In the world of ESPs, Klaviyo and ActiveCampaign are two of the most renowned and well reviewed tools for designing personalized messages and setting up email marketing automations.
But which is the best choice for Ecommerce business owners specifically?
This guide will help you choose between the two options when selling physical products online.
Here at Ecommerce Intelligence our team have used both Klaviyo and ActiveCampaign extensively – with Ecommerce client campaigns and also running our own internal projects for lists we manage. Some of these are not physical product businesses. This is important because the key features required by an Ecommere brand are very different to those needed by someone promoting purely digital products, SaaS, or some other kind of service business.
This guide examines the core features of Klaviyo vs ActiveCampaign, pros and cons, compares their individual performance and find out which one is the best solution for Ecommerce stores specifically using platforms such as Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce wanting to send advanced email campaigns and SMS promotions.
Here’s what we’ll be covering in this detailed comparison:
What is ActiveCampaign?
The ActiveCampaign email marketing platform is a cloud-based solution for digital marketers looking to interact with their customers and subscribers using automated and personalized email messaging. The multifaceted solution offers marketing automation, CRM, and email marketing tools and currently supports more than 300 third-party integrations.
With over 145,000 paying customers in 170 countries, ActiveCampaign has set itself apart from its competitors’ thanks to its advanced automation, complex triggered campaigns, segmentation features and good customer assistances.
Although the software is hugely popular in the world of digital marketing, it is worth noting that most of ActiveCampaign’s customers are not Ecommerce brands. Their email marketing platform was not initially built for Ecommerce businesses, which we’ll come on to later.
ActiveCampaign Key Features
With ActiveCampaign, you can design broadcast emails that target your entire mailing list at once, or smaller more engaged segments of your overall list. You can also set up triggered emails, which are automatically sent out depending on user behavior, such as when a customer places an order or engages with a specific part of your website.
Additionally ActiveCampaign offers email autoresponder sequences which automatically send out messages to your audience depending on actions they take. This includes the welcome email series and leads magnet series, and transactional emails are also available when you need to notify customers of delivery and purchase details. ActiveCampaign also allows you to schedule emails and have them sent on a specific date. This is perfect for holiday sales and special events such as individual customers’ birthdays.
Marketing Automation Recipes
With ActiveCampaign, you can leverage intelligent automation to deliver unique experiences to your customers and subscribers with triggered email marketing. You can set up custom series such as welcome series that are automatically sent out instead of manually having to send individual messages. You can use tags to automatically track contact engagement with your content and how they interact with custom fields in the emails. ActiveCampagin also automatically performs analytics on the data gathered to provide valuable insights right inside of the email marketing software.
With the automation tools in ActiveCampaign, you can pull useful information even from offline channels such as physical store sales. These tools are all about finding the most engaged segments and smooth integration of your custom apps and data sources.
CRM and Sales Automation
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools are a crucial source of sales data that can better inform a brand’s Ecommerce marketing strategy. ActiveCampgain’s CRM and sales automation tools can take care of this task, freeing up your team to focus on improving your sales.
With sales automation, you can outsource the mundane manual tasks such as maintaining sales funnels and contact management to ActiveCampaign’s AI. ActiveCampaign will also streamline track tasks, score leads, and monitor pipelines and deals. The end result is that the automation tools are able to create and update tasks while nurturing your leads automatically.
Note: If you’re thinking these particular features aren’t too relevant for most Ecommerce businesses, you’d be right. A lot of the features inside of this advanced email marketing software are designed for companies in other industries outside of traditional online retail via Shopify and similar platforms. ActiveCampaign was not initially built specifically for Ecommerce brands.
Active Campaign sales engagement tools make it possible to deliver an automated and connected customer experience when sales and marketing are not connected. The tools make it possible to harness personalized sales messaging and other marketing strategies at the right time to deliver maximum sales.
Sales engagement enables you to send one-to-one emails providing a richer experience while seamlessly combining your marketing messages with sights from personal sales data. This gives you a complete customer overview by unifying data from both sales and marketing to gather intelligence touch points.
ActiveCampaign sales engagement can analyze the win probability for segment leads. It will also provide pipeline automation with unique experiences. The end result is that you get to close more deals and shorten the sales cycle. Sales engagement also extends to site tracking by analyzing how visitors interact with your website and recommending leads that offer what these potential buyers are looking for. ActiveCampaign is also compatible with the robust sales software such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365, and it supports over 800 app integrations for the ultimate seamless data analysis.
These are powerful tools for marketers in many industries, but again they’re not specifically designed for Ecommerce businesses. Many of ActiveCampaign’s more impressive feature sets are targeted towards companies in sales, using CRM technology, selling digital products, or running large mailing lists where selling physical products is not the primary goal. It is important to keep this in mind when evaluating the tool as an Ecommerce brand.
- Offers customizable segmentation tools
- Responsive design templates which can be used out of the box
- It has precise lead scoring features
- It supports over 800 integrations
- Each subscription unlocks smart workflows
- Highly advanced email automation technology
- Good customer support
- Many of the best features are simply not designed for Ecommerce businesses. Active Campaign offers tools better suited for companies in other areas as mentioned above.
What is Klaviyo?
Klaviyo’s email software is the officially recommended Shopify email marketing solution with its roots in Boston. For the last ten years, the platform has been developing its email, SMS, and marketing automations tools to cater to Ecommerce brands of all sizes. Klaviyo seamlessly integrates with all major Ecommerce platforms and custom tech stacks using its API solution. Unlike Active Campaign, Klaviyo was built with Ecommerce stores in mind from the ground up. It was only ever designed to serve online retailers and their email strategies.
Klaviyo solutions are cloud-based, and with its integrations, you can harness your data to deliver targeted and personalized messages via email and SMS to your potential and existing customers. With Klaviyo, you can accurately track and optimize your marketing campaigns to deliver maximum sales and conversions through the entire Ecommerce funnel. Klaviyo is our current software of choice in our email agency for Ecommerce brands.
Klaviyo uses transactional and behavioral data to segment your audience into smaller groups which are easier to target with precise, personalized content. These segments provide detailed insights into your customer base, which come in handy when you need to make data-driven decisions affecting your marketing strategy.
The platform offers a powerful segment builder that supports multiple rules and is easy to use. Segmentation can be applied in various scenarios such as sending targeted campaigns, setting up triggered email flows, enhancing signup forms, targeting social media ads, and analyzing your performance. All of these segmentation features were built specifically for online store owners running Ecommerce companies on Shopify and other leading store platforms.
As more consumers move to mobile browsing and shopping, there’s a growing need for marketers to tap into this trend using SMS marketing. Klaviyo SMS and MMS solutions deliver personalized text messages to target customers and meet them where they’re at. The SMS solution was built specifically with Ecommerce companies in mind.
Brands can send out the messages to static lists or dynamic segments of contacts. Building the messages is also easy as you get a dictated text editor that automatically personalizes the messages with customer profile data. Images, emojis, and discount codes are also supported, and you can track the performance of the SMS campaign based on clicks, revenue generated and orders placed.
Klaviyo SMS allows you to set quiet hours so that the messages get delivered at relevant hours, which creates a positive experience for the recipients while staying compliant. Klaviyo features an automation setup which allows stores to combine both email and SMS campaigns into a single flow, for a true cross-channel experience.
Klaviyo’s custom API supports one-click integrations, unlocking new paths for harnessing your data and staying on top of the marketing game with data-backed insights. Currently, the platform supports over 200 integrations, and you can get in touch with the developer team to integrate your data stack with your account.
Having all your data sources integrated with Klaviyo ensures that you are using real-time and historical data to make analytical decisions. The extra data also enriches your segmentation efforts so that you are able to target the most precise segments of your customer base with the right messages.
Ecommerce Specific Autoresponders and Automations
Klaviyo email marketing automations allow brands to set up autoresponders, or ‘Flows’ in Klaviyo lingo, that automatically send out messages based upon preset filters and triggers. This is available for both email and SMS. Autoresponders save you time and are a convenient way to communicate with your audience if they perform a predetermined action such as subscribing, abandoning a cart, being inactive for a period of time, or placing an order. The benefit of using autoresponders is to improve customer relationships using personalization at scale, and grow revenue.
Klaviyo provides numerous marketing automations that you can customize out of the box when you first set up the software such as welcome series, browse abandonment, abandoned cart, instructional email flows, product reviews, cross-sell flows, and product replenishment sequences. The available templates can be customized and personalized with user data automatically before they are sent out.
Klaviyo has one of the most advanced email and SMS automation tool sets available on the market for Ecommerce brands. This is one of it’s primary strengths.
Data Analytics & Predictive Analytics Feature
In order to provide valuable insights, Klaviyo uses a combination of machine learning and data science techniques to analyze all of your data. Klaviyo’s AI re-trains its models weekly with your store’s individual customer data to make predictions on their possible future decisions, such as expected order date and customer lifetime value (CLV).
The AI models can predict upcoming purchases and future spending amounts for each paying customer so that you can make preparations on the supply chain side. Data analytics also reveals each customer’s churn probability so that you can target high-risk customers with specialized content to keep them engaged with your brand. Klaviyo can also estimate an intelligent send time so that all messages you send to each customer get to them at the most optimal time, increasing clicks. Send times are automatically optimized on an individual user basis, so if you choose to you’re able to send to each persona at the likely best time for them.
Having access to all of that data requires a scalable way to view specific analytics and reports without the clutter of useless data. Klaviyo uses data visualizations in its reporting tools to highlight key metrics and benchmarks in the dashboards. All reporting metrics and KPI values are on the same screen in Klaviyo, so you can access all of your analytics without leaving the page. Reports can be completely customized for a brand and built from scratch to include exactly what you want, and nothing you don’t need to see.
With Klaviyo, you can pre-schedule and automate report generation so that you can share the latest outcomes with the stakeholders whenever you want. The platform also supports customizable pre-built report templates if you need some inspiration.
Forms and Pop-ups for Lead Generation
Klaviyo provides over 70 eye-catching form templates that you can easily edit to fit your brand style and needs. Whether you are looking for a signup form to grow your contact list or a product announcement form, the extensive library provides customizable solutions to fit your needs. The forms are optimized for both mobile and desktop views. Klaviyo’s forms have side images that guarantee a higher submission rate compared to basic forms.
Klaviyo pop-ups appear in the middle of a user’s screen when they are scrolling through your website. You can set the pop-ups to only appear on specific pages and to only pop up if the visitor is a first-time viewer. The platform allows you to customize how the pop-up forms are displayed, dismissed, their overlay colors, and the sort of content they contain. Two-step forms are also included – we love to use these to capture an email address on step one, then the SMS number on step two.
- Includes numerous customizable templates built for use with an Ecommerce store
- Klaviyo’s email support is great, along with the live chat support
- Provides data visualization and advanced reporting features
- Klaviyo offers over 200 Ecommerce integrations with more possible via Zapier
- Great email deliverability to the primary inbox even at a very large scale
- Advanced SMS suite comparable to other market leaders
- High converting opt in forms and other lead capture tools
- The entire tool was built from the group up with Ecommerce businesses in mind
- Complex flows have to be manually setup which is time consuming
- Product is advanced and can be difficult for beginners to learn
- The Klaviyo cost is definitely not one of the cheaper options available
For more on the software’s features check out our full in-depth review of the platform. Or consider signing up for our online Klaviyo training program.
Choosing Between Klaviyo vs ActiveCampaign: Which One is The Best Email Marketing Solution for Ecommerce?
Staying ahead of your competitors in Ecommerce requires having the upper hand in as many areas of marketing strategy as possible. We feel that for email and SMS brands using Klaviyo instead of ActiveCampaign definitely gain an advantage. Both of these tools feature a full suite of powerful features for customizing email marketing campaigns, automating the process, and segmenting your audience, but Klaviyo is a more advanced solution for online retailers. As mentioned earlier, much of ActiveCampaign’s best features are not built with Ecommerce in mind.
We’ve been using Klaviyo in our email agency for over 5 years now and believe it offers a best in class solution for most Ecommerce brands.
Comparison of Campaign Features
For sending regular campaigns such as newsletters, product launches and sale promos there isn’t a huge different between the two platforms. Both offer the standard feature sets you’d expect and allow brands to easily build beautiful emails.
Where Klaviyo really sets itself apart is with the deep Ecommerce integrations, segmentation, and automations.
A/B Testing Comparison
A/B testing compares the performance of different email strategies to establish the most optimal one in terms of design, subject line, and even send-out times, which affect how likely they are to be opened and clicked on.
Klaviyo offers A/B testing for one-off campaign emails and automation workflows, and you can compare different subject lines and content to optimize your emails with the best-performing formula. Automation split testing for sign-up forms is also available, which helps you optimize your CTAs and form design to garner more subscribers.
ActiveCampagin supports A/B testing for various email templates and different elements such as email content, CTAs, images, and subject lines. It also offers spam testing by actively scanning your emails for any markers that might lead to them being automatically flagged as spam.
Both tools have great A/B testing functionality.
Ecommerce Features Comparison
ActiveCampaign supports multiple interactions with big eCommerce platforms such as Woocommerce, Shopify, and Bigcommerce. This provides a unique insight in terms of who your visitors are, the checkout statuses, and the products most viewed by visitors. You can generate dynamic codes through Revenue Conduit; however, you don’t get dynamic coupons. This is a basic set of Ecommerce features which will be useful for beginners.
Although ActiveCampaign does integrate with the main Ecommerce platforms, these integrations are nowhere as deep and detailed as Klaviyo’s.
Klaviyo really shines here because is built around Ecommerce automation, so it supports powerful integrations with all major Ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, Bigcommerce, and Woocommerce, among others. It has the deepest possible integrations with these tools, and allows brands to use hundreds of different data points pulled in real-time from their Ecommerce software to personalize and trigger email and SMS campaigns. Klaviyo also supports data analysis using historical data to get a clear overview of how your Ecommerce business is performing and how your buyers place their orders. Klaviyo supports dynamic coupons for Shopify and Magento.
