchimp, you will get all the basic analytics and overarching insights you need and all this is presented on the campaign page. While there are no predictive analytics to figure out your most valuable customers, if your brand is just starting out, Mailchimp does a pretty good job at giving you the bang for your buck. Also, Mailchimp is simpler to use and comprehend than Klaviyo for anyone who does not want to get into the nitty-gritties of their customer behaviour.
The Verdict: Klaviyo is definitely a better choice for e-commerce platforms with it’s sound analytics that are helpful in taking your business to the next level.
Klaviyo Vs. Mailchimp - Support
Both the email marketing platforms, Klaviyo and Mailchimp offer live chat support which is very helpful while you’re setting up new accounts or just new workflows within the accounts and both of them seem to be very responsive.
Klaviyo, on one hand, has an incredible help center with tonnes of on-demand webinars, how-to guides, step-by-step instruction wizards all through the process of setting up any campaign. There is information on anything and everything that you would need advice on - from email deliverability to workflows and reporting. While you can access their email support on a free account, you can access their live chat only if you have a paid account. On an average, the reviews about the live chat support staff are positive and helpful.
On the other hand, Mailchimp also has great DIY options with it’s tutorials and guides. However, they have limited video resources which is not great for our millennial learners used to video content. Mailchimp also has limited access to customer support on the free account. For one, you do not have the option of email support on the free account and there is no phone number, or chat available either. Thus, on the free account, you can only rely on outside resources and communities for any queries you might have, which may waste a lot of time.
The Verdict: Klaviyo is a clear winner here between Klaviyo vs. Mailchimp. It’s chat and email options along with the freely available resources within the system make it easy to comprehend and utilize the benefits of the tool.
Klaviyo is one comprehensive tool with all of analytics and tracking, audience measurement, conversion optimization and marketing automation and it was designed for e-commerce businesses. On the other hand, Mailchimp has been ‘the’ email marketing tool for years now, regardless of the business you are in. With a few DIY integrations, your Mailchimp account can be ready to take your business to greater heights.
If you are serious about scaling up your e-commerce business using data-driven insights all rolled into one product, Klaviyo is the tool for you. For small businesses though, Klaviyo can be a little excessive and overwhelming and in which case, Mailchimp will fit your business needs very well.