Shopify Email vs Klaviyo: Which One To Choose in 2022?

Ryan Turner // August 12 // 0 Comments

Klaviyo and Shopify email logos

We all know the power of email marketing for Ecommerce.

In order to make the most out of your email campaigns you’ll need to find an effective ESP – and there are a lot to choose from. Many brands find themselves comparing Shopify email vs Klaviyo. Shopify is the leading Ecommerce businesses platform that also has built in email functionality, and Klaviyo is generally regarded as the leader for Ecommerce email marketing. We generally use Klaviyo here at the Ecommerce Intelligence email marketing agency, but that doesn’t mean it is always the right choice for every brand.

If you’re considering these two tools as options right now, this article is for you.

Today we’ll take a look at them both, compare them, and determine who would likely benefit from each one. Hopefully this guide will help you make the best decision.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Klaviyo vs Shopify Email Marketing App: Overview

Shopify Email was launched in 2019 on the Shopify app store email to make email marketing more accessible for their clients. Surprisingly, it didn’t initially see a huge level of popularity compared to third party email marketing tools like Klaviyo or Mailchimp.

Shopify email is in fact treated more like an additional feature to the Shopify app itself, instead of being a stand-alone software. We feel that many larger stores didn’t take the Shopify solution seriously, and instead preferred dedicated third party solutions like Klaviyo. But were they right to do this?

Klaviyo launched well before Shopify Email and has slowly evolved over the last decade to be widely considered as the leading Ecommerce email marketing software, especially for Shopify stores. Businesses have used Klaviyo since 2012.

Klaviyo is well-known for its advanced segmentation features and market-leading automations. It offers a full suite of SMS marketing automation tools as well, which many other email marketing platforms do not (including Shopify itself). Klaviyo’s position as a leading email platform for Shopify was recently confirmed by Shopify’s $100M investment into Klaviyo. This came as a surprise to some, considering that Shopify had launched their own email solution fairly recently – basically a competitor to Klaviyo.

So is it worth considering stand-alone email marketing platforms and apps such as Klaviyo if Shopify has its own built right into it’s online store software?

Let’s find out.

As a specialist Shopify email agency we feel uniquely qualified to answer this question, so read on to see what we think.

Comparison of Main Features

Both tools come with all the basic features you’d need and expect when running email marketing strategies for an Ecom brand. You can create abandoned cart campaigns and post-purchase emails, track your customer journey, get in-depth reporting, send personalized newsletters and sales campaigns, and more.

Klaviyo and Shopify Email both come with easy Shopify store integration, and their dashboards are user-friendly. You’ll also be able to easily access other tools such as coupon codes, campaign metrics, and basic templates to use if you find the idea of designing emails from scratch to be daunting.

Both platforms allow you to easily pull data directly from your Ecommerce store for use in their email marketing apps. This all happens automatically when setting up the apps.

As you might have guessed, for advanced email marketers Klaviyo offers a more in-depth feature set thanks to the wide rage of workflow automations that let you send automated triggered messages, using their pre-built templates or your own.

Email marketing automation is not fully developed yet on Shopify Email and so doesn’t compare to Klaviyo’s offering for any serious Ecommerce brand. Shopify’s own solution seems more targeted to smaller brands who just want to get up and running quickly with basic email campaigns without a large investment of money or time.

Let’s take a deeper look at the features.

Klaviyo’s Main Features:

  • Fully automated email sequences: when it comes to email marketing for Ecommerce, automation is a crucial part of the overall strategy. It gives you the opportunity to maximize customer lifetime value by encouraging repeat purchases on autopilot via targeting cross-sell and up-sells. Klaviyo is the marketing automation leader for Ecommerce brands and really shines in this category. The number of automations you’re able to build is almost endless.
  • The most advanced list segmentation: Klaviyo has the most advanced list segmentation features on the market available to stores of any size. You can segment your lists in almost any way imaginable and efficiently target your audience using many criteria like the number of purchases, or based on the products people have recently bought or looked at, along with countless other data points.
  • Easy setup and integration: Klaviyo’s setup wizard guides you step-by-step to quickly get started with the email marketing app. All data is pulled directly from your Shopify store, or from your existing ESP if you’re migrating from a different email platform. Their integration with Shopify is as deep as it gets.
  • Tracking tools: with the Klaviyo software, you’ll be able to track your email campaigns by the revenue you’ve generated for both individual campaigns and also the specific emails in each of your automations. Klaviyo now also offers performance tracking on a segment level so you’re able to see how each of your segments is contributing to your overall email program’s revenue.
  • Lead generation popups: Klaviyo has a full suite of list growth tools built into it, allowing you to effectively build your list using popups on your Shopify store. This is available at no extra cost to users and removes the need to use third party lead-gen tools, unless you want to run extremely advanced popup campaigns.
  • Full SMS marketing automation suite: As well as email, Klaviyo now offers a market leading SMS solution allowing you to capture SMS leads, run automated SMS marketing campaigns and also send one-off promos via text across multiple countries.

Shopify Email’s Main Features:

  • Make use of email marketing without knowing how to code: Shopify’s email templates are simple and do not require coding knowledge. This email marketing app is perfect for beginners or startups who just want to get something up and running quickly, without all of the bells and whistles.
  • Simple branded emails: Shopify Email has a simple drag&drop builder for your email marketing campaigns while remaining on-brand. This works particularly well with the Shopify app if your store’s overall brand has a minimalist look and feel.
  • All-in-one email marketing for Shopify: keep all the features you need to grow your online store in one place without any additional costs if you’re a low volume email sender. There are also no new software tools you’ll need to learn.
  • Get access to data reports and analytics: You can easily access data reports due to the deep integration with the Shopify app. Reporting is basic compared to something like Klaviyo, however the basics are well covered.

Pricing: Shopify Email + Klaviyo Compared

For Shopify stores, Shopify Email will of course be your cheapest email marketing option. If you have an ongoing paid subscription for Shopify, you’ll be able to send out 10,000 emails at no additional cost each calendar month; that is counted based on the number of emails you send out to your subscribers. So basically, if you send out one campaign email to 1000 contacts, you will use 1000 emails from your free credit.

If you’re looking to send out more than 10,000 emails per month, the fee will be $0.001 per email – so 1000 emails would be $1.

This pricing model is extremely competitive and only possible as stores are already paying Shopify for the regular software subscription. For new stores, or Ecommerce brands who want an easy low-cost way to get started with email, this is a great option. This is especially true if you don’t want or need advanced automations.

The additional costs are added to your Shopify bill, which you can find under the “View Details” option in “Billing” in the settings of your Shopify store.

Klaviyo, on the other hand, offers subscription-based plans. An email-only package will let you send 15,000 emails per month with a maximum of 1000-1500 contacts at $45/month. They also have a free plan coming with 500 email sends per month.

It will be more expensive, but it’ll be worth it for any brand that wants to take email marketing seriously. Klaviyo is also a platform that lets you do email and SMS marketing simultaneously. For a full breakdown of Klaviyo’s pricing for email and SMS marketing you can read our full guide here.


Email Automation Functionality

Automating your email sequences is one of the ways to generate repeat business with existing customers, or increase the chances of new prospects making their first purchase if they don’t buy on their first visit to your Shopify store.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to create a full set of advanced automated email sequences in Shopify Email – only the basics are available. On the other hand, Klaviyo has always been the #1 choice when it comes to email marketing automation via their flows. You cam also send automated SMS campaigns simultaneously with your emails to give your customers a truly cross-channel experience, and get the highest possible conversion rates.

Some of the most popular email marketing sequences in Klaviyo include:

  • Welcome Series
  • Abandoned cart campaigns
  • Post-purchase flow for new, repeat, and VIP customers
  • Browse Abandonment sequence
  • Cross-sell sequence
  • Replenishment emails
  • VIP email offers
  • Birthday flows
  • Winback and re-engagement

These are just a starting point though and Klaviyo’s automations really are best-in-class. Their suite of advanced automated email flows is one of the main reasons our agency only uses Klaviyo. See some of our other Klaviyo guides for in-depth tutorials on each one.

Some of Klaviyo's pre-built flows and automations.

Klaviyo and Shopify Email for List Segmentation

Naturally, the more personalized campaigns you send out, the higher your chances of making a sale and standing out in a crowded inbox. You can segment your users based on how many times they’ve purchased a specific product, the type of product they’ve bought, the last time they’ve opened an email, along with dozens of other metrics and behaviors.

Luckily, both Klaviyo and Shopify Email let you create segments. Although that feature is very simplified in Shopify’s solution, offering only the basics of segmentation. The software automatically splits up your list based on specific pre-defined categories, and that’s perfect for small businesses or anyone just starting up without much knowledge about email segmentation or behavioral targeting.

Larger Shopify and more established Ecommerce brands, including B2B and wholesale brands running email campaigns will likely require more in-depth segmentation options to maximize the revenue coming from their email marketing and SMS campaigns. That’s when Klaviyo really does shine and stand out vs the competition, such as Shopify email.

You’ll be able to segment your Klaviyo lists based on all kinds of customer behavior that happens both on and off-site, open rates and many other data points. Without a doubt, Klaviyo has one of the most advanced feature sets regarding list segmentation in the industry and we always love to show our clients new and exciting ways to use these strategies here at Ecommerce Intelligence.

Web and Visitor Tracking

Shopify automatically collects customer data for store owners so everything a customer does on your store is already available in the platform.

With Klaviyo, you’ll need to add a line of code to your website to allow the email marketing app to track the full details the customer journey across your. This is a simple copy and paste task which you complete once during the Klaviyo/Shopify integration. This allows for the deepest possible communication between the two platforms, and ultra-granular targeting based on user behavior data in Klaviyo.

Ease of Use and User Experience

The Shopify Email app has gained over 900 reviews with a 4.1-star average rating in the Shopify app store. According to some of the most helpful reviews, the app is easy to use, but issues start appearing when you’re working with larger lists. A lack of features such as advanced automation makes it hard to manage an in-depth email marketing strategy when there are over 10,000 subscribers on your list according to some comments.

The number of customer reviews is slightly higher for Klaviyo as the tool has been on the market for much longer. There are currently over 1500 reviews with a 4.2-star average. Users who’ve tried Klaviyo in the past say that it’s suitable both for a small business and a large brand due to the flexible pricing plans, and the fact that all features are included with every plan. Our agency team would definitely agree with this.

Klaviyo users go on to say the app is user-friendly, and there’s a good amount of pre-built email templates to make your workflows much more manageable. Some users do say there is a big learning curve – and this true. Klaviyo is an advanced pieces of software with many features, and it takes time to get up to speed and understand everything the tool has to offer.

On Klaviyo’s Help Center, you’ll find user guides that help you navigate around the app. We also publish a number of helpful Klaviyo guides here at the blog.

In terms of usability and ease of use, the main benefit of Shopify Email is that it’s already integrated as part of the Shopify platform, so you don’t need to spend extra hours learning the app. It’s also naturally easier to learn as the functionality is a lot more basic. This email marketing app includes only the fundamental features of an email marketing software. Therefore, there won’t be many issues you’ll need to figure out.

Although Klaviyo is harder to use, the additional effort will be a great investment for any serious Shopify brand. If you want to shortcut the learning curve but aren’t ready to hire an outside agency or consultant to manage your Klaviyo account, check out our detailed Klaviyo training program where you’ll learn how to do everything yourself via a series of videos as worksheets inside an online course.

Design Features and Built-in Templates

Shopify Email has only a handful of basic templates to choose from. These are great for getting something up and running quickly, but you won’t have the full flexibility of creating 100% custom perfectly branded emails.

In terms of design and templates, Klaviyo is hard to beat. It has a wide variety of pre-built email templates that you can easily customize by color, themes, font, and photos. You can start using their templates, or use a blank slate and build something exactly how you want it from scratch.

It’s worth checking out the Klaviyo Showcase, a collection of some high performing Ecommerce emails sent via the platform. Use this as inspiration to see what the largest Ecommerce businesses are sending out to their email lists.

The collection can be browsed only when logged in to a Klaviyo account.

Analytics, Reporting and Data

Tracking your performance is essential for email and SMS if you want to improve your Ecommerce business by making data-driven decisions. You’ll have direct access to basic performance data in the Shopify Email app if you’re using Shopify. This will give you a high level overview of how your campaigns are performing. You can see campaign metrics such as opens, clicks, sales, and more – the basics you’d expect from any ESP.

Once again, Klaviyo goes a step further when it comes to data and reporting. Over time they’ve slowly begun building a full scale Business Intelligence suite into their platform, so analytics, big data and even machine learning are primary areas of focus for them, particularly with the introduction of Klaviyo predictive analytics.

Klaviyo reports are completely customizable. You can build your own reports from scratch which update in real-time in a personalized dashboard. Alternatively, feel free to use their templates which are included with every account and cover the primary Ecommerce metrics a Shopify brand would want to see on a daily basis – both email and non-email related.

Klaviyo's business health check default report

Sign-up Forms and Lead Generation in Klaviyo & Shopify Email

Lead capture forms and popups are incredibly important for Ecommerce as they will usually be your #1 tool for growing your email marketing list. Unfortunately, Shopify Email doesn’t have the option to create pop-ups/sign-up forms. It does however have many simple apps – available on the app store – which provide this functionality. Some are basic and free, others have more functionality and require a monthly fee.

Klaviyo does have a suite of popup and lead generation tools built into the platform which you can use on any paid plan at no extra charge. The functionality of Klaviyo’s lead-gen tools is fairly robust, and we use them for several clients.

The suite has over 60 pre-built templates for various types of pop-ups/sign-up forms that collect both email addresses and SMS numbers. You can also build something completely custom from scratch.

One thing we like about the signup form builder is that on the SMS side, Klaviyo ensures you comply with all regulations – which are strict when sending marketing text messages – by pre-populating all of the legal wording and check boxes necessary to collect telephone numbers in a compliant way.

Klaviyo's built in lead generation forms

Customer Support Comparisons

You can quickly contact Shopify Email’s support team through the Shopify app – the response time will be the same as for regular Shopify support tickets.

Klaviyo customer support is often overloaded (especially their live chat), so it can sometimes take a while before you receive an answer. During busy times expect to wait around 15 minutes to speak with someone. Their support staff are excellent however, and definitely go the extra mile to make sure queries are answered. While looking for a solution to your issue you can take a look at their community forum. Also is your issue is not time sensitive, consider asking their friendly community for help.

Third-Party Software Integrations

As for Shopify Email, no real integrations are needed that are not already possible via the regular Shopify software. Shopify email is part of the Shopify platform itself.

Klaviyo can integrate with all major Eommerce platforms like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, and more. They also have pre-built integrations with nearly all major Ecommerce software tools you’re likely using – things like Stripe, ShipStation, Review platforms, lead-capture tools, and more.

There are over 200 integrations and this number is always increasing. Zapier is another option for using any tools that don’t have a native Klaviyo plugin. We wrote a guide to our favorite Klaviyo integrations here.

Verdict: Klaviyo vs Shopify Email – Which One is Better for Email Marketing?

When it comes to comparing Shopify Email vs Klaviyo, the winner will be different for everyone however most Ecommerce businesses are going to benefit from choosing Klaviyo in our experience.

Klaviyo is one of the most advanced and comprehensive email and SMS marketing tools for Ecommerce brands, but as discussed we do know Shopify Email is easier to use and cheaper for starters. Overall Klaviyo really is in a different class – there’s a reason Shopify recently invested $100M into them!

Klaviyo is of course the more expensive option – however, you’ll find it to be worth the money thanks to the automation workflows, design options, advanced personalization, dynamic segmentation and tools that help you collect more subscribers for your email marketing list.

If you find the idea of learning and mastering Klaviyo overwhelming, you can always reach out to our team of Klaviyo experts who will be happy to help. We offer a range of services designed to help brands get the best out of this market leading ESP – everything from full agency services, to consulting, to our in-depth online course. Whatever your needs are, we’ll have a solution that’s just right.

About the Author Ryan Turner

Ryan Turner is the lead strategist here at Ecommerce Intelligence with over 6 years experience growing Ecommerce brands using proven Klaviyo email marketing strategies.

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