MailChimp vs Klaviyo: Ecommerce Case Study

Before and After Comparison MailChimp vs Klaviyo:

In my previous post I spoke about how important email marketing is to Ecommerce businesses (My Biggest Takeaway from 2015).  However, one of the questions that frequently comes up is which email service provider to use, and how to get started with email marketing in general.  MailChimp is usually the “go to” email service provider when you’re first starting out, because it’s inexpensive and fairly easy and quick to set up.  (That’s what I used initially also).

If you do decide to go the MailChimp route you will quickly realize that MailChimp has many limitations when it comes to your Ecommerce business.  There’s a much better solution for Ecommerce businesses and it’s called Klaviyo.  In this post I will give our experiences with MailChimp and Klaviyo, and how it helped take our business to the next level for email marketing.

On MailChimp – total revenue from when we launched in September 2014 to May 2015 (9 months) – $3,760. At 3,502 subscribers it was roughly $1 in revenue per subscriber.

On Klaviyo – total revenue from May 2015 to December 2015 (8 months) – 36k subscribers and $160k or roughly $4.40 in revenue per subscriber.

In reality, there were several benefits that attracted me to Klaviyo from MailChimp,

1. The biggest benefit to me is being able to trigger emails to send based on many different factors, but to also NOT trigger emails based on different factors. For example, our Influencer Marketing Prospect Campaign has been very successful for us.  The biggest benefit is having a promotion ladder where we can offer increasing discounts to people, but only if they have NOT purchased since starting the flow.  (This filter is checked for every email right before it goes out, not just once when they start the flow.) When we were using MailChimp, once we started an autoresponder sequence to a subscriber they got all the emails, making the promotion ladder impossible. (This may have changed or there may have been a way – I just didn’t know how.)

2. Having to rely on Google Analytics for reporting of transactions. The only thing I could get working in MailChimp for analytics was sends, opens, clicks, unsubscribes, and spam complaints. I could never get ecommerce360 to work. While I’m not the biggest fan of how Klaviyo analytics are presented, there are a ton more data points that I can look at and I’m a big fan of that. Pages viewed, activity feed by email, packages shipped, packages delivered (with after ship integration), purchases, viewing wishlist, etc. All topics which can be used for targeting. i.e. sending emails to subscribers who viewed a specific blog post, specific product color, and had an abandoned cart. The flow can be setup to put that post, the product, and the cart in an email.

3. As stated above in number 1, but I’ll reiterate it here on its own line – the variety of way’s I can target customer’s to send emails to! It’s more than just changing the product that’s in the email.

4. Its not difficult to try it out. Most solutions are all or nothing, use only MailChimp or use only Klaviyo. It’s not that way with Klaviyo. With the integration between the two, Klaviyo actually synced with MailChimp so I could keep all my forms intact and collect new subscribers into MailChimp that would then be synced to Klaviyo.  I could still send emails from MailChimp and setup an email send or an autoresponder in Klaviyo to go to those same folks. For example, a new subscriber would get the welcome email from mail chimp or monthly newsletter from mail chimp like normal, but I could test out one autoresponder first to see if it would work. Like a post purchase autoresponder in Klaviyo when that person purchases. If it doesn’t go right, Klaviyo can be turned off and I could go back to MailChimp.

A few things I do miss about MailChimp:

1. The price – of course.

2. Simplicity – Klaviyo can be a little difficult and getting help is difficult. I had to hire someone to get more of the advanced features working properly.

3. Conversation view for the replies – it was nice to have all emails from a specific “send” in one place because they all go to our customer service email and sometimes its hard to know where they came from.


Even if you have 0 subscribers you have a fee with MailChimp.  Klaviyo is free for the first 250 subscribers.

From Klaviyo’s site:


All accounts are free up to 250 contacts / 500 email sends and include newsletter, A/B testing tools, Integrations, Segmentation, and our drag & drop responsive email creator.

Here is the link to their site and a free demo: