Klaviyo or Mailchimp: Which One’s Right for Your Marketing Tech Stack?

Segmenting and automating brand emails takes tools, though. Especially in the e-commerce sector, companies aren’t just composing emails to customers in Gmail. Most of them use email marketing software like Mailchimp or Klaviyo.

But these two tools have different features, price points and ideal use cases. So, which one is right for you?

The right tool for your business could depend on how often you send emails, how much data reporting you need, whether you want to run complicated A/B tests, and how comfortable you are with designing email campaigns.

Why Klaviyo vs. Mailchimp?

Klaviyo and Mailchimp are two of the leading email marketing platforms. Both companies have valuations just over $4 billion — major, especially compared to competitor Omnisend’s $500 million valuation.

They’re far from identical twins, though.

Mailchimp is the incumbent.

It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t heard of Mailchimp. Founded in 2001, more than a decade before Klaviyo, it’s simply had more time to build brand awareness.

(Mailchimp ran that famous ad on the true-crime Serial podcast, remember?)

Mailchimp has also had time to build a client base, and enjoys a classic incumbent perk: roughly 60% market share.

Klaviyo is the upstart.

Founded in 2012, Klaviyo is growing fast and becoming a favorite for email marketers. Stamouli said that two years ago, she’d never heard of Klaviyo; now she’s on the platform all day, every day.

Before we begin, here’s a quick rundown:


Klaviyo is a subscription-based email marketing automation software designed for eCommerce websites. It’s generally used by small to medium-sized companies but it’s really well suited for companies of all shapes and sizes due to the massive investments they’ve been making in improving their integrations, and segmentation and workflow tools. As with so many other email marketing tools available today, Klaviyo email marketing offers a suite of marketing automation features, including email campaigns, automated workflows, text messages, advanced segmentation, email capture, pop ups, and sooo much more. If you can’t afford hiring an email marketing agency like ours, they also include a drag-and-drop interface when creating campaigns. That is what allows you to build those emails quickly. But in case you don’t find it as a perfect fit for your business, we’ve created a bunch of Klaviyo alternatives that you can consider.


In short, no, it’s not. The long version though is that while it’s not specifically CRM it’s as close to being one as any ESP we’ve ever worked with thanks to the fact that it’s built as a profile-centric ESP. This means that you can actually look into each individual profile’s activity and understand what that subscriber has been up to – in quite a bit of detail. Did they open or click any of the last 3 emails? What’s their average order value? What about their lifetime value for your brand? These are all things that Klaviyo, unlike any other ESP out there, allows you to get an in-depth view on.


Automation? It’s easy as pie! With Klaviyo email marketing, your emails can be personalized on anything from brand loyalty to customer lifetime value, and those messages will be triggered based on what your customers do. I mean, like if they engage with a campaign or make a purchase. Flows and rules can be created for each situation, and pre-built email marketing flows are available. That’s what helps save time on your end if you’re a business that’s still starting and you’re not quite sure what you should be doing in there.

Klaviyo’s integrations with the different ecommerce websites are really the best in the industry too. This means that there are more metrics you can track, more events you can trigger off of, and more data about your customers to view.

Big-name integrations. From Shopify and Magento and Facebook Custom Audiences to Facebook Lead Ads, Klaviyo has a chunky stack of integrations that I know won’t disappoint you. Yotpo? Check. Swell? Check. Woocommerce, Amazon, Recharge and Recurly – you name it, they have it. 5 out of 5 stars really!

Cinchy visual drag-and-drop builder. Are you maybe looking to design emails for marketing campaigns and flows and can’t afford to pay experts with a solid email marketing portfolio to cover the job? Cool, ‘cause Klaviyo’s drag-and-drop builder is a cinch to use. There are various fonts and brand colors that can be applied to default templates and workflows. What’s more – uploading your own designs and templates is also an option.


Lacks Lead Scoring, and customer support – In case you’re searching for a platform that comes packed with Lead Scoring, I’m afraid Klaviyo isn’t the right choice. If you would like to trigger an automation based on how engaged your potential customers are with your marketing and site, I have to agree that Lead Scoring is an easy solution you can use, although there are alternatives that work as well if not better with proper segmentation. It does take a lot more time though, I give you that! Sure, you can always get a third-party app integration for it, but hey, are you sure you want one more bill to add to your expenses? I didn’t think so.

Speaking about the customer (un)support. This platform’s help center is great for some quick tips or basic help. But if you’re seeking a bit more personalized support experience, then you’ll need to fight with Klaviyo’s hourly schedule.