When comparing Klaviyo vs ActiveCampaign on their Ecommerce features alone, Klaviyo really is in a class of it’s own in the category of Ecom-specific email and SMS marketing tools.
Forms, Popups and Lead Generation Comparison
Klaviyo allows you to leverage the full power of intuitive forms to collect leads and target your customer at the right time and place. Its intuitive form builder makes it easy to create customizable forms by simply dragging individual content blocks into place. You can also customize the various elements from button to image and text options. Klaviyo supports multi-checkboxes and dropdown lists, giving your forms all the right features they need to gather the correct data.
ActiveCampagin makes it easy to create brand new forms or edit their standard templates. The platform supports various form types such as inline, floating box, modal pop-ups, and floating bars. You also get the option to add multiple form actions by adding tags to contacts or creating deals. ActiveCampagin supports unlimited custom fields and personalized tags in forms which come in handy when you are designing complex forms.
Both tools perform well in this category.
Klaviyo Vs ActiveCampaign: Automation
The ActiveCampagin platform comes with a flexible automation recipe builder for creating complex email sequences. It offers multiple triggers that you can use to customize advanced flows increasing your conversion rate. At its heart, ActiveCampgin is a CRM email marketing software and automation platform, rather than an Ecommerce one. Their automations are advanced, but were not initially designed for online stores using Shopify and similar platforms.
Klaviyo’s automation builder is easy to use, and you can create email flows with multiple triggers. Their extensive collection of ready-made flows will come in handy when you are setting up an Ecommerce marketing strategy as they were all built from day 1 for Ecommerce brands.
Klaviyo’s email automation is best in class for Ecommerce in our experience. It’s not that what ActiveCampaign offers isn’t as good, it’s just that their solution was not designed for Ecommerce. Our agency continues to recommend Klaviyo as the preferred email marketing automation tool for an online store. It seems as though Shopify recently made the same decision for their premium Shopify Plus customers.
Ease of Use & User Experience Comparison
Having an ESP marketing tool that’s easy to use will save you from having to hire costly experts when you don’t need to. Klaviyo has an intuitive interface that’s well organized, making navigation easy. The platform also offers quick instructions on how to use every tool and a detailed guide to take you through the email editing process. Its automation features are easy to set up and require minimal coding skills. The tool is however advanced, and if you want to master it you will need to invest a significant amount of time. Consider working with one of our expert team of Klaviyo specialists if you need to.
ActiveCampaign is built around CRM integrations and automation, which might require a bit of technical knowledge to get things set up the right way. The multiple features are easy to navigate through, and it’s easy to learn how to use the advanced features by accessing the help button, which is present on every tab and leads directly to available training materials. Again this is an advanced tool so you’ll need to be committed to learning how to use it to get the full benefits.
Both ActiveCampaign and Klaviyo’s email marketing software are comparable with their respective learning curves.
ActiveCampaign vs Klaviyo’s Pricing
Klaviyo packages start off with a free basic plan that supports up to 250 subscribers and up to 500 emails per month. The premium subscription packages start at $35 for 500 contacts with unlimited emails as well as chat support. The $45 package allows up to 1000 contacts and 10,000 monthly emails. Additional packages are also available all the way up to 150,000+ subscribers. The Klaviyo One subscription for enterprises is also available with custom pricing if you are looking to scale up without any limits and integrate with any data stack.
While ActiveCampgin doesn’t offer a free basic package, you do get a free 14-day trial. Its premium packages start off at $70 for up to 500 subscribers and unlimited emails. The $125 subscription supports upto 2500 subscribers, while the $169 subscription supports upto 5000 contacts. The top package goes for $399, and it supports upto 25000 subscribers with unlimited emails.
Generally for larger lists and sending volumes, Klaviyo is more expensive. However, for brands wanting to build advanced Ecommerce email marketing programs the extra investment is well worth it.
Choosing between the best Ecommerce email marketing platforms will of course depend on the kind of business they are operating, the budget, and how many services or products they are offering. ActiveCampagin and Klaviyo are two of the most well known email marketing tools out there.
While both of these platforms offer powerful tools for automation and marketing solutions, Klaviyo is the clear winner with it’s Ecommerce focus. Everything about the platform is designed for online retailers. It also supports SMS marketing making it the best combined tool for email campaigns and SMS marketing automation platform for Ecommerce in our experience.
To summarize this Klaviyo vs ActiveCampaign comparison, we continue to use Klaviyo for almost all Ecommerce client projects. However, we do recommend ActiveCampaign to many businesses operating in other markets and not promoting an Ecommerce business. As a general rule of thumb if you’re not in Ecommerce then ActiveCampaign will usually be an excellent choice.
Reach out and discuss our Klaviyo consulting services if you’d like help choosing or setting up a good email solution for your Ecommerce brand.