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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.

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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:  https://www.klaviyo.com/

15 thoughts on “MailChimp vs Klaviyo: Ecommerce Case Study

  1. Great post! That’s true that Mailchimp has many limitations. You see them after using it for a while. I’ve never heard about Klaviyo. I switched to GetResponse. Have you tried it?

    1. I’ve never used get response, but unless it does many of the ecommerce focused features that Klaviyo does – like dynamic insertion of product information into emails and one-click setup of purchase segments based on how much a customer has spent, I’d be very hesitant to make the switch.
      Would love to hear how it’s working out for you? What do you like and/or not like about it?

      1. Those features sound interesting too! Sounds easy to use. Is it very complicated? What I love about GetResponse is the ease of use as it was with Mailchimp, so the switch wasn’t drastic. I work now a lot with landing pages and one of the reasons why I chose GetResponse is that it has a landing page builder. Another thing that caught my attention was their autoresponder. I still have a bit to learn about it and so far there was no disappointment.

        1. It is a little complicated to use sometimes if you want to get really technical with something, but klaviyo has a great getting started feature that gives you 80% of what you need for a getting started program pretty easily.
          Glad to hear things are going well with GetResponse!

  2. Emmanual, thanks for taking the time to write this post.

    In the article you mention you are using MailChimp to send the welcome email and monthly newsletter. Is there a reason you chose not to send those with Klaviyo?


    1. Thanks for the question, it may not be as clear – I met to say that is only if you are on mail chimp currently and want to test using Klaviyo before fully committing to it.
      I have actually shutdown my mail chimp account fully now because I use Klaviyo entirely, however others may not be ready to make that transition to 100% klaviyo. That example in #4 is a way to not have to completely give up mail chimp to try out Klaviyo.

  3. Thanks Emmanuel for this very helpful post! I recently switched from mailchimp to Get Response. Have you looked into get response as well? Thanks! Anna

    1. I’ve never used get response, but unless it does many of the ecommerce focused features that Klaviyo does – like dynamic insertion of product information into emails and one-click setup of purchase segments based on how much a customer has spent, I’d be very hesitant to make the switch.
      Would love to hear how it’s working out for you? What do you like and/or not like about it?

  4. Thanks for posting! We recently left MC to move to Klaviyo and haven’t had such a great experience. Customer service/getting questions answered has been our biggest issue in addition to some analytics not functioning properly. The product itself is great but we are considering moving back to MC (released new features). I would prefer to stay with Klaviyo and would love to hear more about who you hired for the more advanced features. Can you reach out to me offline?

    Thanks in advance!

  5. Get Response is horrible, I tried them several times but ultimately left every time. They do a good job of marketing themselves, but the product itself lacks on every level. Klaviyo is awesome, but hugely complicated to set up I have been looking for an agency to help us get set up. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Jeff, there are several agencies we work with that are really reputable. We also offer a service to help you get setup quickly with Klaviyo. Did you still need help with this?

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