And here comes the main part – Higher costs. Yup, well, Klaviyo is free for up to 250 contacts and 500 email sends. Cool, but only if you’re running a smaller (by that I mean veeery small) e-commerce business. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to grow and expand your business, be aware that once you move beyond those “freebie” numbers, you’ll most definitely have to pay a price that’s direct proportional with your list size and with the quality that you’re getting too..


Mailchimp is one of the best Klaviyo alternatives that boasts a super-duper intuitive interface. It’s so easy to get started on MailChimp, since it employs manageable functionalities, and overall, a visual editor that’s easy to use. What’s more, they offer some unusual channel integrations, such as adding Instagram ads to the usual Facebook and Google ads we get to see with automation tools. Their automation gets the job done. Anyway, I think that the workflow could have been a bit more clear in terms of editing and visualization, and their workflow set-up abilities are definitely on the rigid side, with a lot of useful tools missing completely, like changing a customer’s state once he completed a workflow.


Hefty data reporting – What’s great is that you’ll never second-guess what is or isn’t working for your email marketing because they provide all of the data you need to make clever marketing decisions. From engagement and growth reports to revenue reports, and sales tracking campaign stats are easy to monitor, even for the greenest of marketers.

It’s polite to your bank account. In case your company is extra budget-conscious, then I’m sure you’re gonna be a huge fan of their pricing because it’s one of the cheaper alternatives for really small businesses.


The biggest problem is that you can say goodbye to Shopify. Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms today and if you’re using it, and you want to connect the two accounts, then you’ll need to go through a third-party app, which means your possibilities might be hindered and costs will be higher.

Automation options are limited. If you’re looking for a muscular automation platform, then Mailchimp is definitely not going to be your go-to. There are some basic automation tools like product retargeting, and abandoned cart, but if you’re on the prowl for a greater variety of automation like rules and workflows, combined with a wide variety of actions and triggers, then Mailchimp isn’t your prey.


I’m sure you heard about that $10/month plan. What you need to know that it will be $10 only if you have 500 subscribers. Then it only kicks up by $5 for every 500 subscribers you gain. Yup, scaling is a bit cheaper than with Klaviyo.

If you decide to go for the Pro plan then scaling becomes a bit pricier. I would like to mention that the tiers are still around five dollars but they vary wildly:

Both check the essential boxes…

According to Dimond, all email marketing tools should do five things — and both Mailchimp and Klaviyo allow users to do them all:

  1. Send campaigns. You can send emails to your contacts with both email marketing tools. Obviously.
  2. Automate emails. Both platforms let marketers send emails automatically, triggered by different customer behaviors on a website or in an e-commerce store.
  3. Create signup forms. Klaviyo and Mailchimp both let customers sign up for brand emails via a website, social media or pop-ups.
  4. Leverage segmentation. Both platforms let marketers separate their lists into segments: people who’ve bought before, for instance, or people in a specific country.
  5. Run an A/B test. Email marketers can use either tool to test two versions of an email, and see which one performs best.

Both platforms are building out functionality around a soon-to-be essential, too: SMS marketing.

Email and SMS marketing increasingly go hand-in-hand — and to say abreast of the trend,. Klaviyo has launched an SMS marketing tool users can try for free in early 2020. Not to be outdone, Mailchimp acquired Chatitive, an SMS marketing platform, earlier this year.

Which Tool Is Right for Your Business?

Our email marketing experts came to a pretty clear conclusion about who should sign up for Klaviyo and who should use Mailchimp.

Klaviyo is perfect for e-commerce.

E-commerce retailers need look no further than Klaviyo for email marketing.

“If it’s a business that has products [available online], and they want to be a bit more reactive to what people do on their website, and they want to be able to respond with automated campaigns” — they should use Klaviyo, Stamouli said.

Klaviyo’s perks include:

There’s a reason both Stamouli and Dimond don’t use Mailchimp much anymore. Both marketers spend most of their time with larger, e-commerce focused companies, and Klaviyo works best for their purposes.

Mailchimp is great for local businesses.

Mailchimp lost this email software battle — but even if it’s not ideal for e-commerce email marketers, it’s great for several other clienteles.

The ideal Mailchimp clients are:

Within Klaviyo… there’s almost too many bells and whistles” for clients with simple needs. People probably get analysis paralysis.

Both tools: as good as the marketers who use them.

If the operator is good, Klaviyo just gives you a lot more capabilities and functionality.

Don’t ignore that “if,” though.

These are all tools. Whether [the marketer using them is] in-house, whether it’s someone on MarketerHire, whether it’s an agency — at the end of the day, a tool is only as good as the person operating it.


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