Klaviyo Explained: What is it?

Klaviyo is a software platform designed to help Ecommerce brands communicate with their customers and subscribers in a personalized way at scale. The company is based in Boston, MA, and was founded in 2012 by Andrew Bialecki.

Klaviyo has raised $778 Million to date in various rounds of fundraising from dozens of investors, including Shopify. It is estimated that as of August 2022 Klaviyo has over 1500 employees worldwide.

klaviyo's branding

The new 2022 Klaviyo branding.

Klaviyo is the #1 Ecommerce email marketing platform

Currently Klaviyo is widely regarded as the market leader in the email and SMS marketing sector for Ecommerce brands. It is in the top 10 most-installed Shopify apps of all time, which is impressive considering there are thousands of apps available on the app store - many of them free. Even though Shopify released it’s own basic email marketing solution a few years ago - Shopify Email - the company still invested around $100 Million into Klaviyo in 2022. This shows how much Shopify believes in the future of Klaviyo and it’s technology.

Our team of Klaviyo experts here at the Ecommerce Intelligence email marketing agency share Shopify’s positive outlook on the future of platform, and of email/SMS as marketing channels. For the last 5 years we’ve been a dedicated Klaviyo agency, meaning we do not work with any other ESPs at this time. Our speciality is Klaviyo for Ecommerce brands. We even dedicated 6 months of our time to developing the most advanced Klaviyo course on the market for any Ecommerce brands who want to truly master the software in-house.

The main features and benefits

At it’s heart Klaviyo is an email marketing automation platform. This is what it was originally built for over a decade ago, and remains it’s main purpose. During the last couple of years Klaviyo have also developed their SMS automation solution to complement the email functionality. More recently, Klaviyo has expanded it’s offering to focus on big data for Ecommerce, and have launched a full DMP (Data Management Platform). This suite of tools is what their newest product, Klaviyo One, is built on. Klaviyo One is an enterprise level solution for the world’s biggest Ecommerce companies who want to leverage big data, machine learning, and world class compliance solutions across email and SMS marketing.

The power of marketing automation in the email and SMS channels

So what exactly is email marketing automation? Klaviyo flows are the hero product that allows brands to set up automated email sequences designed to deliver a perfectly personalized message to each customer and subscriber at the best possible time. This happens via both email and SMS simultaneously.

A real-word example of email marketing automation which we often build for clients in our Ecommerce email marketing agency would be a series of abandoned cart emails and text messages. Like any email automation, an abandoned cart email is sent to a specific user based on a very well defined interaction they have with an online brand. In this case the action is adding a product to their cart, then leaving the website without completing their purchase after a number of hours - usually between 1 and 4 hours. If a shopper on the website of a company using Klaviyo does this, they will likely trigger a series of timed and personalized emails and SMS campaigns designed to encourage them to return and complete their order.

Of course abandoned cart automations are just scratching the surface of what Klaviyo is able to offer. The brands we work with in our Klaviyo agency often have 20 or more unique automations or ‘Flows’ - Klaviyo lingo - running at any one time. These allow us to help brands communicate with their customers in a truly personalized way at scale via email and SMS. The tangible benefits of a strategy like this are of course increased revenue, more repeat purchases, and customers who have a stronger affinity with a brand, and therefore more loyalty.

Other tools to compliment email and SMS automation

Although Klaviyo is most well-know for it's advanced suite of email and SMS marketing and automation tools, the platform has a lot more to offer to Ecommerce brands of all sizes.

Campaigns and Promotions

No email marketing strategy would be complete without time tested newsletters, product promos, the sharing of customer feedback, and of course seasonal sales. Klaviyo allows brands to deliver all of these campaigns across email and SMS using beautifully designed templates, if you don’t want to build your own from scratch.

Lead Generation

Klaviyo has a suite of popup lead generation tools built into it’s software which are specifically designed to help brands convert more of their website visitors into new subscribers, and eventually into new customers. You’ll see below that Klaviyo offers over 50 pre-built lead generation templates to collect names, email addresses, cell phone numbers, and other more advanced data points such as gener, date of birth, and other preferences. All of these data points can be used to target customers and subscribers in highly personalized email and SMS messaging.

Reporting and Data

The Klaviyo software has a big focus on data and AI as we know. This custom designed technology powers the powerful reporting and analytics dashboard, which Ecommerce retailers, agencies, and marketing consultants can personalize for their own specific needs.

To learn more about the advanced feature sets inside the software be sure to check out our full Klaviyo review which explains everything that you can do inside the platform. If you’re curious about the cost of this technology and if it would be a good fit for your brand, our Klaviyo pricing guide breaks down all of the costs for email and SMS for retailers of different sizes.

Other alternatives and competitors to Klaviyo

Although we consider Klaviyo to be the market leader in it's class, it is of course not the only email and SMS marketing platform Ecommerce stores can benefit from using. The Shopify App Store for example has pages of results promoting similar tools offering some of the features Klaviyo is loved for. We regularly write comparisons between Klaviyo and it's main alternatives for Ecommerce brands who want to check out the competition. Here are some you might find helpful:

Klaviyo vs Omnisend - Omnisend is a popular alternative to Klaviyo and has been growing it's user base at a rapid rate over the last few years. We compare the two platforms side by side to help Ecommerce brands make an informed decision about which software tool is likely the best choice for them in their current situation.

Klaviyo vs ActiveCampaign - We consider ActiveCampaign to be one of the best email marketing solutions on the market, particularly for businesses who want to focus on marketing automation. Ecommerce is not the main focus of ActiveCampaign, but they do have some features designed for online stores. It's worth noting that we usually recommend ActiveCampaign for most businesses seeking robust email automation tools if they are not in the Ecommerce world.

Klaviyo vs Mailchimp - Mailchimp is the world's most popular email marketing platform, serving businesses is almost every market. Although it was not originally designed for Ecommerce stores, there have been a number of Ecommerce functionalities and integrations added to the platform over the last few years.

Klaviyo vs Shopify Email - Shopify launched a basic email marketing app a few years ago. It is currently the most popular app in the app store for email marketing, which is not surprising as it is free to start and created by Shopify itself. It offers some good basic functionality, but lacks a lot of Klaviyo's more advanced features. Consider this as an option if you're a beginner.

Klaviyo vs Privy - Privy is promarily a lead generation tool for email and SMS marketing, but they do have some email automation features. We compare them with Klaviyo's in this guide.

Klaviyo vs Drip - Drip has gained popularity with Ecommerce brands who want to run advanced email marketing campaigns. The platform offers many of the features Klaviyo pioneered, and we compare the two options in our guide to help you choose the best one for your store.


For the past decade Klaviyo have been quietly building one of the most advanced retention and lifecycle marketing solutions on the market specifically for Ecommerce retailers. We’re sure they’ll continue to lead the market in this space for many years to come, and we’re proud to be a long-term partner who help brands grow utilizing the power of Klaviyo’s technology.

If you'd like to learn more about how the platform could benefit your Ecommerce brand you might be interesting in our Klaviyo consulting or agency services.